James 1:23-25 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.
These verses speak of those who hear one thing and do another and compare it to a person who looks in a mirror, grabs a quick look, and then as soon as he walks away can’t even remember if his (or her) hair was combed or if a stray hair was plucked. It’s like the time spent in front of the mirror didn’t register or the teaching he heard didn’t matter. This passage in James speaks specifically of our behavior being consistent with our identity. In Psalm 119 we read in verses 9 and 11, “How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your word.” … “Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You.”
But this practiced forgetfulness is not limited just to our obedience of God’s Word, but it’s truth also applies to how we view God, ourselves, and what He has done for us in Christ. Today Sarah writes about our experiencing the riches of our salvation and the joy of being loved. In order to do this we need to think on it. We need to hide these truths in our hearts, meditate on them throughout our days, and talk to God about them regularly. we need to live them. We have an enemy that would love us to observe the adage of “Out of sight, out of mind,” applying it to our daily interactions with God and robbing us of the joy of knowing Him intimately.
It is constantly walking aware of who we are in Christ that prepares us to stand when things press in. By hiding the truths from God’s Word about who our God is, we then have confidence in Him to handle whatever may come. When we live knowing our God as an ever-watching, constantly present, infinitely powerful and wise God we know that He also has the ability to protect us from our own temptations and make us to stand in any trial. 1 Corinthians 10:13 “No temptation [test, or trial] has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted [tested, or tried] beyond what you are able, but with the temptation [test, or trial] will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.
When we know from God’s Word that our salvation is a free gift, making us fully acceptable to God and against whom no charge in heaven can be brought with Jesus Christ as our Advocate, we can take those thoughts of unworthiness and considerations of failure and turn them back in the face of what God says to be true of us. And when we do sin, we know that this sin has not disqualified us from heaven, but rather has been fully forgiven and needing our agreement with God through confession and then moving on as if not to go there again (1 John 1:9). And even when we suffer consequences here because of something we have done, something someone has done to us, or just as a resulting consequence of living in a fallen world and all that comes with it, God will give us the ability to endure even that. And when a fellow believer dies, even earlier than we would think appropriate, we can hope knowing that this death is not the end of all things but a means of finally stepping into the very presence of God for all eternity—passing from death to life, knowing that because He lives we live also. All of these things come from walking away from the mirror knowing who our God is and who He has created and called us to be. And in this there is great peace and joy.
Romans 8:37-39 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Ephesians 6:14 Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, AND HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS….
Hebrews 12:1-2 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Today in “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young (7/13)
I want you to experience the riches of your salvation: the Joy of being loved constantly and perfectly. You make a practice of judging yourself, based on how you look or behave or feel. If you like what you see in the mirror, you feel a bit more worthy of My Love. When things are going smoothly and your performance seems adequate, you find it easier to believe you are My beloved child. When you feel discouraged, you tend to look inward so you can correct whatever is wrong.
Instead of trying to “fix” yourself, fix your gaze on Me, the Lover of your soul. Rather than using your energy to judge yourself, redirect it to praising Me. Remember that I see you clothed in My righteousness, radiant in My perfect Love.
…in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. Ephesians 2:7-8
Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess. Hebrews 3:1
Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. Psalm 34:5