But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror.For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing (James 1.22-25)
When there is only a cursory attention paid to God’s interpretation of things, then you will not remember God’s interpretation of things. The result is that you will be completely out of step with how to interpret things.
- You can’t see life right.
- You can’t see people right.
- You can’t see your feelings right.
- You can’t see your purpose right.
- You forget what you are like, without Christ.
You forget. Because you are not taking care to look closely into the mirror. You are so unlike a teenager on Friday night— you’re not looking to see how things really look.
You can only know that through the mirror of the Word of God.
But when you do look intently at the Word, you find that it is gives clarity to you.
And when you get a clear view of yourself and all of life in this mirror, then you can have liberty. The word becomes this law or principle of liberty. You are confident, because you have seen the way things really are in the Word. You are at liberty because you know what is true, what is not.
God promises that persevering in the Word in this way makes your “Word-ward” life lived in an outward way. This is evidence of grace. It is evidence of God’s blessing upon you. That is James’ beatitude here. “You will be ‘blessed’ in your doing’.
There is a blog run by a group of Australian Anglicans called the Sola Panel. It is a wordplay on the fact that we are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone for God’s glory alone. All of those ‘alones’ in Latin are the ‘Solas’. So they call it the Sola Panel.
But isn’t that what Christians do? They look into the Sola Panel of God’s Word and what do they see? The blinding radiance of the Glory of God!
The heat, and brilliance and power and energy of God the Son is emblazoned before our eyes in the Word of God, the Scriptures, this great reflective mirror.
And when we gaze at it, something miraculous happens. We become a mirror. We become a reflector of the glory of God. And we join in the church with so many other reflectors so that we may cover the earth with Word of God, written, as Paul says, “not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.(2 Cor 3.3).
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. (2Cor3.18)
The Christian lives like a walking IPad with a constant streaming of God’s Word for all to see and read.
As Spurgeon said of John Bunyan, “this man is a living Bible! Prick him anywhere—his blood is Bibline, the very essence of the Bible flows from him. He cannot speak without quoting a text, for his very soul is full of the Word of God. I commend his example to you, beloved.”
So if we are confused by how things appear in our world, all it takes is another look in the mirror –the mirror of God’s Word.