Sunday, April 5, 2009

The face in the mirror

Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.
–James 1:23, 24 (NIV)

This verse came to shouted at me one morning recently as I finished up my Bible reading. The cares of the world were already infiltrating my thoughts, and I felt as though I had been studying the Word in vain. I had to approach the Lord all over again and ask for forgiveness.

What does it mean to forget what one looks like?

It's absurd. The only time I didn't recognize myself was after I got contacts and looked at myself in the mirror the first time. I had only seen myself in glasses for most of my life. I think one would have to be literally blind to not know oneself.

It's sad. Being uncertain about one's identity can be heart-wrenching.

It's careless. I am not promoting vanity here, but not being familiar with one's appearance may say something about character. Maybe it's a lack of organization, lack of attention, or lack of purpose.

I believe that the Living Word often works in our hearts undetected. We don't always experience an emotional or otherwise conscious reaction. Yet when we test our hearts, I believe we will find evidence as to whether or not the Word has taken hold.

The passage in James is talking about action. Good deeds testify about one's faith. We could also talk about bearing fruit. But there are also simple commands in the Bible such as casting all our cares upon Him. Surely this also is an act of obedience, and a starting point for other acts of faith. If I can't emerge from my prayer closet with an attitude of trust, perhaps I haven't paid attention very well to what I've just read in the Bible.


  1. Hey! I'm sorry that we couldn't spend much time together. It was a little intense in St. Pete. I hope that I will get to get to know you more if God sees fit to bring me in there this year!

  2. Oh well, it was nice to meet you in person, albeit briefly. I'll look forward to reading about your impressions.


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