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. 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. James 1:22-25
Check Yourself Out
How many times a day do you think the average person checks his or her appearance in a mirror? I was surprised to learn that it’s eight to ten times a day, according to the brief study I did. That’s only counting the use of an actual ‘made for purpose’ mirror. When you take into consideration all the other places we see our reflections, such as shop windows, smart phone or tablet screens and so on, that figure could easily quadruple.
It isn’t just vanity that induces us to regularly check our appearance; more often than not, people have a quick, last minute check before an important business meeting, or going into a coffee shop to meet up with old friends, before walking up to the podium to make that all important speech.
You wouldn’t want to go into any social gathering flashing your pearly whites only to discover halfway through that you had spinach stuck between your two front teeth!
Now, imagine if you checked your mirror, saw the spinach, and decided to leave it there!
No one would do that, it would be so stupid. What would have been the point in you checking in the first place if you weren’t going to do anything about it?
Spinach in Your Teeth?
At times I’m just like the ‘spinach-in-the-teeth’ person.
James says that reading or hearing the Word of God – The Bible, without acting on it is like looking into a mirror and then immediately forgetting what we’ve seen.
God has given me a ‘mirror’, His Word – to check myself in. (James 1:22-25) – Sometimes I read something in The Bible and I “see the spinach in my teeth” and I know I need to do something about it – immediately! I really mean to, in the moment…. I really do mean to allow God to sort it. And then I don’t. I leave it for a while longer.
James exhorts us to look closely and TAKE ACTION on what we see.
He goes on to say that when we hear or read God’s Word without taking action, we are fooling ourselves.
Have you ever looked in a mirror and noticed you had lipstick on your teeth – after buzzing around talking to dozens of people? Or gents, perhaps you’ve been walking around with half of your lunch in your teeth.
I feel so silly when that happens!
What’s the first thing you do when you see something amiss like this in the mirror? You clean it off. It’s instinctive to put it right.
Checking ourselves in God’s ‘Mirror’
This should be our approach to the Word of God. If I have had “spiritual spinach in my teeth” – in other words, if I’ve look into the mirror of the Word of God and He has highlighted something in me that needs to change – it’s got to change now. I cannot go ‘back out out there’ with the spinach still stuck.
John tells us “But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness” 1 John 1:9
It’s God who brings the change, not our own striving and trying to ‘be good’. And he does through His Word. The more we look at ourselves in HIS mirror through the day, and ask Him, “Lord how does my heart look in the light of your Word?” – the more we will change to be like Him, and reflect His beauty.
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