Do not merely listen to the word and so deceive yourselves, do what it says.
Every military service has an official set of values or ethics that the organization strives to instill within its members. The Army has the Army Values, the Soldier’s Creed, and the Non-Commissioned Officer’s Creed for example. The Marine Corps have the three core values of honor, courage, and commitment as well as the Rifleman’s Creed.
These values are instilled in service members during their basic training, their military occupational or vocational schools, and future leadership schools. These values are the ruler with which you can measure a service member’s commitment to their military branch, as well as the expected moral compass that their branch has defined for them.
Throughout my military career, I have constantly attended training and classes that have reemphasized these values repeatedly. This is not an experience unique to me. Most, if not all, service members will attend similar training like this every year. With all of the ethical training that military service members receive, why do we see military members on the news everyday involved in situations that clearly are not in line with their service’s values? The answer is quite simple. You can learn and read about something all day, but if you do not put it into practice, than it is pointless.
Sadly, the same thing goes for the Bible and living the way God wants us too. As Christians, we have the most valuable resource freely available that tells us exactly how God wants us to act and live our lives: His Holy Word. If we ignore what God speaks to us through the Bible, prayer, and Church then we are completely missing the point. This stunts our spiritual growth, and does not make us a shining light to the world.
The Bible says in James 1:23-25: 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.
For us to be effective Christians, our actions have to show that we are Christians. Our lives must bear fruit. Jesus says in John 15:5: “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” To be abiding in Christ, we need to be listening to Him, and doing our absolute best to obey Him.
Pray today that Christ will show you where you are failing to follow Him properly, and pray for guidance on how to correct this.
Joshua Bixler is a Christian, husband, father, and a Sunday School teacher for 5th grade boys. He is a veteran of two combat deployments to Afghanistan, and loves military history. He and his wife enjoy creating tabletop RPG gaming products.