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22 But be doers of the Word [obey the message], and not merely listeners to it, betraying yourselves [into deception by reasoning contrary to the Truth]. 23 For if anyone only listens to the Word without obeying it and being a doer of it, he is like a man who looks carefully at his [own] natural face in a mirror; 24 For he thoughtfully observes himself, and then goes off and promptly forgets what he was like. 25 But he who looks carefully into the faultless law, the [law] of liberty, and is faithful to it and perseveres in looking into it, being not a heedless listener who forgets but an active doer [who obeys], he shall be blessed in his doing (his life of obedience). James 1:22-25 AMPC
We live in the age of the ‘selfie’. Social media has created a world where we spend a lot of time looking at ourselves. But unfortunately, not really seeing ourselves. We use the world’s standards to gauge whether we should be happy with where we are in life. We compare ourselves to our peers to see if we’re doing ok. If we’re successful enough. We exist in a world built on mirages, holograms… falsehoods, really. A world where the struggle to keep up appearances is the priority, no matter the cost. We are judged and judge others based on external qualities. On images…snapshots doctored and contorted until they fit the popular definition of ‘happy’. We applaud everyone who fits into our warped perception of what is good. Doesn’t matter what they had to do to achieve it. The self-loathing they are left with is of no consequence. Because now we deal in the currency of likes and follows. And anyone who finds themselves poor, feels unloved and unworthy. We live to be seen but do not see ourselves. We’re constantly looking at ourselves but do not truly see.
How do we jump off the hamster wheel? How do we break this vicious cycle of needless, dangerous pretense? We do it by choosing to live by a standard not of our own making. Not manufactured by flawed man. By choosing not to be defined by others’ opinions of us. By refusing to be labeled by anyone other than our Maker. By living according to God’s Word. When we use God’s Word as the standard for our lives, only then will our lives be built on truth. The truth. I didn’t say that’s when our lives become perfect. But it is at that point, when we gaze in the truth of God’s Word, which is likened to a mirror in the scriptures, that we truly begin to see ourselves. To see ourselves in contrast to a Most Holy God. We are confronted…face-to-face with the wickedness of our hearts. And then we recognize that even in our absolute wretchedness and folly, we are loved so totally and lavishly by this same perfect God! It is at that point, that no other love compares. No other opinion matters. How could it? That is the point where performing ends. Where the masks come off. Where we are free to live for an audience of One rather than trying to please the masses. What freedom! What hope! What peace! Living in the knowledge that your Father loves you as much as He ever will and there is nothing you can do to earn or lose that. What a burden lifted!
It is this same unconditional love that propels us into not just being people who listen to the Word. But being people who actually do what it says. You see, when you’ve truly tasted of God’s love, it’s impossible for you to be same. God’s love changes everything. He calls us into relationship with Himself so we can be set free to live Spirit-led lives according to His Word. His love moves us to trust Him enough to obey, even before understanding. Even when it goes against the status quo.
We all know what we look like. But have we really SEEN ourselves lately? Let’s ask God, by His Holy Spirit, to help us find rest in His love and approval. To open our eyes to the ways we have become people-pleasers instead of Jesus-followers. Let’s follow Jesus instead of seeking followers. Let’s experience God’s unconditional love instead of desperately clamoring for empty likes. Let’s look into God’s Word and begin to see ourselves as we truly are – loved, accepted, whole, set free… Then we can allow the truth of God’s Word to change us and the way we live.
Love & Blessings,