Thursday, September 6, 2007

James 1:19-27: Right Actions

"Be not only hearers of the word, deceiving yourselves, but do what it says." ~ James 1:22

James challenges his audience: "Do you believe God's Word can transform your life or not?" Of course so! Yet, in the stillness of our hearts, we have doubts. These doubts can infect our actions and poison our relationships. In these verses, James names some the malign fruits of doubt: anger (v.20), moral filth (v.21), a loose tongue (v.26), and looking into a mirror and forgetting what you look like (v.24).

The last metaphor is peculiarly apt. A mirror doesn't hide or conceal anything; rather, it faithfully reflects your image back at you. This has two fateful implications. First, we have to acknowledge the sin in our lives. If I have a pimple on my nose, the mirror is going to show it every time, no matter how I try to wish it away. Second, looking in a mirror reminds us that we are daughters and sons of God, made in His likeness (Gen 1:27). Zits or no, we can't deny that we have a Maker who loves us, knows our hearts, and wants to enter into fellowship with us.

Hearing is meaningless without acting. If I'm driving down a highway, and I hear over the AM radio that there's an accident ten miles ahead, I'm going to plan an alternate route. No sensible driver would keep going and get stuck in traffic. But with something infinitely more meaningful - the ultimate end of our sould - we have God's Word and His creation to warn us to take a new path, but we persist in our sin down the road that leads to death.

Praise be to God and his Son, Jesus, that with your Spirit we can "humbly accepted the word planted in you, which can save you" (v.21)!

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