March 4 I Wednesday
“Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.” —James 1:23-24
The Bible certainly nourishes us and gives us seeds of truth to sow into the lives of others, but it is also a source of rebuke and correction for the believer. This is potentially the uncomfortable part about reading Scripture. From the opening verse of this devotion, James compares it to looking into a mirror of our souls.
We live in an era of selfies and Photoshop. We can take multiple pictures with our cellphones and edit our favourites to remove blemishes or poor lighting so we constantly look our best. Spiritually, this is like trying to hide our sinful tendencies behind a righteous façade. We may look like good Christians because we attend church every week and are hard-working, responsible people, but our true selves are revealed through the mirror of Scripture. Mirrors do not flatter or lie. They show us exactly what we look like, and Scripture does this by challenging our presuppositions, exposing our faulty living and revealing our sins to us.
We can, of course, resist the rebuke of Scripture by walking away from this mirror. We can grieve the Holy Spirit by ignoring the conviction He places in our conscience, and continue to live according to our own agendas and desires. But this will ultimately stunt the Christian life, inhibit the work of the Holy Spirit and put up barriers in our relationship with God.
God does not correct or rebuke us to shame us into a right behaviour. It is a remedial process that molds our characters and desires to fall into alignment with His will for us. The purpose of the gospel is that we increasingly reflect the moral image of God so that we may be used for His work in this world. David tells us, “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path” (Psalm 119:105). God’s Word points us in the right direction, and as we live according to His Word, God continues to guide our way.
Not to adhere to the teachings of Scripture will be like one who sees their reflection in a mirror, covers up all the warts and blemishes, and forgets what one looks like. But when we come humbly to God with all the imperfection of our soul, we find true and lasting resolve to the deficiencies we try so hard to cover up. This is the divine work of God that takes place with the application of Scripture into our lives. We see ourselves in the light of Christ and become aware of our need for the transforming work of God in turning a fault-ridden reflection into an ever-increasing reflection of Christ.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, I do not want to resist Your rebuke and correction, no matter how uncomfortable it is. Grant me the humility to hear Your voice and respond to Your convictions. Thank You, God.