“But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.” James 1:22-25
At 47 years old I finally understand this scripture, thanks to Andy Stanley! It’s one of those ones I’ve just never quite got…how in the world could you look in the mirror and forget what you look like? It just never made sense to me.
Then yesterday, as I listened to the most recent podcast from Andy, he finally explained it to me. It was one of those moments where I felt peace about something I didn’t even know was giving me turmoil.
Here’s the deal…it’s not looking in the mirror after you’ve showered and combed your hair, put on make-up etc. It’s looking in the mirror first thing in the morning, when you’re hair is a mess, there’s drool (maybe) on your chin and eye crusties hanging out…and not doing anything about what you see. Not taking a shower, not putting on deodorant, not brushing your teeth. It’s just walking out the door as is and going about your business. That is the comparison here. I never understood that until yesterday.
Why would you do that? The truth is, you wouldn’t. In fact, you don’t want to have anyone see you that way. After you look in the mirror first thing in the morning, your first thought usually is, “I need a shower.” We all have our different morning routines, but you get the gist. You’ll spend anywhere from a half hour to hours getting ready before you’ll walk out the door, you’ll even be late to work, school or meetings before you’d let people see you not completely “put together” so to speak. We spend way more time on the physical appearance than we do on the inner appearance.
That is exactly what this scripture is talking about. When we open God’s word and apply it to our lives, it’s like looking at our reflection first thing in the morning. We will see some things about ourselves, about something we’ve done, thoughts we’ve had that aren’t very attractive. The problem is, we won’t do anything about it. We walk away and forget what we just saw.
We forget that God tells us to forgive that person who hurt us, instead we’d rather hold a grudge. We forget we’re supposed to tell the truth, instead we let them believe the lie. We forget we’re supposed to love everyone, instead we pick and choose who deserves our affection.
The sad reality about the world we live in is this. Most people don’t even open their Bible, it makes it a lot easier to avoid the mirror if we don’t look at it at all. It isn’t always pretty what God reveals to us when we choose to spend time with Him, read His word and look into His mirror. But the effects of applying God’s word to our lives, to our relationships and our circumstances will last longer, have more impact and change more lives than any amount of make-up we put on!
Look in the mirror today, God’s mirror. Don’t be afraid, He loves you no matter what and let it begin to transform you into who He made you to be!