Mirrors are a wonderful thing. They allow us to make sure our hair is in place, our clothes look good, and our face is clean. They save us from the potentially embarrassing situation of appearing in public with some defect in our appearance.
In James 1 the author compares Scripture to a mirror. He warns against the foolish mistake of looking into the mirror of God’s Word and not making the necessary changes to the blemishes the mirror reveals. James paints the image of a person who looks at himself in the mirror and notices all sorts of issues with his appearance. But then, surprisingly, he simply goes away and does not correct any of those blemishes. He leaves his hair as a mess, doesn’t wash the dirt off his face, and doesn’t even remove the piece of spinach stuck between his two front teeth. This person is compared to someone who hears God’s Word but does not respond in obedience to its commands.
Elsewhere in Scripture, we read of the importance of hearing from God’s Word. In Acts 2 the early church was devoted to faithfully and consistently hearing the Word taught. In Acts 17 the Bereans are noted for their careful examination of Scripture and use of it as a filter for ideas and teaching. In Psalm 119 the author repeatedly celebrates the benefits of memorizing, studying, and teaching God’s Word.
But if we only hear it, and do not obey it, James says we deceive ourselves. We are deceived into thinking that God is pleased with just our knowledge. He wants us to not only study and memorize His Word, But He also wants us to obey it.
And so, we must examine Scripture like the Bereans in Acts 17. But then we must also allow it to examine us. Allow God’s Word to point out areas in which we need to grow. And then be reminded of the faithfulness and love God and His power that is available to us to live a life of obedience.
Take time today to devote yourself to His Word. As you do, ask what God is saying to you in this passage. But don’t stop there. Then ask Him what you need to do in response.