“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.” – James 1: 22-25
(photo courtesy of: luxuryworld.in via google images)
Have you ever woke up late and fly through your routine, take a quick glance in the mirror and run out the door? Then, you arrive at work/school/family dinner, and catch a glance of yourself in the mirror and realize you forgot to zip your zipper or button your blouse or comb your cowlick down.
How do you react?
I can tell you how I react, “Dang! Well, I’ll own it because I didn’t pay attention the first time.” Then, I walk in ready to share the excuses as to why I look so bad.
This is what James was speaking of in the verses above. When we hear the word, or Jesus, and don’t let them influence the way we live or act in this world, then we end up in the scenario I just described.
The world is looking for people who are living the gospel out, not just dressing the part. When you walked out the door, you might have thought you looked alright, but what is the rest of the world seeing when you show up?
Think about that. We are called to reflect Christ in every aspect of our life, but when we choose to lash out in anger; cuss someone out; flip the bird; gossip; or glare at someone in judgment; then we forgot what we’ve been taught.
Now, I’m not talking about a slip of the tongue once or twice or being caught at a moment of weakness, but I am speaking about consistently being someone that people wonder where your faith goes after Sunday.
How often do we look at ourselves in the mirror? How often do we wonder if we are looking alright?
James is encouraging the reader of his letter to constantly check their reflection. Sometimes, we might need a friend to check over our image and let us know if our “outfit” looks good.
If we can’t control our anger, be kind to people, care for those in need, bring peace into our community, and/or serve those in need without judgment, then maybe we need to check what we’re looking like.
The reality is, it is hard to reconcile faith in Jesus with treating people harshly, spewing hate, speaking with anger, and/or putting yourself above others.
If you don’t know how you look, just ask. People will tell you. The best person to ask might be your spouse, your siblings, or even your kids (if you have any). Let’s face it, this group of people won’t hold back if you open yourself up like that.
We need to make sure we aren’t showing up on Sunday and looking good, then running out the door thinking we look fine, but the world sees bed-head and socks that don’t match.
We need to live out the faith we claim, so we never look in the mirror later and ask “Is that what I look like?”
QUESTION: Do you have anyone you can ask how you look? Are you willing to be that vulnerable?