After I wrote about faith without works being dead, Val wrote from James 1:22-25. I'm going to paraphrase:
Don't just listen to the words from the Bible. And don't just read them. Put the words into practice. Otherwise you're like a woman who looks at her face in the mirror and then immediately forgets what she looks like.That totally resonates with me. I picture myself a certain way. In that image, I'm about 35 so there aren't any wrinkles. In those days I hardly ever wore makeup--except for mascara. My hair is much blonder than it is now. I weigh about 15 pounds less than what the scale says now.
And then I look in the mirror and the image is a little disconcerting. I see a woman who is several years older than the picture I have in my mind, and she weighs more than I'm comfortable with. She needs a haircut, but is too lazy or too cheap or too busy to go get one. I see spots and wrinkles. I think, "She needs to start eating better. She needs to exercise. She needs to get her hair cut. Maybe colored."
And then I walk away, and I forget all of that. I don't eat better. I don't exercise. I don't call and make an appointment to get my hair cut. And if I bothered to put on lipstick before I left the mirror, I don't reapply even though I know it's worn off.
In the same way, when we hear a sermon or participate in a deep discussion in our Life Groups, when we encounter God's presence in worship, when we read God's Word, the Holy Spirit often reveals things about ourselves that we aren't comfortable with. Perhaps he convicts us of sin. Maybe spending too much. Or watching too much T.V. Or lack of forgiveness. Or being unkind or unloving.
And we confess our sin. We beg forgiveness, and we walk away, ready to change. But then we forget. And we don't change. Kind of like the way I always mean to exercise, but I don't. If I could see the image in the mirror all the time, I would definitely have motivation to change!
Sometimes the fact that I know I've failed to exercise or eat right means I don't WANT to look into the mirror. At that point, even more things don't get taken care of. Maybe I don't pluck my eyebrows. Or take my makeup off at night. Make sure my clothes look okay. You get the idea--if I never look into the mirror because I don't like what I see, I don't take care of things that need taken care of.
And so I want to take this metaphor back to the passage. James 1:24 tells us that we will be blessed when we look intently into God's perfect law (the Bible) that gives freedom and also put the ideas into practice. The more time we spend in God's Word, the more God's Spirit equips us to live what we see there.
Val wrote this: