The Man in the Mirror

ďDo 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 the 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.Ē

Itís not uncommon during the week to take a look in the mirror to see how we look. It may be before we go out to work in the morning; it may be if we are leaving the house to go and do something; or it may be that we are going for an evening out and want to look our best. Whatever the reason, it isnít unusual. I would suggest there are many ways in which we can take a look in the mirror at our physical appearance. However, here are 3 ways which I looked at recently.

  1. We can have a quick glance in the mirror, and perhaps miss something that needs changing.
  2. We may see something that needs to be changed, but we panic and just leave, hoping that no one will notice.
  3. We look carefully, and make the changes that need to be made.

Here in James, the analogy of a man examining his appearance in the mirror is used to demonstrate the need for examining our hearts in the Word. James tells us that the Word of God is the mirror, and that when we hear the Word or when we read the Word, changes may need to be made. However, it is vital that we are hearing and reading the Word, and doing so intently, so that we can see the areas in our lives that we need to bring to God in order that the changes can be made.

  1. When we hear the Word or when we read the Word, do we give it a quick glance? Those who Ďgloss overí the Word, and who donít look with intent will miss out on the changes that need to be made. Sometimes we merely take a glance, under the assumption that all is well. My encouragement would be that we donít fall into a habit of just taking a glance and missing out on something that needs to be changed. Have a proper look!
  2. When we have a careful look, and when we look with intent, the Holy Spirit may point out something that needs to change. There are two options here. We can either bring it before God and allow him to make the change; or we can panic and run-off, hoping that no one will notice. In a sermon that I heard not too long ago, it was said ďThe Holy Spirit comes to convict, the enemy comes to condemn. The conviction of the Holy Spirit brings us closer to God, the condemnation of the enemy takes us away from God.Ē When the Holy Spirit, through the Word, shows us an area in our lives that needs to be changed, itís not a bad thing! And if we choose to make the change it will make us more Christ-like and bring us closer to God. Thatís not to say it will always be easy! It wonít! However, it will always be for our good.

So let me encourage you: be in the Word, hear the Word, have a look with intent and make the changes that need to be made. John 15:1-2 says ďI (Jesus) am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.Ē It is then very clear in the next verses that we need to remain in the true vine (Jesus).

If the Holy Spirit, through the Word, points out something that needs to be changed or as it says here in John 15, pruned, it doesnít mean youíre not fruitful... it just means God wants to make you more fruitful! And why? John 15:8 says ďThis is to my Fatherís glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.Ē

Letís be those that spend time giving self examination in the Word, but do it with intent. Letís be those that are open to allowing the Word of God to change us where changes need to be made. Letís not be hardened to allowing God to prune us from time to time to cut off anything that is waste - he only wants to make us more fruitful. And letís remember, that as the branches, it is vital that at all times, we remain in the vine - the true vine - Jesus!

When we do, we will bear much fruit... and it will be to the Fatherís glory.

Richard Cowling




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