22 – But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
23 – For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror;
24 – for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.
25 – But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.
Two Types of Believers
Type 1: Hears the word and does not do the Word
Type1 Christians may read the Bible or hear a convicting sermon and even want to change but they never do. Similar to the infamous “new years resolution”.
A Christians success in life (spiritually and otherwise) is dependent on how much of the Word they want to obey. The Word of God is not a buffet of religion, it’s to be taken in as a whole and obeyed as a whole not in part.
The parallel in James says that this type1 believer is like a person who has looked at them self in the mirror and later after leaving the mirror has forgotten what they truly look like! Can you imagine what it would be like to not know what you look like! Well these people do not know what they truly look like, as a result they borrow images from other people, they self construct identities, they believe lies and even glorify their false identities. The problem with this is that it’s not the truth. It’s not what they originally saw in the mirror.
James 4:17 – Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.
Proverbs 29:18 – Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; But happy is he who keeps the law.
Type 2: Hears the Word and does the Word
Type2 Christians don’t just let sermons or scriptures tickle their religious ears, they act on what they hear or learn. The Gospel is about going, holiness is about denying self, and worship is about loving on God. How can a true Bible believing Christian not act on the Word? Good question…
So this type2 Christian actually does what God tells him to through the Word and because of this they do not forget what they saw in the mirror. Their true identity.
1Timothy 4:16 – Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.
Genesis 4:7 – “If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.”
What Does the Mirror Reveal?
Consistent with the parable in James (James totally stole his favorite brother’s preaching style!) the Bible is like a mirror that, when looked in to, reveals the viewers face or identity. When you read the Word of God it as a mirror that reflects the true image of yourself as a sinner as well as the true image of yourself as a child of God. We have a dual nature: two sides. The Earthly sinful side which subjects us to the fleshly desires until we die and the spiritual side from God that is redeemed and perfected in God’s eyes.
The Bible reveals to us these two sides in truth and clarity – our sinful side and our holy side (which is not of our self but from Christ).
John 1:12 – But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:
There are Christians all around the globe that don’t know their identity in Christ and it has caused much spiritual heartbreak, unnecessary weight, and misguidance. We would do ourselves an immeasurably huge favor to read the Word of God in order to discover our true identity! Stop accepting the societies system of labeling you this or that, stop letting your family ties render you worthless (or glorious, for that matter), stop letting your past depict who you are today. Who does God say you are? And who does the world say you are?
It’s no wonder that our modern culture is so saturated with sinful lifestyles even if they are subtle, people are always searching for a better identity, a calling, and purpose, a thing to satisfy them. This is because they do not know their original true identity in Christ, their God shaped hole is still empty and they are trying to fill it with stuff and masks.
The Image in the Mirror
Your Redeemed Identity
You are made in God’s image
You are a child of God
John 1:12,13, Rom 8:15
You are loved unconditionally
You are a friend not a servant
You are completely forgiven and clean
Eph 1:7, 1Jhn 1:8
You are a new Creation
1Cor 5:17, Rom 6:6
You are the new Temple of God
You were bought with a price
Your Carnal Identity
You inherited sin from Adam and Eve
Rom 3:10, 23, 5:17,
You will struggle against sinful desires until you got to heaven
Rom 6:12, Mat 26:41, Gal 5:16-17, Eph 2:3
You cannot attain spiritual righteousness by your own abilities
Tit 3:5, Mat 6:1,
The believer suffers when they stand on an imbalanced view of themselves, whether they see themselves as too fallen or too redeemed. If one does not recognize their sinful nature how will they resist it effectively? Ignorance of your fallen state can lead to self righteousness, pride, or vain religion. However many Christians suffer from ignorance of their redeemed character, they don’t know they can access God fully, ask for forgiveness, healing, or help. If you only live knowing your sinful tenancies how far will you get without without acknowledging all that Christ died for? We have freedom from the wages of sin, we have unending forgiveness, and the power over Satan is on our side! Don’t forget that.
The Doers Remember
So why does the doer or Type2 Christian remember what he looks like or his true Biblical identity? Because he is acting on what he heard or read in the Word of God. To believe does not mean to mentally acknowledge or intellectually agree with an idea when the belief calls for action. The belief system contained in what we call Christianity calls for action and so it’s impossible to truly believe it without trying to accomplish it’s goals that are contained therein. So the person who hears and does is fulfilling, to some extent, their purpose in God’s plan, they are acting on what they hold in their heart and thus they do not forget their true identity that comes from the Word of God.
Helpful Scripture References: