Journeying through James 1:22-24 – Reflecting the Word

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

I know it’s hard to look in the mirror sometimes and see something beautiful, and see a redeemed, holy and righteous person. After all we fail, we fall short – we do things we don’t want to do, no one knows better than you the height of your struggles and pain. We might even be able to look back and see regrets of things we didn’t do, or things we wanted to do better. It’s easy to allow our lives to be run by something other than the image God has for us in Christ. God is calling you to see that your identity humanly speaking is fragile and inadequate, but God’s given you another identity in Christ.

Notice the power that James places in the Word of God. He’s basically saying that if you hear it and retain it, God works through it in your life. This is exactly what Jesus taught: “The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life” (John 6:63, NIV).

When James says, “after looking at himself” (v24). The “self” is not your sinful self, but rather a reflection of who God is. A mirror is only a reflection, but when you’re reflecting on God’s Word, there’s an effectual power associated with it.

The 10 commandments, for example, are a reflection of what God wants people to look like. God’s not embarrassed by His commandments. He thinks that what good people should look like; furthermore, He wants to give you power to keep them. That one really amazing thing—God is able to do that; it’s part of our identity in Christ. God’s glory is first that he forgives us because of Christ’s sacrifice, and secondly that He’s given us a new identity in Christ. “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21, NIV).

Holiness is quite simply God’s person and power living inside of us, and the miraculous thing James is saying is that this transformation happens by hearing the Word of God!