On Sunday morning I seasoned the roast with salt, pepper, fresh thyme and marjoram, browned it in olive oil, chopped some onions, garlic, and celery and sautéed them in the drippings, deglazed the pan, then put everything back in with potatoes and carrots. Sounds like a great cooking show, right? I set the temperature on the oven, set the timer to start while we were gone, and walked out of the house without turning it on! I knew we were in trouble when I walked in and sniffed and that aroma that instantly makes your stomach stand up and beg was missing.
I always used to think the passage in James about the man who looks into the mirror and then walks away forgetting what he saw, was a little farfetched. But now I regularly look at myself in the mirror every morning, walk away and get sidetracked making a bed or sorting laundry, taking a phone call or paying a bill, and forget to comb my hair until I look again a couple of hours later. Lucky for me I have a head full of curls and the style these days is to look like your hair has not seen a comb for three weeks. Celebrities pay big bucks for such a look. So I can get by, right? Everyone will think I just have the same hairstyle as some glamorous movie star. When I looked out and said good morning to the meter reader the other day, the look he gave me said he was not fooled a bit.
So it is not as difficult now to realize that people can look at the mirror of God’s word and walk away, forgetting to change themselves. They are as easily distracted by the “cares and riches and pleasures of this life,” as I am by assorted housekeeping duties, and the Word is choked out of them, Luke 8:14. But change is the essence of repentance; it is the point where self is pushed aside, and obedience and service to the Lord becomes my reason for living. If I can see in God’s word what I need to be and do, and then walk away without doing it, I have not turned my life over to Him—I have not been converted, or else I have turned my back on that commitment like an unfaithful spouse. That is why the Old Testament prophets call it spiritual adultery.
Sometimes I forget because I want to forget. In a culture where self-control is a scarce commodity, it’s easier to say, “That’s just the way I am.” It’s even easier to never look in the mirror in the first place because I do not want to see anything wrong with myself. But God won’t be fooled any more easily than my meter reader was.
Remember to look in the mirror this morning, and don’t forget what you see.
But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deluding yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man seeing his natural face in a mirror; for he sees himself and goes away, immediately forgetting what kind of man he saw. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty, and so continues, being not a hearer that forgets, but a doer who works, this man shall be blessed in his doing. James 1:22-25.