For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.
James 1:23-24 (ESV)
Don’t bypass today’s verse because you’ve read it, memorized it, and know it by heart. Pause and consider this. We were created in God’s image. The Word is not only a mirror we can look into to see who God is, in it we can see who He created us to be.
Can this verse change the way we read the Bible? We are God’s children who carry His image with us. We don’t look within ourselves to find God, we look at God to find ourselves.
Our society seems to have this reversed. We often hear things like, “look within yourself to find God, live your truth, make yourself into whatever you want to be.” But God says something different. He says we are His creation, His children, His masterpiece. In His Word, He shares an image of Himself and an image of His creation. Yes, He lives within us, but we need to look into His Word to see Him clearly. If we look only within ourselves for a glimpse of God, then we’ll see a imperfect, distorted image.
This week, let’s practice looking at the Word of God while intently seeking the image of God we need to reflect. He’s likely to show us something in ourselves that doesn’t fit in with His image. And that is where we need to work on aligning that marred reflection with the truth God shows us.
Here’s an example:
The day I started writing this post, I had “one of those days.” You know the ones where a thousand little things go wrong, paired with a couple of medium things, and the result is a day spent on the struggle bus. Driving home, I was a ball of anxiety and stress. I just wanted to go home, curl up, and do nothing. But this post needed to be written.
That’s when I took the hint and searched my mind for God’s Word to see what reflection I should see on difficult days like this. The first verse that came to mind was “cast your cares on Him.” This flowed into the story of Hezekiah spreading his enemy’s threatening letters before God, and finally to Gethsemane where Jesus asked for the cup to be removed.
These are all beautiful examples of ways we can come to God in our difficulty. It reminded me, that as a child of God, the “doing” part of God’s Word is to turn over my anxiety and stress to God. He doesn’t tell us to bundle it up and stuff it down. He doesn’t say to worry and fret. He showed me that reflecting me included turning my troubles over to my loving Father, spreading them out before Him, and asking for relief from impossible situations. And, like Jesus, we can submit to God’s will, knowing that He cares for us. Life won’t be without difficulty, but we aren’t meant to carry our burdens alone.
The Bible is full of passages that show us how to best reflect who God made us to be. The trick is to look for those reflections. Then remember them when we walk through our day. I certainly didn’t handle every situation in my tough day perfectly. I could have done better. But I did see an improved reflection compared to myself on other stressful occasions.
When we start looking intently into the Word to see what we should be reflecting, we have to be careful of two things. 1) Give ourselves grace. We are human. We will mess up. God’s grace is enough. And 2) Don’t compare ourselves to someone else. Don’t belittle our own progress because someone else’s reflection seems to be more Christ-like. They mess up too. Just take one day at a time.
I challenge you and myself this week to wake up and look intently into God’s Word for the reflection we need to see. Hold that in our minds throughout the day, remember what we look like and see how that changes your response to different circumstances.
What God shows you will be different than what He shows me. Our reflections are different even though we are looking into the same mirror. God’s Word is reflected uniquely into and through each of us. Embrace His reflection and let it change you. Let it draw you more deeply into who He created you to be.
Father, thank you for your Word and for your guidance as we seek to draw near to You. Help us embrace who you made us to be and to appreciate the work you do in and through our lives. As we look intently into Your Word, show us who we are and guide us as we continue to grow as Your image bearers. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Spread the spark of hope everywhere you go,
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I want to follow Jesus! How do I get started?
“This is how we know that we live in Him and He in us: He has given us of His Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent His Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God.
1 John 4:13-15
If you are ready to join the family of God, simply believe and ask. You can choose your own words or pray the prayer below. God hears your heart, simply confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and let the Spirit lead you.
“Father, I want to be yours. Forgive me of my sins. I believe that you sent Your Son, Jesus Christ, to die in my place. I accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior and thank you for the gift of salvation through Him. I invite the Holy Spirit into my heart and surrender my life to You. In Jesus name, Amen.”
Feel free to spend time just talking to God and sharing your heart with Him. Let Him speak to you and listen as He leads you forward into new life. Welcome to the family.
Need to talk or have questions? Feel free to reach out and contact me.