Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Man in the Mirror

{The ladies at Good Morning Girls are hosting Women in the Word Wednesdays. This is lovely timing as I am excited to share something I’ve been learning from our study in James.}

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 kind of man he is.
--James 1:22-24

The analogy of a man forgetting his face once he walks away from a mirror has always amused me because I tend to be just that forgetful. I will see something and walk away and immediately forget what I just saw. Unfortunately, because it made me laugh, I never considered the implications of the analogy. But, when I prop this metaphorical mirror up next to the word of God, as they say on HGTV, things start to “Pop!”

Perhaps the most interesting angle here is the idea that the word of God reveals, even shapes, what kind of person you are.
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
--Hebrews 4:12
Consider those moments in your life when God’s word pierced your heart and you thought, “This is huge, how can I ever be the same person after this moment?” 

Then you walk away from the mirror...and you forget what kind of person you are.

 But it doesn't have to be this way.

Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?"
--Acts 2:37
“What shall we do?”

This is the question that ought to be on our lips when we hear that piercing word. What's the answer? I can't tell you that, but listen to what these people did,
And Peter said to them, "Repent,"...And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.
--Acts 2:42-45
"What shall we do?"


A word is an intangible thing; a thought or an idea is only powerful so far as it is applied. Without action, a word dissipates and, like the image of a man in the mirror, it is forgotten over time. This isn’t a new idea, we have a thousand proverbs testifying to it, “actions speak louder than words,” “a picture paints a thousand words,” “talk is cheap.”

In the Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Holmes reveals to Dr. Watson that he actually has brother who is much more brilliant than himself yet is unknown because he, well, he never does anything.
"I said that he was my superior in observation and deduction. If the art of the detective began and ended in reasoning from an arm-chair, my brother would be the greatest criminal agent that ever lived. But he has no ambition and no energy…”
--Sherlock Holmes, The Greek Interpreter
All of his intellect and skill was meaningless and utterly forgettable, because it never became more than a thought; it may as well have been imagined. 

While you consider that, here's another idea: the salvation of man wasn't complete until the Word was made flesh.

So, how do you incarnate the word of God? How do you solidify a vaporous thought? How do you cement the image of yourself in your memory so that, when you walk away from the mirror, you won’t forget who you are?

You do that by doing.

In order to make something “real,” I have to be able to see it, to test it and experience it.

I do that by doing.
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.
--James 1:25
Do something.

--Sarah Elizabeth

P.S. If you are finding yourself asking the question, “What shall I do?” consider sponsoring a child with Compassion International. It's not everything, but it's something.


  1. So glad to hear that you are enjoying Good Morning Girls! I love how you ended your post with asking the readers to do something! Its so important for us to move from just taking in the gospel to actually putting it into action! Enjoyed reading your post tonight! :)

    Love God Greatly!

  2. Thanks Angela, you can't read through James without hearing this exhortation, yet so often myself, I don't "put skin" on it.

    Thanks for stopping by!
    Sarah Elizabeth