When you look in the mirror what do you see? What happens when you walk away from that reflection? Do you study the reflection to remember every detail of your face?
While studying James, one verse had me thinking and discussing a few things. James 1:23 “For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror.” I memorized a similar version of this verse as a teenager; however, I failed to grasp its meaning at the time. With age comes a better understanding, which also changes over time. Let’s break it down a bit.
It is easy to remember “Be doers of the word and not hearers only”. It is fairly safe to say that most people would understand the meaning of that phrase. But I challenge you to look at it a bit differently. In order to follow the Biblical instructions, we cannot just read the word of God. We must study it and commit it to memory. By studying the Bible, we gain a better understanding of those instructions and their applications in our lives.
When we think of “hearers only”, the first thought is preaching (or at least it was for me). If we are not hearing God’s messages and applying them to our lives, then our faith is not active. If we are only hearing scripture on a weekly basis, then our faith is going nowhere. We need to hear (read) it daily. Spending time in the word of God is spending time with Him who made us in His image.
James likens the lack of applying the word and therefore taking action as just glancing at your face in the mirror. Women understand the quick glance in a mirror to make sure everything is in place. But as soon as we walk away, doubt creeps in that something is smudged or out of place. It is the same with the word of God. A quick glance of scripture is more like checking a spiritual box, it doesn’t take root and we forget it.
As I pondered reflection this morning, I thought of “made in God’s image”. Genesis 1:26 says “Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the Earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.” If we were made in the image of God, then we were by design to reflect God to others.
We were made to have a deep relationship with Him who created EVERYTHING. Adam and Eve walked with Him in the garden. They engaged in deep conversations with Him. They spent time with Him daily. Their whole life revolved around Him. They reflected Him because they were with Him daily. Until temptation or disobedience ruined it all. God gave them instructions, they heard them but disobeyed.
We need to read, study, and memorize scripture so that we KNOW it. There can be little doubt in what God says when we study the Bible and apply scripture to our lives. James is right. We must be more than hearers only. We must put scripture into practice. What does your reflection look like to the outside world? Who does your refection mirror…God or the world?
A mirror reflects only what is visible