True Reflections in God’s Mirror

by Jeff Smith

We go to great lengths to make sure we are always presentable before others. Many of us spend literal hours in front of a mirror, making sure each detail is in proper order. Do we care as much about our “real” presentation? Consider the passage in Jas. 1:22-25 in light of this notion.

After admonishing us to be doers of the word and not hearers only (v. 22), James compares one who hears but doesn’t do to a man who looks at his reflection in a mirror and then walks away, forgetting what kind of man he is (vv. 23-24).

The lesson is obvious. Such is a man who hears the word of God but doesn’t think it applies to him (that is the reason why he doesn’t do what he hears). So, upon walking away from God’s “mirror” he thinks himself to be all right, forgetting what he saw as his need for improvement. We’ve all seen this person around or, God forbid, maybe even have become this man. Always thinking of someone else who better be listening when the word is preached, or thinking “someone ought to do that” when a suggestion is made. If this describes us, then we have truly deceived ourselves (v. 22).

James then contrasts such a pitiful man to the one who does what he hears. He concludes that such a one “will be blessed in what he does” (v. 25). However, notice how this man is described. The one who does what he hears is the one who “looks into the perfect law of liberty” or the gospel of Christ. Upon seeing his real reflection, he makes the necessary changes (this is the doing of what he hears). He has not forgotten what kind of man he is. He knows who he is…a sinner in need of salvation (Rom. 3:23). This look is not just a quick glimpse, never to look again. Such a one who looks in this way “continues in it” (v. 25). There is no vanity here. Just the recognized need to continually pattern his life after what he sees. In short, he obeys what he hears.

So, have you checked your mirror? Do you remember what you saw? What reflection was there? God help us all to not be content with what we see in ourselves that is not good and make the necessary changes to please Him.

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