James makes no bones about what it truly means to RECEIVE Gods Word. I see this passage supporting the doctrine of, “a faith that is not changing you, is likely not saving you”.
But be doers of the Word [obey the message], and not merely listeners to it, betraying yourselves [into deception by reasoning contrary to the Truth]. For if anyone only listens to the Word without obeying it and being a doer of it, he is like a man who looks carefully at his [own] natural face in a mirror. For he thoughtfully observes himself, and then goes off and promptly forgets what he was like. James 1:22-24
Listening to the Word and hearing it are by all means important; but it is not truly consumed until what is learned, when a conviction has been conceived by the Holy Spirit, is applied to the life of the hearer. I think what James is saying is that if you read God’s Word and you are convicted by something you read and yet do not make the adjustments or changes in your life to align with the teaching you have heard, you are actually deceiving yourself into believing and aligning to something that is not the TRUTH. This feels super scary to me.
But he who looks carefully into the faultless law, the [law] of liberty, and is faithful to it and perseveres in looking into it, being not a heedless listener who forgets but an active doer [who obeys], he shall be blessed in his doing (his life of obedience). James 1:25
These contrasts of looking into the mirror and forgetting one’s face and looking carefully into the faultless law remind me of my life verse of Psalms 1:1-3 where verse 2 says of the Blessed Man -> “His delight is in the Law of the Lord, and he meditates on God’s Law day and night”. Verse 1 says that a Blessed Man does not sit in the counsel of the wicked nor stands in the same road with sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers. This is a man who is sold out to obedience to God and when he reads and learns something in God’s Word, he is quick to apply the learning to his life. There is so much more here…