1:22. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. – God’s word demands a response. James now takes the reader through two responses that a Christian is to give – Listening and Obedience.
We must listen. We must take the Old Testament cry of having an ear inclined to hear wisdom, a heart yearning for understanding, and a desire to know wisdom (Prov 2:1-5). We must have an ear to listen – with our physical ears (the audible Word of God) and with our inner ear (what the Spirit of God is saying personally to us).
The next step in responding to God’s word is to do something with what it says. It is not appropriate for the believer to just listen and not translate it into his life. This application of the word should be applied to the heart, the mind and to a person’s actions.
The heart refers to the inner self that helps a person to think, feel and decide. It is central to a person’s character. All emotions are experienced by the heart, both toward man and toward God. With the heart a person believes in God and can experience the presence of Christ.
The mind is the part of a person that reasons and thinks. The mind works with the heart. In the New Testament, the mind was thought of as either good or evil. The Bible speaks of the mind being hardened (2 Cor 3:14), blinded (2 Cor 4:4), corrupt (2 Tim 3:8) and debased (Rom 1:28). The Christian is to have a mind that is renewed and pure (Rom 12:2; 2 Peter 3:1). With undefiled minds, God can place His laws in peoples minds and write them on their hearts.
When the heart and the mind are working in unison actions result. Depending on where a person’s heart and mind are turned will depend on what actions are produced. If they are in tune with God then ‘pure and undefiled religion’ will result. Our works will be to” visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep one self unspotted from the world.” (James 1:27)
deceiving yourselves – Hearing without subsequent actions is sin. Anyone who thinks otherwise is deceiving themselves. The right response to hearing God’s word is obedience.