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The Mirror of God's Word

James 1:22-25 likens reading our Bibles to looking in a mirror: “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.”

How do we make this mirror work best? Like any other mirror. . .

Keep it handy. Why do home builders always mount a large mirror in every bathroom? They know we will want to take a good look every day. If we need frequent looks to check our physical appearance, how much more do we need constant checks on the spiritual side of things! Keep your Bible handy—whether in electronic or paper format—so that you can consult it whenever the opportunity arises.

Keep it all visible. Steam from a shower often fogs the mirror. Sometimes we clear only a small section, just enough to see a little part of ourselves. When looking at our image in the light of God’s word, we need to see the whole picture. Read all the different sections. Look at yourself from a variety of angles.

Keep it clean. It is hard to get a clear picture looking at a dirty mirror. Smudges obscure what we see. God’s word can be “smudged” by our prejudices, our personal preferences, or by human reasoning. We must look at it as honestly and objectively as possible to see what it actually reveals, not what we wish it showed.

Keep it intact. Who would destroy a mirror because they didn’t like their looks? Some actually do that with their Bibles! Someone showed me one just recently with a few pages torn out. While few people would go that far, the effect is the same when we refuse to read the Bible because we don’t like what it says. Of course, the word remains constant, regardless of our reaction to it.

Finally there is James’s point: make the changes it calls for. What’s the point of looking at a mirror if we won’t address the problems it points out?

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