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, and after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 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 1: 23 – 25
Ever thought about how many times you look in a mirror during the course of a day? I read that the average for women was 8 times a day! (Ladies, think you do more or less? Couldn’t find anything on guys. What do you think – 2, 3, 4?)
A study was done of 2000 women, and one of the most surprising aspects of the study was that 75% said they hate looking at themselves! 39% said it even affects their confidence to do so. Most of the reasons for looking were not actually about vanity. Women don’t look to admire themselves, but it is more about concern for their appearance and good hygiene – is the make-up and hair ok? Are the teeth, nose, and face clear? Men just don’t seem to have the same need to check as much as we do, but we all still want to try to look our best, don’t we?
Reflections in a mirror. Hhmm. If we think about it, mirrors could be considered one of the most trivial necessities of life. Do we really need to see? I think we would all say yes! Thankfully, with them, we won’t forget how we look and can check at any time!
In these verses, James is comparing the way some listen to the Gospel of Christ to looking in a mirror. It seems incomprehensible to him that someone could hear the message of God’s love and grace and not remember it – as if they were looking in a mirror and then forgetting how they look! How could they hear about His goodness and the life they could have in Him and not want what He has to give? It’s inconceivable to him that they would regard God’s truths with such little significance!
Just as mirrors can seem to be of trivial importance, many believe the Gospel to be trivial and unimportant to their lives. They may hear or read its message, but then ignore or refuse to accept the life and saving grace they could have in Christ. His Word seems unimportant and unnecessary. They don’t feel as if they need God or want Him in their lives. They believe they can rely on themselves or those around them to give them all they need. They like what they see when they look at themselves and their lives, Yet they fill their lives with such useless things and they always seem to be searching for something more to fill the empty places in their hearts.
As believers, we too need to look at our lives from time to time and see if we like what we find. Just as we see our outward self in a looking glass, so we may need to see our inward self by reading the Word of God. By doing so, our secrets are revealed – our lives, our thoughts, our hearts, and our souls. We can truly see – not as others see us, or even as we see ourselves, but as God sees us.
We are able to see not only our actions, but our motives, desires, and the inward condition of our hearts, and we may realize we need it to be transformed. Just as we wipe away those smudges and stains we see in our reflections in a mirror, we need to wipe away those undesirable places in our hearts, as well.
May we read His Word with all our hearts, souls, and understanding and never forget His love and the life God desires for us to have. What blessings He has to give. May we never forget His truths and always be faithful to Him. And when we do, we have His assurance that He will give us even more of His goodness and His grace.
Dear Lord, may we listen to your Word, read it, meditate on it, let it dwell in our hearts and minds, and feel your love and grace. Help us to live the life you would have us live in you and may others see your reflection in us. In your most glorious name we pray. Amen