Mirror, Mirror

22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25 But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. (James 1:22–25)

Being doers and not only hearers is something often prayed for in Christian circles, but what does it mean? James likens hearing God’s word but not trusting and obeying it to a man who carefully glances at his face in a mirror[1] in passing, but then quickly going on his way forgets what he saw (even his own face!). (Quite unlike police who train extensively in the field of detail awareness and memorisation).

When we hear God’s word (read or spoken or preached) do we examine it contents like someone who looks intently at themselves in the mirror and then forgets what they saw, or do we dwell upon it so it comes to abide with us and change us from hearers into doers. God’s word is meant to be like a mirror, reflecting His truths upon our lives, identifying encouragements and blemishes to be celebrated or remedied. Its meant to ultimately point to action.

Do we hear about the call to salvation, but then walk away and never seek it?

Do we hear the call to believe that God designed us male and female, but then walk away believing the media instead?

Do we hear the call to comfort, but then not comfort someone in their grief?

The list could go on…

How shall we remedy this? We need to look not just giving an intent glance, but having a deep gaze. A depth to our looking that comes from a knowledge of what this book is, who it has come from and what it offers. Seeing all this as a treasure we look, we pour over it. The more we do this, the more we’ll remember and the more of God’s truth will be stored up in our heart (Ps 119:11) to effect a transforming work. It is when we look in this way that hearing will lead to doing. Yet there is more, we must persevere. We must continue to mull over what we have heard, to talk about it (Dt 6), to take practical steps to reinforce it throughout the week (memorise, sing, pray, etc), to revisit it, to keep in God’s word.

When we handle the word in this way, we will not easily forget, so when the moment comes for faithful action, we’ll remember God’s promise, act on it, and be blessed.

The Lord’s Sweetest Blessings,

Pastor Chris

[1] The earliest mirror was of course looking at ones reflection in water. Later mirrors, like those at the time James wrote, would have be polish stone, metal or rudimentary glass based mirrors. It was not until 1800s that the modern mirror making process was developed and mirrors made inexpensive for ordinary people.