I’m 100% one of those girls that spends way too much time in front of the mirror. I’m picking out every insecurity, I’m judging my outfit, I’m mentally complaining about how I sometimes have multiple chins (it’s a gift really). But one thing is always the same: The minute I walk away from the mirror, those things I’ve picked out, those insecurities I can’t shake end up sticking with me the entire day. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one like this. We dwell on those things that drive us crazy or that we want to change.
I promise this has a point. Let’s jump right into this, I want you to read James 1:21-25 below, then let’s have a conversation about it.
21 Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. 22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25 But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.
James 1:21-25 ESV
I was studying this passage the other day and it completely wrecked me. James is talking about being hearers versus being doers. Just merely hearing vs actually going and taking action. James compares reading the Word of God to a guy looking in the mirror (told you it would make sense), seeing things, and forgetting them the moment he walks away.
I found a study Steve Cole did on this passage, and it was absolutely incredible. Go check it out here because he writes this better than I ever could. Take a quick look at what he says regarding this:
“James uses the illustration of a man (the Greek word stipulates a man, as distinguished from a woman) who looks at his natural face in the mirror, rushes out the door, and forgets what he saw. Maybe he had a couple of days of stubble on his face, or he slept wrong on his hair, and it stuck up in an unruly manner. But, he’s late for work, and he’s really not all that concerned about his appearance, so he quickly tries to smooth it out and rushes out the door, even though he looks like he just got out of bed. The mirror showed him the problems, but he didn’t do anything to fix them.” -Steve Cole
I loved this illustration. When we approach Scripture, we do this more than we probably want to admit. We read and the Spirit convicts us and we see the issues, the flaws, the messiness, the sin. Then we walk away and forget everything. I am so incredibly guilty of this. When I look at the mirror in life, I remember the flaws all day, they eat away at me, they bug me. Yet sometimes when I look at the mirror of the Word, I walk away as if I saw nothing wrong.
Do you see the issue with this?
We should have a heart that breaks when we see sin devouring us. We should be bothered by the fact that we make mistakes. We should be overwhelmed all day with knowing that there are issues that need to be taken care of.
So what does it mean to be a hearer and a doer?
It is someone that is active. Someone who sees the issue and wants to fix it. Someone who looks in the mirror of the Word and says, “this is an issue,” closes her Bible, and does something about it.
I don’t want to become content with being a messy Christian that looks like they’ve just rolled out of bed. I want my heart to ache when I notice something that is breaking the heart of the Lord. I want to lose sleep over a sin in my life. I want to weep at the feet of Jesus saying, “Okay, I see it. Tell me what to do next so I can change.” I want the mirror of the Word to actually change me.
We should be worried about our appearance. Now when I say appearance, I hope you aren’t thinking in a physical sense. I’m speaking about a heart issue. We should worry about the appearance of our heart. What is buried in it? What is overwhelming it? It could be lots of things; lust, anxiety, anger, addiction, you name it. But is it buried and rooted in Christ?
If you look back a few verses in James 1, James writes, “Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls” (James 1:21 ESV). The implanted word. Implanted. The Word of God should be so rooted in your heart that it takes over. That it motivates you not just to hear, but to do.
What are you hearing the Spirit and the Word tell you? Are you changing it? Are you doing it? Or are you walking away and forgetting? Be challenged, friends. Let’s go out, remember what we’re hearing and seeing, and do something about it.