Have you ever had a morning when your alarm did not go off on time? You woke from a dead sleep and realized that you were going to be late for a very important meeting. You jumped out of bed … threw water on your face and made a mad dash for the car. As you were driving to make your appointment, the thought crossed your mind … did I comb my hair?
I don’t know that this is a good illustration, because I cannot believe that someone would actually leave their home without checking out what they looked like in the mirror. I have seen women putting on all their make-up in bumper-to-bumper traffic before using their rearview mirror as a make-up mirror. We tend to be very concerned about our outward appearance today. James used this illustration to drive home a strong point today.
“For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was” (James 1:23-24). James challenged us in verse 22 to not simply listen to the Words from God, but to take action and do them. Today he follows that thought up with the idea that listening without action is like a person who looks at themselves in a mirror but turns away not paying attention to what they looked like.
My wife is famous for allowing me to walk around in public with my hair going all the wrong ways. After about a few minutes among other people, she gestures to me to fix my hair. When I find out about my awkward appearance, I always ask her why it took her so long to tell me! None of us wants to be seen in public with an inappropriate face, or hair! James uses an example to which all of us can relate. As much as I don’t want to go out in public looking awkward, I certainly don’t want to read in my Bible what I am supposed to do and then ignore it.
We are concerned about our outward appearance. We ought to be equally concerned about how our inner man looks when compared to the Word of God. I want my life to match the truths of the Bible. I want my behavior to demonstrate that I spend time with God, and that time is affecting me. I don’t want to read my Bible and go into my day having forgotten everything I have read. I don’t want to go to church and make an emotional decision, and then do nothing to change going forward. It is not good to forget what you saw in the mirror. It is equally horrible to see yourself on the pages of your Bible and do nothing about it! Check out how you look in the Bible!