James 1:22-25 (NLT)
22 But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. 23 For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. 24 You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. 25 But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.
Be doers of the word and not only hearers, deceiving yourselves.
Because if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man looking at his own face in a mirror. For he looks at himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.
But the one who looks intently into the perfect law of freedom and perseveres in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but one who does good works—this person will be blessed in what he does.
We look in a mirror and we see ourselves.
Ears, lips, nose, neck, eyes.
Sometimes, all we see is our flaws.
Uncle Henry’s ears. Aunt Millie’s nose. Not quite symmetrical. Not quite perfect.
Sometimes, we see our ideal.
Brad Pitt’s chin. Angelina Jolie’s lips. Almost perfect. Nearly beautiful.
But neither imperfections or ideals is truth. We have a hard time seeing ourselves just as we are.
Just as we are made. Just as he sees us. Just as he saw himself, the image of the invisible God, reflected in the still places along the river.
Ears, lips, nose, neck, eyes.
- He had ears – that really listened. Not just waiting for a silence to fill, but hearing. Patient. Understanding.
- He had lips – that smiled, knowing the difference between just talking and actually saying something. Whispering or shouting as needed.
- He had a nose – that sniffed out trouble. Sniffing out the hurt, the lack, the fear, the lonely, drawing him toward, not away. Sniffing out hypocrisy, pretension, and lies.
- He had a neck – strong, but never stiff. Always stretching to see beyond the immediate, and beyond the stars. And bending to work and to pray, in compassion and in humility.
- He had eyes – deep, bright, warm, embracing, looking through the surface to the truth. Seeing the eternal beneath the skin. Seeing the beauty beneath the brokenness.
Jesus is the mirror that the Father holds up for you. The mirror the Spirit polishes and refines in you.
The mirror that commands us to, more and more everyday, reflect God’s image into the world.
He is the mirror that we so quickly turn away from, forgetting what we look like.
So our prayer must be this:
Teach us to look at ourselves and at you. To look honestly.
Show us where we have been deaf.
Show us where we have been silent.
Show us where we have failed to face corruption.
Show us where we’ve been proud or stubborn.
Show us where we’ve chosen darkness, and ignored the light.
Show us what we look like. Don’t ever let us turn away. Don’t ever let us forget.
~ Ruth Wilkinson