God's Word…Our Personal Mirror (James 1:23-25)
James 1:23-25, “For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.”
The Middle and High-school girls had had a little too much fun with their lipstick again. One day, at a Christian school, it was reported to the administrator that there were lipstick stains on the mirrors in the girl’s restroom. Upon the administrator’s investigation he learned that the girls had been kissing the mirrors. After several unsuccessful attempts were made for the girls to stop kissing the mirrors, the administrator came up with a clever idea.
The principal called all of the Middle and High-school girls together to watch him demonstrate how difficult it was to clean the smudged mirrors. Pulling a mop from the mop cart, the administrator began to scrub the mirror clean. Strangely enough, he never again had the problem with lipstick on the mirrors.
Most of us, before we begin our day, take a look in a mirror to be sure we are presentable. Mirrors serve a purpose. They reveal to us our true reflections. I want us to check ourselves in another mirror—God’s mirror, the Word of God.
As a mirror, the Bible serves two important purposes. Both are vital to our Christian walk.
It is silly to stare in a mirror, to see messy hair or a dirty face, and do nothing to improve one’s appearance. Similarly, God’s Word is a mirror to our souls; it discloses our sin. It is foolishness to see our sins, forget them, and so do nothing to correct them. When we gaze into God’s Word, His “perfect law”, we see that sin enslaves. When we reject sin, it brings freedom and blessing. For example, one sin, such as lying or getting drunk, often leads to another. Problems quickly multiply and entangle the sinner. Hearing and reading God’s Word is like looking at a mirror that reflects and reveals what is truly in our lives. It shows us the way we are and allows us to see what we need to change. With this knowledge, we can choose to respond either with honesty (making a change for the better), or with hypocrisy (refusing to change and pretending everything is all right). The right response is to ask and allow God to help us conform to the standard of His Word by putting it into practice.
It is self-deception and senselessness to hear about our transgressions and fail to resolve them. How ridiculous it is for a person to receive God’s Word but not put it into practice. The notion of a person forgetting what he or she looks like would be unrealistic, even ridiculous. Yet, that is what happens in a spiritual sense when we are exposed to God’s Word but then go our way without responding to what it revealed about our lives. We truly learn and retain things only as we put them into practice. If we fail to act upon or use what we know about God’s Word, we will not retain it and it will not become part of who we are. Basically, we will forget what the Word has shown us, and it will do us no good. A good practice any time we read or hear something from the Bible is to ask ourselves, “What difference should this make in my life?” and “What should I do now that God has shown this to me?” Then, we should ask God to help us apply His Word and immediately look for ways we can put it into practice.
1. Revealing who Jesus Christ really is. The Bible mirrors Jesus, showing Him to us in His glory and splendor. When we gaze intently into the Word of God, we see the reflection of Jesus Christ. Without that revelation in the mirror of His Word, we cannot know fully know Him or be changed into His likeness.
2. Revealing the condition we are in. The person in James 1:23 who “beholdeth” his face in a mirror is a person who gets up in a hurry and runs past the mirror. The word beholdeth here means he just glances, then he’s gone. This is done a lot. Many only take a quick glance at the Word of God. Many people even call this quick glance their “morning devotion.” In contrast, James describes the person who “looketh” and “continueth therein” (James 1:25). The word for look here means to stare into, examine, inspect, study, analyze. This is how we should look into the mirror of the Word of God.
We must sit down and absorb the Word because the Word is the mirror that reveals our true selves to us. When we examine intently into the mirror of God’s Word, we see our true reflection and can begin to deal with what we see. II Corinthians 3:18, “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” Through His Word, God wants to show you what you are by nature and what you can be by grace. As you look in the Word, you become like what you look at. He wants to make you like the Lord Jesus Christ.
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, I know Your desire for me is to be like Your Son, Jesus. I desire to be the mirror You want me to be. I ask You to take control of my life. Help me to reflect Jesus so that others can be drawn to Christ, Your Son. I want to be like Jesus! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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Dr. Blackman is passionate about helping others grow in the grace of the Lord. His devotions are centered on how to grow closer to the Lord through a personal relationship with Christ.