But be doers of the Word [obey the message], and not merely listeners to it, betraying yourselves. For if anyone listens to the Word without obeying it and being a doer of it, He is like a man who looks carefully at his [own] natural face in a mirror. For he thoughtfully observes himself, and then goes off and promptly forgets what he was like.
James 1:22-24 AMPC
Imagine you’re in the office, and then someone walks in with a very big, very conspicuous hole in the front of their shirt. You look at the person and ask, “Is this how you left your house?” If the person says yes, the next question you’ll probably ask is, “don’t you have a mirror?”
It is expected that everyone looks into a mirror while dressing up, and if there’s a problem with their outfit, they fix it before leaving the house. Wouldn’t it be silly to look into the mirror, see that your shirt has a hole and then walk away and forget about the hole without doing anything?
Mirrors are very important, but the thing is, a mirror can only help us if we act on what we see. For example, if you see that your hair is out of place, you comb it. If you just walk away without fixing the problem, the purpose of the mirror is defeated.
In our verse of focus today, the writer compares those who listen to the Word without obeying what it says to a person who looks at a mirror but then walks away without making any change.
As we read and hear the Word of God, we are to be transformed by it; we don’t just read it for fun or to pass time, we read it to be built up into the people He has called us to be. (See 2 Cor 3:18).
Hearing the Word of God without allowing it to transform you is a form of self-deception.
“Every part of scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another- showing us the truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way. Through the Word, we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us.” (2 Tim 3:16-17 MSG).
As we read the Word, with the help of the Holy Spirit we look into our lives and identify the things that do not line up, and then we adjust accordingly.
What is the end result of this?
“But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does” (Jam 1:25 NKJV).