"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)
"Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?" asked the Queen in the story of Snow White. The mirror always gave her the answer she wanted to hear: "Why, you, O Queen!" But then came the day when a more beautiful woman appeared on the scene - Snow White – and the Queen was furious to hear what the mirror said. But then, that’s what mirrors do: They tell the truth.
When we stand before a mirror, we see ourselves as we really are. Mirrors don’t lie (except those at funfairs that deliberately aim to distort!); and our mirror, the Bible, is no different. It shows us things exactly as they are. We see God exactly as He is, and ourselves exactly as we are. Of course, we have to trust that the mirror is a true reflection. If we start doubting its reliability or accuracy, how we will ever be sure about what we see? How will we ever face up to its truth and its challenges if we explain away things that are hard or that challenge us? Like the Queen in Snow White, we will want to get rid of the problem rather than see the problem in ourselves.
Today’s text brings home the truth that, not only is the Bible a mirror, but that we need to act on what we see there. We don’t look into a mirror and then forget what we see; we act on it, adjusting our hair or our clothes. Likewise, the Bible calls us not to be casual, passive listeners or admirers of the word, but doers of it; to act on what we see.
If you have been putting off obeying something in God’s word, just do it - you will be blessed as you do!
"Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says." (James 1:22)
Copyright © 2017 Martin Manser and Mike Beaumont