"Merely hearing God's law is a waste of your time if you don't do what he commands. Doing, not hearing, is what makes the difference with God." MSG Romans 2:12-13
You may be too young to remember Fibber McGee and Molly. So am I! I learned of this radio show turned TV show from my mother. There were days as I grew up that Mom would open our hall linen closet and say, "It's Fibber McGee's closet!" Finally one day I asked who Fibber McGee was. She laughed and told me the story of the running gag on one of her childhood favorites radio show, Fibber McGee & Molly. Everyone dreaded the hall closet on that show and every time it was opened there would be an avalanche of stuff come tumbling out! Fibber's response was usually, "I'll have to clean out that closet one of these days!"
Now I'm grown with my own hall closet and sure enough, it periodically becomes "Fibber McGee's" closet! How does that happen? The worst thing is the Fibber McGee syndrome spreads to other
closets in the house! It is HIGHLY contagious! I even hear myself saying "I'll have to clean out that
closet one of these days!" and then shut the door and walk away! The truth is when you finally get
around to cleaning those closets, it is a HUGE job. It requires more time and more space to sort and
manage than the space of the closet itself.
A couple of weeks ago, I tackled my walk-in bedroom closet that was no longer "walk-in-able"! As I moved the items to my bedroom for sorting it became very clear I had waited WAY too long for this job! Just look at the mess I made of my room! Can you believe all that stuff fit in a 4'X8' closet? My son even commented "What's Dad going to say?"
It took ALL day to accomplish the 'ridding out process but when I was finished, what a deep, refreshing breath I was able to take! Everything in my life seemed clear and manageable again! It was like a new lease on life!
How many times had I looked in that closet and said "I really should do something about this!" I had
crammed clothes in so tightly they were wrinkled when I took them out requiring more time to get ready to go somewhere. The shelves had NO room because the things once thought too important to trash had taken every inch of space. I was stepping on shoes that had no place on the shoe rack. Let's not even talk about the dust! It was disgraceful!
James 1:22-25 speaks of seeing things that need attention but are ignored. James1:22 But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror, (or looking in your closet). You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it. NLT
Matthew Henry comments on this passage saying: "If we heard a sermon every day of the week, and
an angel from heaven were the preacher, yet, if we rested in hearing only, it would never bring us to heaven. Mere hearers are self-deceivers; and self-deceit will be found the worst deceit at last. If we flatter ourselves, it is our own fault; the truth, as it is in Jesus, flatters no man. Let the word of truth be carefully attended to, and it will set before us the corruption of our nature, the disorders of our hearts and lives; and it will tell us plainly what we are. Our sins are the spots the law discovers: Christ's blood is the laver (a ceremonial basin for washing) the gospel shows. But in vain do we hear God's word, and look into the gospel glass, if we go away, and forget our spots, instead of washing them off; and forget our remedy, instead of applying to it. This is the case with those who do not hear the word as they ought. In hearing the word, we look into it for counsel and direction, and when we study it, it turns to our spiritual life. Those who keep in the law and word of God, are, and shall be, blessed in all their ways. His gracious recompense (payment for) hereafter, would be connected with his present peace and comfort. Every part of Divine revelation has its use, in bringing the sinner to Christ for salvation, and in directing and encouraging him to walk at liberty, by the Spirit of adoption, according to the holy commands of God.
And mark the distinctness, it is not for his deeds, that any man is blessed, but in his deed. It is not talking, but walking, that will bring us to heaven. Christ will become more precious to the believer's soul, which by his grace will become more fitted for the inheritance of the saints in light."
In other words, cleaning out your spiritual "Fibber McGee's closets" brings peace and liberty to your
soul! It's not that anything in my closet was 'sinful' or disgusting, it's just that the closet was neglected
and dysfunctional! I know in my heart allowing things to crowd into my life, to take up space and rob
me of energy is dangerous. Life requires focus and clarity to maintain my walk with Christ. Clutter
trips me up and can cause me to stumble if neglected. I just allow myself the excuse, "I don't have
time right now". However, I need to be more diligent to keep the "stuff" of life manageable and sorted
as I go instead of letting it all pile up.
Do I think I have all my "Fibber McGee's closets" conquered? Of course not! Even the apostle Paul knew that is impossible! He wrote in Romans 2:17-24 "But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can't keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don't have what it takes. I can will it, but I can't do it. I decide to do good, but I don't really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don't result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time. 21 It happens so regularly that it's predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God's commands, but it's pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge. 24I've tried everything and nothing helps. I'm at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn't that the real question? " MSG The good news is Paul didn't leave us hopeless! He gave us help in verse 25, "The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different." MSG
I want to be sure to keep my spiritual closets clean, organized, functional and pleasing to the Lord!
Lord, help me be righteous before God by being not only a hearer of the word, but a doer through
Christ who gives me strength. "For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength." Philippians 4:13