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The other day…

June 29, 2007

I walked out of the house without any makeup on at all. I didn’t realize my naked face state until I was all ready 15 minutes from home and there was no time to turn back because there were children to deliver to VBS and a list of errands to complete.

Although I don’t wear a great deal of makeup anyway, I do try to stick to my essentials of tinted moisturizer, under eye concealer and mascara. That takes all of 1 minute to do, a minute and a half when that oh so odd and unusual, exceptionally rare pimple occurs. Lipstick is done in the car, and blush or eye shadow are luxuries. So to walk out with nothing on my face except that fresh scrubbed my-goodness-look-at-all-your-freckles look was a bit of a startling thing for me when I caught a glimpse of myself in my car mirror.

I realized that I was the “man” of James 1:23-24 “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.” Now obviously the context is not about making sure your face is properly moisturized, tinted, concealed and mascara-ed before you go out, but the visual (pun) illustration was still true. For in my getting ready that morning I had intently looked at my face and saw the needs, but didn’t do what had to be done before going out the door. Perhaps I was distracted, a child wanted breakfast before he absolutely starved, or maybe I left the mirror planning to come back and finish the face. Either way, once I was out the door it was too late to go back and serve the needs.

Which is why in context James’ visual illustration is so helpful to us. Here’s the whole passage:

“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 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. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.” James 1:22-25

As a Christian, I’m instructed to be obedient to His word, to do the full bidding of His word, as soon as I hear His word. I’m not given license to 1) pick and choose which parts of His word I like, agree with, or feel comfortable enough about to do; or 2) look at His word casually and then walk away from the doing of it. For every distraction and starving for breakfast child and forgetful moment when indiscriminately indulged will become the force of my actions rather than the force of His word being my actions.

This passage teaches that I look intently, not deceiving myself about what it says, and then to be a doer who acts. Tough words for naked souls. But His truth teaches all that a naked soul needs to be fully finished and complete.

*Updated to add: while going through my Google reader feeds today, I came across Christa Blakey’s Blakeyblog. Providentially she has also posted on this same passage of Scripture here. May His kingdom be built of and on the faithful doers of His Word.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. June 29, 2007 6:27 am

    I worry about looking into the mirror and not only forgetting, but not SEEING in the first place! Just going on autopilot. That’s a danger in our Christian walk, too.

    Oh, and I posted about that passage a while back at my old blog.

    Heres’ the URL if you’re interested in another take:

  2. June 29, 2007 8:31 am

    This naked soul appreciates your exhortation this morning. blessings…

  3. June 29, 2007 11:53 am

    Elle, this was a great challenge to me and I really appreciate your thoughts on this passage.

    I was struck by your statement that as Christians, we are called to “do the full bidding of His word, as soon as I hear His word.” The “as soon as I hear” really hit me. I heard someone say delayed obedience is disobedience. I’ve been convicted from this passage that I do make delays and I need to get acting on whatever His Word tells me to do. Thanks for this sharpening post!

  4. Jif permalink
    June 30, 2007 10:41 am

    In regards to Christa’s comment on delayed obedience, one of our pastor’s sayings (which we’ve adopted at our house) is “Slow obedience is No obedience!” When I begin this statement my children complete it for me.

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