“O, wad some Power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as others see us!
It wad frae monie a blunder free us,
An’ foolish notion.”
Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do. – James 1; 23-25From Martin Hayward
I once read the comment that there are only two people you can really trust to tell you the truth about yourself: your best friend who speaks in love and wants the best for you and your worst enemy who simply wants to hurt you. But in reality there is a third option: reading Scripture under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Because, let’s not forget, Jesus really does know all about us.
Remember how he saw Nathaniel (whom he’d never met) approaching and said, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit”. “How do you know me?” Nathaniel had asked, to which Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.” (John 1; 48f)
Or think about that Samaritan woman’s amazement when Jesus commented that she had had five husbands and that she wasn’t married to the man she was now with. She was so surprised that he knew everything about her that she went back to the town and told everyone, “He told me everything I ever did.” So the Samaritans went out to him and many became believers.
Nathaniel and that woman physically met with Jesus whereas we meet with him through Scripture. They acted upon what he said but his brother, James, challenges us and asks if we do the same. Do we read large chunks of the Bible and even learn them off by heart but then ignore them? Do we read things that spotlight traits within us but which we choose to write off with a shrug as being all a bit old-fashioned and not in line with our modern advanced way of thinking? Do you change your mind so that you now hold true to what you learn in the Bible or does your imagination – and your eyes and thoughts – still conform to the world’s way of thinking?
When you look in the mirror in the morning you might notice something amiss – your hair messed up or buttons left undone. But there’s little point in looking if you don’t intend to correct what it tells you is wrong. It’s the same with Scripture says James. Through it we discover the truth about ourselves as Jesus sees us – if we take note and act, then we shall be blessed. We must be doers not just lookers.