Anyone who listens to the Word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.” James 1:23
How can that be? How could someone forget what he or she looks like? We all spend a fair amount of time in front of a mirror grooming, and perhaps being disappointed our hair is not cooperating the way it should, or a new wrinkle has popped up near our eyes, or a blemish is surfacing. But that is not the image I think James is talking about.
We are supposed to be Christ’s image to the world. He is to be reflected in us. We are to mirror His actions and teachings. That is what James means by not just merely listening to the Word, but doing it. If we just hear Scripture and not take it to heart and put it into action, we are forgetting who we are in Christ. When we concentrate too much on our outward appearance, we become too self conscious to step outside of ourselves and reach out to others. Those negative thoughts of “what will they think?” or “I am not good enough, strong enough, smart enough, pretty enough etc” creep in. We have forgotten what we look like to the world when we allow Christ to shine through us. And we walk away, shrinking from the task.
But when we forget we are having a bad hair day or there is a zit on our forehead or a new wrinkle around our eyes, and concentrate on helping the other person, then Christ’s beauty is free to shine through. We reflect the beauty of His love and mercy. That is what they see. Paul said now we look through a mirror darkly, but when we get to Heaven we will see God face to face. Even so, Christ’s light can shine through us and we can see others as Christ would see them. And those people , in turn, can see Christ mirrored in us.
Let your light so shine before others that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven. Matthew 5:16