Skip to main content
Christian LivingDiscerning Culture

Looking in the Mirror for Change

But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. Because if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like someone looking at his own face in a mirror. For he looks at himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of person he was. But the one who looks intently into the perfect law of freedom and perseveres in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer who works—this person will be blessed in what he does. James 1:22-25 CSB

As I get older, I have noticed a number of different types of Christians. They line up with James’ comparing of the word of God to a mirror. He tells us that those who hear the word but don’t do anything with it are like those who look in a mirror for a moment and go away forgetting what he was like. In other words, he (or she) does not adjust anything after looking in the mirror.
 
Three Groups
A first group of “Christians” consists of those who don’t look into the word all. Though they may be Christians in name, functionally they never seek to correct their minds with the word. These could be compared to individuals who never look in a mirror at all. Their clothes are askew, their hair is disheveled, there is dirt on their face. And they don’t know it.
 
A second group is those who do hear or look at the word but don’t work hard to apply it. These are the ones that James is addressing. They are like people who look in a mirror but don’t make any adjustments. We might label this group the unrepenting Christians. They repented once a long time ago for their sins. But there is not a lot of ongoing repentance.
 
The third group is those who hear the word or read the word and actively seek to change. Though accepted in Christ, they know there are regular “adjustments” to be made until they die. They actively seek to grow in knowledge, repent of wrong attitudes or actions, and start walking like Christ more and more. They are like an individual who looks in a mirror, not to admire himself, but to improve himself. These are the regularly repenting Christians.
 
Regularly Repenting
Knowing that we are accepted in Christ and yet not made perfect (Heb 10:14), we can keep looking into the word of God to grow. Knowing we are not perfect does not cause us to feel defensive and insecure. We know that the path Christ has us on is to help us become increasingly whole inside and bring the kingdom to others. 
 
In many ways, all this goes back to the habits and attitudes we have about the Scriptures.  Studied regularly, the Bible will transform your mind. It will purify it. Not only will it assure you of God’s care but it will confront you (2 Tim 3:15). You will respond to that correction out of love for Christ. 
 
If you don’t listen to or read the word, or if you don’t take the word in to correct, your mind will become increasingly darkened, clouded, and blinded.
 
If you do take in the word, correcting sin, ignorance, and lack of wisdom, you will become increasingly mature and humble. 
 
These things may not be immediately obvious. Day after day, month after month, changes in our lives accumulate until we become more human and glorified. Or we become less and less human. We become debased, that is, deteriorated from what God wants for us. 

Our children are watching us as we walk with God. Let’s keep listening to and searching the Scriptures diligently.

Thought for application: Have I listened to the word or opened the word asking the Holy Spirit, “What do you want me to correct?”