My wife has a special look.
I know. That statement can be heard to mean several different things. And after many years of marriage, I am still infatuated by my wife and her appearance, but that’s not the look I’m talking about.
I’m talking about the look that says, “Honey, I’m not happy.” It’s usually followed by statements such as, “The garbage you forgot to take out is smelling especially nice today,” or “The mosquitoes visiting us on the back porch are being very social tonight. I think they’re coming in through the hole in the screen… you know, the one you said you would repair a week ago.”
But these are the easy looks to handle. With these, I have been given the knowledge of what will remove the look (take out the garbage, repair the screen). They’re more difficult when the look is rendered without explanation. You know, the look… and then silence. The silence that leaves me scrambling for the right response to get that penetrating glare off of her face.
Our Heavenly Father also has a special look.
And fortunately, He doesn’t give us the silent treatment. He has revealed His will in His Word.
But unfortunately, I am much too often like the man in the mirror of James’ letter. Here, believers are instructed to be doers of God’s Word, and not just hearers.
“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
James describes the Bible as a mirror that reflects the truth of our condition. But he says it is very possible to see our condition and do nothing about it. It would be much like eating a large helping of banana pudding and getting a big glob of pudding on my cheek. I walk by a mirror, see it and think, “Wow, that’s unattractive… I better get that off.” But then I turn from the mirror and forget it’s there. I can no longer see it, but everyone else can.
In this same manner, God reveals areas of our lives that need attention. What’s better, He’s given us the ability to fix the problems. Not of ourselves, mind you, but through the power of His Holy Spirit. Staying with James’ letter, we learn from his words that believers should have a certain look of their own. He says we should love one another (2:8). He says we shouldn’t show partiality toward others (2:1). He says we need to watch our tongue (speech) (3:1-12). He says we should show patience through our suffering (5:7-12). In essence, he says we need to allow God to change our lives so we are a reflection of our Savior to the world.
Still, James makes it clear that we can simply ignore these areas that need God’s attention. And when we do… well, we shouldn’t be surprised by the look.