“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 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. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 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 1:22-25 ESV)
I love the mental image this verse conjures up in my mind – the image of looking at my reflection in a mirror. It speaks to the perspective we should adopt as we open up God’s Word.
Whenever I look into a mirror, I am focused on my outward appearance. Do I need to shave or comb my hair? Did I cut myself shaving this morning? Is anything hanging out of my nose?
When we peer into God’s Word, we should think of it as a mirror into our inner appearance. Do my thoughts and attitudes reflect the heart of God as revealed in the Scriptures? Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. (NIV)
Instead, all too often I tend you use God’s Word as a magnifying glass through which I look to judge everyone around me. From time to time this has led to a few caustic comments on social media which I quickly came to regret when they led to unfruitful and contentious discussions. Such encounters rarely change opinions, but they sometimes fracture relationships.
2 Timothy 2:23-24 wisely counsels us, “Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.” (NIV)
In this day when the widespread use of social media impacts so many of our relationships, we would all be wise to heed Paul’s advice to Timothy. And as we read God’s Word, we should be more mindful of the logs in our own eyes as revealed by Scripture and less focused on the specks in the eyes of others. (Matthew 7:5)
“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. (Colossians 4:6 NIV)