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One of the first things I do in the morning is look in the mirror. It is not because I enjoy looking at myself in the mirror. It is just simply unavoidable. I go to the sink in the bathroom, I look up, and there I am. It’s not a pretty sight and certainly can be depressing.
Why do we even have mirrors? Well, for one thing, mirrors don’t lie. We have mirrors to show us the truth about our appearance.
The purpose of showing us the truth about our appearance is not so we can be depressed about ourselves. It is so we will know what corrections need to be made. We look at ourselves, do a quick mental comparison between what we actually look like versus what we should look like, and then make the appropriate changes.
James uses the very simple concept of a mirror to illustrate something that is incredibly important to our faith when he writes, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.” (James 1:22-24)
As Christians, believers in and followers of Christ, when we look in the mirror of God’s Word, the key question for us is, “Do we resemble the message we profess to believe?”
Why is this so important? It is important because our faith is not so much about what we do as it is about who we are. To paraphrase C. S. Lewis, we think God is wanting actions of a certain kind when He is wanting people of a certain kind. The point being, if we are people of a certain kind, first, the right actions that please God will follow.
James goes on to say, when it comes to the Word of God as a mirror, it is not enough to just look into it or listen to it. If we don’t practice what we read and hear, it soon fades from our memory. It is just forgotten and never becomes a part of who we are. We are like the person who looks in a mirror to see if they need to do anything about their appearance, only to walk away and think of something else.
If we think we can get by on simply reading and hearing God’s Word, we have made a serious miscalculation. The miscalculation is that we have become, or even can become, the person God wants us to be just because we have read or heard God’s Word. Just about everyone you or I know has read, heard, or can quote John 3:16. However, the real question is how many who have read, heard, or memorized it have followed through on the “whosoever believes in Him” part?
Do not merely listen to the word, and make a serious miscalculation. Do what it says!