22 “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”
James 1:22 (ESV)
A rookie on the team made every chapel and team Bible study in training camp. He and his fiancé rarely missed the couples’ Bible study during the season. I met the player weekly to talk about growing in Christ.
There was one problem — they chose to live together before marriage. It led to conversations about being out of step with God’s design for their marriage.
At the end of the season I asked if he would give me one more shot at persuading him to honor God in their relationship by living separately and without sex until their wedding. We talked through several passages forbidding premarital sex, but he left town unwilling to change course.
Six months later he returned for training camp, just a week after his wedding. As I walked into the locker room, he grabbed me and blurted out, “We did it!”
“You did what?”
“When we left for the off-season we split up our living arrangement until the wedding. Not only was the wedding the best day ever, the Scriptures have come alive as never before. It is like you turned the lights on!”
James 1:22 says hearing without doing leads to deception. My young friend thought he was doing well spiritually, but he was deceived by his disobedience. He couldn’t see how his moral disobedience had kept one foot on the brakes in his walk with God.
When he chose obedience, his walk with God took off.
God has given us the Scriptures as a track to run on. Staying on track is not about performing a list of do’s and don’ts. It is a relational issue with God.
Picking and choosing what we obey is stepping off the track, pulling away from God and missing His best for us. It leaves us deceived, unable to see spiritual realities very clearly.
Want to walk or run in your relationship with Christ? It is impossible to run well when we live in defiance to His Word. Obedience kicks our pursuit of God into another gear.