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Appreciation Is Not Enough

But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.

James 1:22 (NLT)

I remember that one Sunday after the worship service, a young member of the church approached me to say something that caught my attention: "Pastor, for several Sundays, I have noticed that your sermons are evolving towards a another level which requires us to have a thorough knowledge of the Bible to better follow you." My response was not kind at all: "It's not the level that counts, but it's your understanding and the application you make of it."

For the young man, it was a compliment he was paying me, while for me, it was an opportunity to encourage him to do more than appreciate the level of the sermons. This is exactly what James teaches us through this verse. It is not enough to appreciate a pastor and his message, you must also analyze the scriptures he uses and his teaching to learn lessons that apply to your life. Appreciation does not help one grow in faith or know the will of God.

When you put the word into practice in your life, you become what you practice. This therefore gives you the authority to teach and guide others with wisdom and humility. You will not need to convince them of what you know, your exemplary attitude will allow you to teach and exhort them with power. When we simply hear and appreciate the preachings without applying them correctly, we are deceiving ourselves because sooner or later we will end up forgetting everything that has been said.

May the grace and peace of God be with you all.

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