In the book of James, chapter 1 verse 22, there’s a very familiar instruction: “do not merely listen to the word … do what it says.” I expect we can all quote that with our mouths, but I wonder how often we actually apply it in our lives. I had a recent illustration of this which caused me some amusement, and also brought home the truth of this verse.
I was walking with some friends through the grounds of Pevensey castle, near where I live, and we decided to go down and look at the dungeons which are accessible to the public. The way is by means of a narrow spiral staircase set into what was once a tower in the walls. As we descended the short stairs I pointed out to my friends a sign that warned visitors that there is often water on the floor of the room, and the castle management would take no responsibility for wet feet. We laughed at this as I led the way forward. When I reached the bottom step into the room, which was lit by a dim orange light, I could see that the floor was a bit wet. I stepped on to it confidently, only to sink up to my ankle in clear water, which was a step higher than I’d thought. The lighting was such that I didn’t see the true level of firm footing, and got a very wet foot, sock, shoe, and trouser leg.
If only I’d taken greater note of the warning sign, and been a bit more cautious. We all laughed, and I went round with a damp foot for the rest of the morning. However, I was reminded strongly of the words from Psalm 119:25 ‘Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path’. The poor lighting in the room, combined with my own lack of heeding what I’d read, led me into a difficulty which could have been avoided, if I’d not only read the notice, but done what it said.
How often do we read and remember God’s word to us, yet fail to put it into practice? I mean the simple things, like forgiving people, loving people, being generous, encouraging others, and keeping away from ungodly actions. These are all matters we know about, but somehow we fail to act on them.
Let’s allow the light of the word of God to fall on our everyday paths, and then let’s seek to follow the instructions and avoid getting ‘wet feet’ because we didn’t do what the word says.
Prayer: Father, thank You for Your Word which does bring light into our darkness. Thank You that You’ve given us the lamp of the Spirit to focus that light on to where we walk. Give us the grace to obey what we read and know, and keep us from the deceptions of life which cause us to walk into unsafe places. Amen.
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