Overstanding God’s Word

The book of James will punch you in the face. Repeatedly. This passage from James 1 came up at our retreat last week and was freshly illuminated to me.

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do. James 1:22-25

Our students were doing an inductive study of Mark 4. And one of the groups was asked to act out and explain verses 21-25. When presenting, a student said something like this,”You shouldn’t just hear the Word and put it on the shelf, or even under something. You should put it over everything else you are doing.”

That hit me like a ton of bricks. How many times am I tempted to just understand God’s word? God’s not just asking me to understand the Bible, He’s asking me to “overstand it” by putting it above everything else.

So simple a 16 year old can teach it to me. But incredibly difficult to live out on a daily basis.

Oh, that I might be a man (and we a people) who doesn’t just understand your word, but is bold enough to overstand it by putting it into action.






3 responses to “Overstanding God’s Word”

  1. Brit Windel Avatar

    excellent post Adam.

    I agree to often we simply ‘teach’ something from the Bible, but even with applicable things to walk away and do, how often do we actually do them? We find ways not to, or find some way to justify what we are or are not doing.

    Soren Kierkegaard says it best and it rocks me every time i think about it…

    “The matter is quite simple. The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obligated to act accordingly”

    Let the Word of God be over everything in your life, not just a part of your life

  2. Adam Avatar

    I recently went through James in a study, I took little bits at a time and really tried to focus on it and pray and be still to let the Spirit of God open it up to me. It has changed me, painfully so, lol. I even put my notes on Facebook for some others that were interested and it led to quite a few interesting discussions when we got together face to face after that, because so many of us had read James before, but never had seen the depth to it.
    We love to skim over what we feel we already know without giving the Spirit of God the chance to reveal anything new. Slowing myself down in my studies has been a beautiful experience. I don;t know if I can ever go back to my old way of studying because now He is revealing so much to me through John that I am blown away again.
    Thanks Adam, I agree with you and encourage others to slow down and really seek out what God wants to show you.

  3. Tara Gregory Avatar

    What a powerful post! Thank you Adam.

    I just wanted to bring some clarity from a theological point of view for further accuracy and study. When studying scripture when you UNDERSTAND you are standing under the Word of God (scriptures) as the ULTIMATE AUTHORITY and strive to live accordingly. When you OVERSTAND in terms of James and living out the Word of God it means you look at the Word and seek to fit it into your circumstances.

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