Words, Bible and Books as Mirrors
Verses 23-24 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.
We talked yesterday about how we need to act upon what we believe but we need to go a little deeper to understand why this is so important and how we are to move toward the changes we need to make.
While we know that we should be applying what we have heard to our lives it is easier said than done. Some of that is because of the lack of intentionality with which we listen to the Word preached and some of it is because we don’t let it sink in far enough to last. Like the person who looks in the mirror and walks away forgetting what their image looked like, we tend to sit and listen and then forget to take what we have heard out of the pew with us.
If we are honest with ourselves that is exactly what happens, isn’t it? We sit there listening and then after the closing prayer and songs we leave the sanctuary and leave what we have heard there. Or we read our daily Bible passage and maybe even a devotional and then as soon as the books are closed we are off thinking about the next thing on our agenda. We feel good about ourselves because we are doing what we know we need to do but we miss the most vital point of our time with God.
Knowing this about ourselves we need to do some intentional thinking about what we want to take away from our time learning from the Word. If we are truly wanting to gain a deeper relationship with the Father, we need to not leave His words to us in the sanctuary or in the books we have just read. That means that we should be intentionally spending the time of teaching trying to learn what He wants us to learn.
James uses a mirror as an illustration to help us how easy it is to forget what we have just seen. The Word is the mirror to our soul. The purpose of the Word and its teaching is so that we see the flaws in our lives just as we would if we looked in the mirror and found broccoli in our teeth. We don’t ignore the issue of our physical looks in the mirror, so why do we not immediately address the issue the mirror of the Word reveals about our spiritual life? When we are convicted during a service we need to be purposeful about making a note to continue processing it past the final amen. We need to stop leaving what we have learned behind. We can’t act upon what don’t remember.
Making It Personal
When was the last time that you have felt convicted during a time of listening to preaching or reading the Bible? What did you do with the conviction? What steps can you take to make sure you take the message you hear with you?
Making It Personal Kids
Why is hearing the Bible preached or read important? What is something that you have felt like you needed to change because of hearing something from the Bible? Are you going to listen more intently to the sermon next Sunday and the Bible when dad or mom reads it to you?
Father, thank You for teaching us how important the Bible is to our spiritual growth. Please help us learn to listen so we can apply it to our lives. In Jesus’ name, amen.