22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 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.
Some of you are smiling right now, because we have finally come to your favorite book in the Bible. James tells it straight. No parables to ponder over and wonder about its meaning. Just straightforward language that tells you how to live as God wants.
I really like the analogy of the mirror. Every morning after my shower I look in the mirror to (hopefully) get my hair in some semblance of order, but then I go away and don’t think much about it after that. It’s either a good or a not-so-good hair day. I hardly pay attention, whichever it is.
But imagine if that’s how we approach our Christian faith. Some people call it compartmentalization, meaning one can take in God’s word, but it hardly ever affects how one behaves on a daily basis. Go to church on Sunday then the rest of the week do whatever you like.
James reminds us that all of life connects – what we read from God’s word must influence how we act. We are blessed when what we read carries over into our daily lives, so that we follow God’s laws with faithfulness and integrity.
Dear God, it’s like the Nike slogan – just do it. Help me do your word, live your word, act according to your word, to be consistent with what I read in your word. Don’t let it just go in one ear and out the other. Christ has set me free, and it is a freedom that came at great cost. Let me not go back to former ways that dishonor you, for this I pray in Christ’s name. Amen.