Originally published as Fighting the Reflection]
But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: for he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. James 1:23-24
Tufted Titmouse, Baeolophus bicolor, songbird perched in pine tree in Athens, Georgia, USA.
Sunday, 12:09 PM – Every Sunday morning for the last few months, a feisty little Tufted Titmouse flies up to the window during the preaching and repeatedly attacks his reflection. He believes the image to be a rival interloper invading his territory. Because the bird doesn’t like what he sees, he decides to fight the reflection.
While I watched this aggravated avian, my pastor continued to preach from the book of James. In the letter, James describes the Word of God as a mirror that reflects what manner of men we are. We have our own self-image, but it is often very different than how others perceive us. And certainly, our image of ourselves is always quite different than how God sees us. But the Bible has a way of revealing who we really are; a true reflection, as in a mirror.
Often, as the mirror’s image comes into clear focus, we don’t like the image that we see, and like the Titmouse, we fight against that reflection.
- When the mirror of the Word reflects our true, impatient self (James 1:4), we fight against the reflection and declare ourselves to have “the patience of Job.”
- When the mirror reflects our poor decisions and “lack of wisdom” (James 1:5), we fight the reflection and declare the Bible outdated.
- When the mirror of the Word reflects our true, double-minded nature (James 1:8), we fight the reflection and posit our focused faithfulness to God alone.
- When the mirror of the Word reflects our own sinful nature as the fault of our falling to temptation (James 1:13), we fight the reflection declaring “this is how God created me.”
- When the mirror of the Word of God reflects our hot temper (James 1:19), we fight the reflection, take up a rock and smash the mirror!
For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. James 1:23-24 NLT
When we see our true reflection in the mirror of the Word of God, let us not fight against it as the church Titmouse. Let us not walk away and “forget what manner of men we are.” But let us be doers of the Word, and as Today’s English Version translates, let us “submit to God and accept the Word that He plants in our hearts” (James 1:21 TEV).
Another lesson learned if we will listen to what creation speaks!