Sermon Illustrations - Tag: James 1:23
Posted by Douglas on Feb 16, 2006

Every morning when I get up I go through all my morning rituals: a cup of coffee, a shower and (occasionally) shave, and maybe a bowl of cereal or a couple slices of toast. And before I set foot out of my house, I've looked at my mirror once or twice to make sure everything looks okay (or, at least, as well as can be expected!).

I suspect we all have similar rituals. I wonder, though, how often we think about the fact that we have a spiritual mirror as well! James tells us: 

1:23For 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.24For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.James 1:23-24 (ESV)

So how much time do you spend in front of the spiritual mirror, the word of God? After all, if we wouldn't leave the house without checking our physical appearance, should we leave without checking out how we're doing spiritually?

Understanding God's word as a mirror changes how we view it in several ways.

First, we cease to read God's word thinking, "Oh, so-and-so needs to hear that." Because what we are really doing is looking in a mirror expecting to see someone else's reflection there. No, when we look into God's word we see our own reflection; that is how God designed His word.

Second, we stop reading God's word with the thought "yawn...I've read this before." Just as a mirror is unchanging, but gives us a different reflection every time we look in it, so God's word is utterly unchanging, yet still reflects back to us something different depending on our spiritual need. It is no wonder Hebrews calls the word "living and active"!

Finally, when we read something in God's word, we do something about what we see there. We would not look into the mirror, find a hair out of place, and do nothing about it. So we shouldn't ignore what we see in God's word. James says if we ignore what the mirror tells us, and do nothing about it, we are simply fooling ourselves.

In the corner of the mirror in my bathroom there is a little slip of paper, which reminds me every morning: "This mirror only shows my physical appearance!" To deal with my spiritual appearance, I need a different mirror altogether.

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