My grandfathers were both gardeners and so are many of my friends. I love visiting beautiful gardens—they inspire me. They make me want to create something equally beautiful in my own yard. But I have trouble moving from the inspiration to the perspiration part of gardening. My great ideas don’t become reality because I don’t spend the time and energy to make them happen.

This can be true in our spiritual lives as well. We can listen to the testimonies of other people and marvel at the work God is doing in their lives. We can hear uplifting music and great preaching and feel inspired to follow God more diligently. But soon after we walk out of church, we have trouble finding the time or making the effort to follow through.

James described such Christians as being like those who look in a mirror, see themselves, but do nothing to fix what is wrong (James 1:23-24). They hear the Word, but it doesn’t lead to action. James says we need to do—not just hear.

When we move from the inspiration of simply “hearing” about the good being done by others to the perspiration of actually “doing” good works ourselves, the implanted Word of God (1:21) will bloom into a beautiful garden of spiritual fruit.