James 1:25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does. (NKJV)
One can hardly imagine an American (or most anyone) who does not know about the Twin Towers in New York City after Sept 11. The World Trade Center towers were symbolic of American business and ingenuity. There is a current movie called “Two Towers” that is part of the Lord of the Rings movie series. Those two towers represent dual bastions of evil threatening to plunge “Middle Earth” into darkness and death.
Christianity has some twin towers. One holy, one fleshly.
Hearing and Doing. Desire and Indulgence.
The holy twin towers of Christianity are Hearing and Doing. They are the bulwarks of sanctification giving us a clear methodology on how to become more Christ-like. James tells us in his Book by the same name, that we will be blessed keepers of the perfect law of liberty when we first hear it… then do it.
The evil twin towers of the flesh are Desire and Indulgence. Our entire world cultivates this in every form imaginable through materialism, hedonism and false religion. If you want it, go get it. “You deserve it” is an effective marketing term used almost to a nauseating extent. Every loan, credit card, purchase, vacation or luxury should be yours because… “you deserve it”.
Ephesians 4:17 This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. (NKJV, emphasis mine)
Greed, immorality, lust… putting out the light of God in us leaving us in the darkness. Madison Avenue, Hollywood, Wall Street and the world all encourage, promote and reward you for “obeying your thirst”, as the popular jingle goes.
The two sets of towers represent the two different types of people (wise and foolish) and have their foundation on two very different elements:
Matthew 7:24-27 Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.
“But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.” (NKJV, emphasis mine)
The towers of Hearing and Doing are secure on the foundation of the Solid Rock, Jesus Christ. His sheep hear His voice and obey His commands. Hear and do.
The foolish make their homes in towers of Desire and Indulgence which are built on the shifting sands of popular opinion, lust, greed, and impulsiveness.
Notice here that the danger is not simply allegiance to the wrong SET of towers. It is obvious that Desire and Indulgence will lead us away from God. Those towers are black with sin and ominous storm clouds. It is easier (but still difficult) to recognize and battle against them because of their flagrant unholiness. But is there danger lurking within the towers of Hearing and Doing?
Do you recall the moment the first Trade Center Tower fell? Wasn’t it just incomplete, and wrong in some way to see one Tower standing? Didn’t it just seem that one tower was inextricably linked to the other? It was just STRANGE to see one tower standing. Well, I admit, it’s a very inadequate analogy, but picture Hearing and Doing as those towers. The Hearing Tower is standing alone. Without the tower of “Doing”, the skyline is incomplete. I only give you that as a word picture to help you tie the two together. Let’s look at how James describes the missing tower:
James 1:22-23 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; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. (NKJV, emphasis mine)
The person who hears, but does not DO, is deceived. He’s like a person who looks in the mirror and sees that his hair needs to be washed, his teeth are yellow, his skin is filthy, he has a big disgusting pimple on his forehead, and the hair growing out of his nose could be braided… yet walks away, goes on about his business and immediately forgets how awful he looks.
Pretty revolting, huh? Well that’s how we deceive ourselves… by being Hearers, but not Doers. We look in the mirror when we hear and we see the disgusting truth of sin in our lives and on our spiritual “face”. If we don’t DO something about what we have heard and seen, we walk away and immediately forget what the ugly sin looked like.
Desire and Indulgence. Hearing and Doing. Twin Towers of the foolish and wise. One set completely bad. The other bad if not complete.
Lord God, give us wisdom to be doers and not hearers only of Your Word. Help us to destroy the towers of desire and indulgence in our lives so that we may build our foundation on the Solid Rock, Jesus Christ in whose name we pray, Amen.
Contemplation: There is no end to the sources of good hearing today, but the Doers are few and far between. Does the Bible or a good sermon drive you to the spiritual mirror to behold the ugliness of sin, only to walk away and immediately forget what you saw?
Application: Beware of our world that is fueled by desire and indulgence. Only the Word, and God’s Presence can defeat it. Beware of the deception of hearing God’s truth, but never doing it. It will make you feel better, but won’t actually make you better. Hear God’s truth. Do God’s truth.
- What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
- What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
- What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?