Mirror, Mirror, On The Wall
Read James Chapter 1
Jas 1:22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.
James understood the necessity of knowing God’s word and adhering to its instructions. In his day, the only scriptures available were the Old Testament. Today we have even more helpful instruction than James, through the writings of the New Testament. Our bibles today are our only reliable source of truth, God’s word. As we study it, we find the only real look into our lives, to find out who we are and where we stand with our Creator. James admonishes us to find out what it says, and not only that, to DO WHAT IT SAYS!
As mankind is exposed to God’s truth, there are varying reactions and responses to it. We will explore some of them.
1. Complete rejection – Most of our world simply refuses to believe what it reveals. Man’s intelligence has brought about some marvelous changes for the good. But it has also brought mankind to believe that his knowledge has become the ultimate source of truth. That’s so sad.
2. Don’t like what it says – Some who believe the bible is true, or at least think that is a possibility, see a lot of things there which they do not like. For example, some do not like to hear that Jesus is the only way to God, the Father, or the only way to Heaven. Most SSA men and women do not like what is said about homosexuality.
3. Have no intention of obeying it – Of the second group above, there are many who will not be willing to heed its warnings against their particular brand of sin. Some will not agree to refrain from getting drunk, overeating, failure to forgive others, be true to their spouses, and of course, the one we are concerned with, the warning against same-sex lusts and actions.
4. The least common response – A handful of men and women look into God’s word and humbly accept it as truth and pledge themselves to follow God and Christ to the fullest. This option is the only one which promises eternal life and ultimate victory over those things which will destroy soul, body, and spirit.
How often do we get into God’s word, in a serious desire to learn and obey? I feel certain that most of us fall into the last category of ‘listeners to the word.’ However, it is easy for any of us to get into a habit of failing to read and meditate on God’s word. It is imperative that we correct that problem. If we do not, we will be like the man in verses 23-24. We will forget ‘what we look like.’
I have found that neglect of God’s word greatly increases the possibility that I will stray from the truth. Each and every day, I must be reminded of God’s expectations from me. Almost every chapter has a reminder of some aspect of life which makes us better disciples and followers of Christ. For example, without the constant reminder that we are to help the poor, I can get wrapped up in my personal financial situation. Without constant reminder of what God says about homosexuality, it is easy to allow my mind to think, “What does one little act hurt? What difference would that make?”
The bible is indeed a mirror, more powerful and reliable than any mirror that has been invented by man. In it, everything that is seen is true. Even our modern day mirrors can be deceptive. The bathroom mirror in our condo is a great example. I don’t know if it was intended to do so or not, but it ever so slightly flatters the one who looks into it. God’s word will not and cannot do that. It will reveal exactly what is seen. When we discover that we do not love others as we should, we see something which we must work on. When it tells us that we have not been as good a worker on our job as we should be, we find something else which we must work on.
We must look into that ‘mirror’ every day, maybe more than once per day. If we do, if we “look intently into the perfect law,” we will gain freedom. We will not forget what we have seen and heard from the Spirit. And we will be blessed in what we do. James made that truth very clear to us. Study this passage intently, and resolve to be faithful to keep looking into His mirror, changing what need to be changed, until one day, we look into that mirror and find ourselves looking like our Savior. I know, that won’t happen until we are with Him in eternity. But our Lord instructs us to spend our entire lives becoming more and more like Him. We don’t have any other choice.
Prayer: Oh Father, Your mirror does not lie, nor does it flatter. We see many imperfections when we gaze into it. Help us to be faithful to continue to look, willing to change what we see which is not good. Give us the courage to face Your truth and do whatever You ask us to do.