James, the brother of Jesus, shared some ancient wisdom that still holds true for you and I today.
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourself. “ James 1:22-25 NIV
How might we be deceived when we listen to the truth? Just because we hear or read something of value, of and by itself, doesn’t mean it makes a difference. It’s easy for any of us to show up for a church service or a small group, which is a good thing to do. It’s also easy to think by the sheer fact I’m here with others in this space and time that “I’ve done my part.” Sometimes we equate a good sermon If we hear something that’s convicting, however just “feeling bad about ourselves” is not really the end goal. So what’s missing?
“Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like”
Imagine that for a moment. When you or I look into a mirror and see something wrong, aren’t we likely to fix it right then? The mirror reminds us something needs to be done. A mirror requires a response. I know how often I get stuck in “analysis paralysis” on any new course of action and often put off responding until another day or not at all.
James continues: “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.”
How different would my life be if I moved toward fixing what the mirror of God’s inspired truth shows me today. Yes, I am and will always be “a work in progress.” That mirror can sure tell me some things if I pay attention and choose to act on it.
Side note: Since the time first I played it on radio I’ve always liked Michael Jackson’s “Man In The Mirror”… now, I know why.
Credit: Thanks to Andy Stanley for planting that thought in his new message series Pack Your Bags.