Looking into the Mirror
“For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was” (James 1:23-24).
We so often think that the Bible speaks only to unbelievers, but the Bible is speaking to believers. You have to ask yourself, how can a person who believes in the One True Living God and who claims to be redeemed forget who he is? According to statistics by the Barna group in 2017, 38% of people who believe that the Bible is inspired by God and without error read their Bibles less than 4 times a week; and 20% of those who believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God, but has some errors, also read their Bibles only 4 times a week or less. So if you take into account Sunday service and maybe a Bible study during the week, the average Christian is only reading their Bible somewhere from two times a week or less to not at all on their own. That is a sad scenario when you think that we are supposed to take the Word of God and hide it in our hearts (Psalm 119:11), that this law of the Lord which is now supposed to be written on our hearts (Hebrews 10:16), is not really written on our hearts. And so then you must come to the conclusion that if we do not have the word of God in our mouths (Romans 10:8) , because it is not in our hearts, then how can we live it out? It now becomes easy to forget who we are, for out of the heart the mouth speaks (Luke 6:45). Our heart is like a well. We fill it up with the Word of God and from this well we draw all day, every day. John 7:38 tells us, “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” It is not good enough that we believe in God. James 2:19 tells us, “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.”
Today we live in a world where people are not only divided, but modern technology has caused us to have conversations hiding behind a veil. Social media makes it easier for us to speak our minds, and we do not have to face those we are accusing or criticizing. Today we can donate money right on our phones or online, and we can stay away from those who are hurting. It is easier today than ever to forget who you are. There are so many voices out there that we can easily be deceived. So how do we not forget who we are? We must be involved. We must put feet and hands to our faith. James 2:18, “But someone will say, ‘You have faith; I have deeds.’ Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.” Yeshua (Jesus) went about doing good. He is our example. We must follow in His footsteps. We must be as He is. Then we will not, we cannot, forget who we are, for we are to be Christ-like…Christians!
I think that the place that we should be the most Christ-like is at our places of worship and yet, unfortunately, that is the place that we are at our worst. We so often have our cliques and groups, and when new people come or others want to join in on your group they are not always received. Deacons and their wives so many times are considered the elite in the church along with the pastor and his wife. Church leaders in ministries also are included in this special group. James 2:1-4 tells us this: “My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Messiah Yeshua must not show favoritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, ‘Here’s a good seat for you,’ but say to the poor man, ‘You stand there’ or ‘Sit on the floor by my feet,’ have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?”
If we have this attitude in our congregations, then we also have this same attitude toward others in our daily lives. James 2:14-17 tells us, “What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” So often, people think that there is no one in their congregations that is in need or hurting. This is especially true in a wealthier or middle-class congregation. But this is not true. Anyone can fall on hard times, even if it is for the moment. We need to open our eyes and ears to the people around us, even our neighbors and our family. People don’t tell us everything that is going on in their lives. That is why so many people commit suicide, and the people around them didn’t even know that they were going through a problem. As people of God we need to pray for people and let God direct us to people who need our help. God tells us even to help our enemy or even those that may not believe like us. James 2:8-13 says, “If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself,’ you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. For He who said, ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ also said, ‘You shall not murder.’ If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker. Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment.’
Let us always keep the Word of God before us, so that we are always looking into not only the mirror of God’s Word (which we should be a reflection of), but we will also will be looking into the window of God’s Word which allows us the opportunity every day and every moment to put our faith into practice. Make an investment into a life, into a soul, and your dividends will return to you a blessing that you will not be able to contain. Luke 6:38 tells us this: “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Next time you look into the mirror of God’s Word, quickly look out the window and see how you can put it into practice.