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 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 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 1:22-27
For our post-wedding wrap up, Terri and I got some Indian food and sat at a park table in Mt. Vernon alongside the Skagit river. We were there with a young theology graduate student discussing the discipleship and following Jesus. He posed a question to us, asking us about those defining life moments that impacted our growth in Christ. My wife made one of those statements that caught all of our attention. She reflected on a moment in time at 21 years old when she made a life altering decision. She said she had a picture in her heart of who she wanted to become. She said to herself – “This is who I am, but this is who I am going to become!” That sparked our conversation about the difference between the those two questions of “Who am I,” (something so many people are trying to figure out in our day) and “Who am I going to become.”
It reminded me of the verse above that is found in the book of James. Before we dive into the vets, first let’s talk a little bit about mirrors. In the ancient world, mirrors would be made of either polished silver, bronze or gold. They are not unlike the ones we have today in quality, except that in antiquity they were a highly prized and valuable possession.
Many of the mirrors at that time were decorated with images of Greek gods like Eros, the god of desire or Aphrodite, the goddess of beauty and love. Mirrors were a bit of a status symbol and considered to be one of the most precious object one could own during the first century.
The Apostle James uses the illustration of a mirror to highlight an important question. Are you applying the valuable tool of God’s Word as a hearer, or doer? Putting it another way, are you a casual “glancer in the mirror of God’s Word” or are you taking the time for a comprehensive review. It touches on the questions of “who am I” and “who am I becoming!” Am I going to look intently into the mirror and see that I was created in God’s image? Will I see someone who is loved or someone who is striving for love? Will I act upon God’s word and becoming more like Jesus? Maybe, as I look into this mirror I will see someone who encourages others or is an advocate for the less fortunate and the hurting? I could be someone who listens or is a shoulder to cry on, or someone who is an answer to a prayer. Maybe I can see myself as a friend and a good neighbor? Am I becoming someone who is more like Jesus because I am willing to look into the mirror of God’s Word? Who do I long to see in that mirror as I move forward in God’s plans for my life?
During these next few days, let’s remember that we all need to make a daily decision to look into the mirror and not forget who we are becoming as we pursue Christ and choose to live a life in the Spirit.