“But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.” (ESV – Read the chapter)
As far as their historical worth goes, the Scriptures have a value that exceeds any other work of literature. They have had more of an impact on human history in terms of shaping and forming the guiding assumptions of people than every other book combined. The King James Version alone has had more of an impact on the English language than Shakespeare did. Simply knowing and understanding the Scriptures without caring two wits about the God they reveal is important if you want to be a well-cultured individual. But, if you want the real blessing they have to offer, you have to go beyond that to committing yourself to doing what they say.
Be forewarned, though, this is no simple task. The Scriptures are hard. They say a lot of things that at first read don’t make any sense. Sometimes you’ll have to sit with a particular passage for days, even weeks, before it will start to clarify in your heart and mind. And that won’t happen at all unless you invite and involve the Spirit who inspired them in your reading. There is a reason James talks about persevering when looking into the law (what he would have called the Scriptures as someone who still thought of himself in Jewish terms). Too many people have let a challenge in the Scriptures drive them away from it instead of drawing them deeper into it.
When we dive deeper into the challenges of the Scriptures what we will find is freedom. How can that be? Don’t the Scriptures call us to constantly to do what God wants instead of what we want? How does putting the restraints of the Law on our lives lead to greater freedom? It brings us the freedom of being in a love relationship.
When you fall in love, you begin to adjust yourself to the likes and interests and preferences of your beloved. You limit your freedom in favor of the other and find a new kind of freedom–the freedom of love. This kind of freedom is the sweetest there is because it is an inherently self-giving one. When we are giving of ourselves to be free we are loosed from the prison of self that otherwise dominates our lives. Giving of ourselves to the One who gave His whole self to be in a relationship with us will make us entirely free.
But, this freedom only persists when we commit ourselves to it fully. To hear about the desires and interests of the other and then not do anything about them brings no blessing. Putting our love into action is where the blessing lies. Thus, reading or hearing the word only will not do. We must go the next step and do what it says if we are to find the life and freedom waiting within it.