In 1989 Stephen Covey wrote a national bestseller titled 7 Habits of Highly Effective People ® which continues to be a popular seller today. In the book, Dr. Covey listed 7 basic self-help principles which would help persons achieve business success, personal success, etc. in life. Here are those principles:
- Be proactive
- Begin with the end in view
- Put first things first
- Think win-win ®
- Seek first to understand, then to be understood
- Synergize ®
- Sharpen the saw ®
As you may know, 7 is an interesting number related to short term and working memory, first popularized in a paper published back in 1956 in Psychological Review by George A. Miller. For example, phone numbers have 7 digits, automobile tags have a maximum of 7 digits, a point needs to be heard 7 times before it sticks, the Bible used the number 7 frequently—the 7 Churches of Asia, etc. Why 7? Because the human mind has an amazing capacity to remember and retain up to 7 items but beyond that, it becomes a challenge.
I have used the number “7 Learning Tool” to write this lesson on becoming a DOER OF GOD’S WORD which is commanded in James 1:22, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” The English word “DOER” is a translation of the Greek word POIETES, from which we get our word “Poet.” It means “A maker, performer, etc.” A Poietes is a creative person, a maker, and demonstrator of something. I look at the alphabet and all I see are letters, a poet looks at letters and sees words which can be produced and performed as poetry, etc.
James is making it clear that each Christian must be a “PERFORMER” of the word, a MAKER of applications. We tend to wait on a preacher or teacher to spell out suggested applications of the word, which is okay, BUT whether the preacher or teacher gives us a list of steps or rules, we must use our hearts and heads to be CREATIVE DOERS of the words. For example, when I read Love your enemy (Matthew 5:44), I must figure out creative ways to DO this command.
What follows are 7 habits I personally believe will help every Christian become a committed and effective doer of God’s word:
- Develop the habit of reading the Bible every day. Remember the old sayings, “Going a week without reading the Bible will make one WEAK.” Also, “Missing Bible reading one day will cause one to go astray.
- Develop the habit of reading the Bible with the overall purpose of becoming familiar with the three-fold story for Genesis to Revelation: (1) Someone is coming, (2) Someone has come, and (3) Someone is coming again—Jesus is the someone.
- Develop the habit of selecting portions of Scripture to study by digging deeper into the meaning, etc. This is doing the “Study to show yourself approved by God” command in 1 Timothy 2:15.
- Develop the habit praying before, during, and after you have selected your portion of Scripture to put into practice. This is obeying 1 Thessalonians 5:17.
- Develop the habit of asking questions when you read verses or portions of Scripture: (1) Who wrote this? (2) To whom is he writing? (3) Why is he writing? (4) Is there a command to obey? (5) Is there a sin to avoid? (5) Is it simply history, (6) Are there figures of speech?
- Develop the habit of asking, “How can I become a DOER by intentionally putting it into practice?”
- Develop the habit of writing down your plan, steps, and time frame for DOING the portion of Scripture. This is the most important step in becoming a DOER of the word. Remember good intentions, desire, talk, etc. isn’t DOING—PRACTICING—God’s word.
There are basically 59 “One another Scriptures” in the New Testament, which means obviously God wants us to practice his word in our relationships with one another in the body of Christ.
Here are 7 “one another” passages for you to begin your practice of DOING them by applying the 7 habits listed above:
- John 13:34: “A new commandment I give to you, that you LOVE ONE ANOTHER, as I have loved you, that you also LOVE ONE ANOTHER.” How will you DO this?
- Romans 12:10: “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love…” How will you DO this?
- Romans 15:7: “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you…” How will you do this?
- Ephesians 5:21: “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” How will you DO this?
- Philippians 2:3: “…In humility consider others better than yourselves.” How will you DO this?
- Galatians 6:26: “Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.” How will you DO this?
- Galatians 6:2: “Carry each other’s burdens…” How will you DO this?
While it is essential that we read, study, and memorize Scripture, the ultimate challenge is DOING the word. Remember, you can teach a parrot to speak Bible verses but the bird can’t do them. Remember these words spoken by Jesus, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who DOES the will of My Father in heaven” (Matthew 7:21).
Brother Turner has a new book Lord, You Can Count On Me (amazon.com)