James 1:21-23 “Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror. The Bible emphasizes the importance of hearing God and His representatives. Clearly, we must hear the Word of God, but hearing God’s Word involves more than listening. God did not want the apostles merely to hear what Jesus had to say; He wanted them to hear and follow Him. The same was true of Jesus’ instructions to the seven churches in Asia. Hearing is the necessary step, but it is not only one! After hearing God’s Word, we must submit our lives to His plan and live accordingly. This is why Scripture consistently stresses the necessity of obedience. For example, in Romans 12:1, Paul charged the Christians in Rome to “present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.” Elsewhere, he instructed the Philippians, “Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ” (1:27). Both passages show that Christians must conduct their lives in an acceptable worthy manner. It is not enough to know God has expectations for our lives; we must meet those expectations. Importantly, God has not left it up to us to decide how to accomplish this. Instead, He provided the plan we must obey in His Word (Hebrews 5:9; 2 Thessalonians 1:6-8). James had obedience in his mind when he addressed his audience. Knowing they had to do more then acknowledge God’s expectations, he exhorted. We must hear, but hearing without obedience is deceptive. Proper obedience requires self control, dedication, and effort. We must control our emotions and reactions if we wish to lie righteously. We must dedicate ourselves to both knowing and following God’s plan if we wish to be blessed by Him. And we must seek to help those who are in need while maintaining personal purity if we wish to practice pure religion.