James 1:21-25 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. 22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.
Chocolate porridge has long been a favorite in our home for breakfast. My proud son showed me his bowl, scraped clean, as I asked him if he finished. Brown smears encircled his mouth. Giggling fondly, my direction to go wash his face never made it into his to-do list. A new strategy never failed.
“Go look in the mirror, bud”
He always ran into the bathroom, and screamed at high pitch. Following up, he washed his face.
Just like my son, how often do we tend to dislike being told what to do?
Are there certain portions of scripture that you avoid? Perhaps it points out a sin you’d rather not deal with. Either something you’re doing, or something a loved one is doing that’s sin. It can be tempting to ignore those inconvenient passages when it doesn’t feel good. But momentary comfort was never God’s goal for our lives. God wants to give us everlasting peace. We’ll always feel uneasy until sin finally fades away, upon Christ’s return. Until then, we either move closer to Him or further from Him.
The motive needs to come from within.
When my son looked in the mirror himself, he saw clearly what needed washing. Willingness followed.
So it is, with the Word of God. When we look into God’s Word, we clearly see our imperfections. Yes, it can be a shock, how dirty we can get daily. Maybe we’ll scream like toddler, maybe we’ll weep on our knees. Either way, His Word has the power to clean us from within.
In this way the Bible’s not a rule book, it’s a mirror.
For hundreds of years the nation of Israel tried to follow the law of God. They tried and failed. So they declared more laws to try and help themselves follow God’s laws. God has such a high standard, even His own people failed to fully obey.
I find it comforting, Israel means ‘wrestler with God’. It’s easy to become disheartened by our frequent disobedience. Reading through the Old Testament, we quickly see God’s people struggled also. Yet God’s promises are true. He still loved Israel when they sin. The same is true for us. (John 3:17)
The greater thing is, as believers, we have the Holy Spirit, granting us a willing spirit. (Jeremiah 31:33, Hebrews 8:10) Our motive does come from within, the Word, implanted in our hearts. (James 1:21)
We listen to His Word, for He draws us with His steadfast love. His Word has the power to change us. (Hebrews 4:12-13) Don’t you want to be changed to be more like Him? (2 Corinthians 3:18)
Father, You are a God of power and purity, love and truth. Grant us new lasting vigor to submerse ourselves daily in Your Word.As we look into the perfect looking glass of your Word, You reveal Your goodness, and our imperfections. Yet, You did not come to condemn, but to restore all things. We praise You. You are making all things new — especially us, Your dearly beloved in Christ. ~Amen