What Do I Look Like?

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves.  Do what it says.  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 1:22-24 (NIV)

There are days when I hear my wife say something and I have no idea what she said.  She may as well have spoken to me in Japanese because I either did not listen or comprehend.  I heard words coming out of her mouth, but I did not listen to them.  I was either too busy to hear her or too distracted to understand.  She said something, possibly something important (“The toaster oven is on fire…again!”), but I failed to grasp its meaning or its importance.

James is tough stuff.  He tells us that we need to not only hear God’s Word, but we need to live it out.  There are several mirrors in our house and they are good for one thing.  That is fixing one’s appearance.  Either the clothes we are wearing or the goop in our hair, we use our mirrors.  I have never forgotten what color my eyes were (blue) or the color of my hair (brown, no gray like my younger brother) or the length of my hair (short to medium short depending on the season and time since my last haircut).  What I have done, though, is to hear God’s Word and forgotten to put it into practice.  How many times have I:

  • forgotten to love my neighbor, let alone my enemy?
  • had impure thoughts?
  • failed to treat others as I wanted to be treated?
  • not loved my wife as Christ loved the church?
  • lied?

I’m pretty sure that Scripture addresses all of these issues (and more!) and I know what it says, but I have failed to live out God’s Word.  I have heard it, but I haven’t lived it.  What about you?  How are you struggling to live out God’s Word today?  How many sermons have you heard but have forgotten by the time you hit the parking lot?  How many morning or evening devotions have you read but failed to apply that very day or the next?  May the Spirit call to mind those sermons, devotions and passages the next time we are tempted.  May God forgive our forgetfulness!

PRAYER:  Father, please forgive my forgetfulness.  I am guilty of not living out Your Word.  I know what Your Word says, but I often fail to apply it to my life.  Thank You for loving me and for forgiving my many sins.  In Jesus’ name, amen.


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