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Welcome to The Point of Purity Podcast. I’m your host, Steve Etner, Author, National Speaker, and Purity Coach for The Pure Man Ministry. This is episode #75, and in this week’s episode, we continue our discussion of James 1:22 which warns “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” Today we are going to discover how to take a “Look in the Mirror.”
James 1:23-25 goes on to tell us that if we do not do what the Bible says, we are like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and sees something wrong but does nothing about it. Have you ever looked in the mirror and noticed your hair all messed up or an unwanted spot on your face? What do you do about it? If you’re like most people I know, you stop what you’re doing and deal with the issue.
In James’ example, that person has seen in the mirror that a problem exists. He acknowledges it’s there and he even understands to some extent that this problem needs to be dealt with. But for some unknown reason, he chooses not to take care of it right then and there. He goes on his merry way, fully intending to deal with it later. Yet other things, such as the everyday activities, pressures, and demands of life, enter in, and vie for his attention.
The result is that he forgets the problem is there and thus doesn’t deal with it. James is telling us that this person has been deceived. Even though he fully plans on taking care of the problem later, he walks away and promptly forgets what the mirror has revealed to him. He takes the time to consider it, concludes that it needs to be dealt with and that he will indeed take care of it in the near future, but ends up ignoring it in the long run. He has come to a wrong conclusion – which is proven by his lack of action.
By just listening to the Word of God and choosing to not immediately act on what the Holy Spirit has shown you and convicted you of, you are drawing a false conclusion. You are building your house on the sand. You understand what you read is true. You conclude, “Here is an area of my life that I need to deal with, and I will.” But if you don’t address it right then and there, you’ve been duped by the enemy, my friend.
Consider this: When God reveals an area of your life that needs addressing and you choose not to deal with it immediately, that area will get worse. Just like an open sore, left unattended it will fester and grow. It will be harder to deal with later. It is critical to face head-on whatever God reveals to you. Immediately. Whatever it may be, don’t wait!
In James 1:23-24 James speaks of the one who “LOOKS at his face in a mirror and, after LOOKING at himself, goes away.” That verb “to look” means literally to perceive, to observe and understand, to consider something attentively as you are fixing your gaze upon it. “To look” simply means that you not only see the problem but are fully aware that it’s there. The mirror of God’s Word has revealed it to you, and you have fixed your gaze intently upon it. Remember, both the wise man and the foolish man of Matthew 7 had read God’s Word – they both looked into the mirror. It’s what they did with what they saw that made the difference.
Watch this now. The trouble lies not in the identification of the problem but in the execution of the solution. Instead of immediately dealing with what the mirror revealed, this individual in James chapter one simply identifies that a problem exists and then “goes away.” He turns and walks away from it. Now, I think it’s fairly safe to say that if you saw a big zit glowing at the end of your nose, you would choose to immediately address the issue. It wouldn’t even cross your mind to walk away until it was dealt with. Yet, the person James is talking about sees something much more severe than acne, and yet he still turns and walks away without dealing with it.
In James 1:24 we see that the moment he goes away he “immediately forgets what he looks like.” He has forgotten what the mirror revealed to him. Ok, now here this word “forget” means that you are neglecting something, no longer caring for it. Watch this now – the fact that he NO LONGER CARES for it suggest that he actually did, at one point, care ... at least to a certain extent when it was originally revealed to him. Something else has come in and drawn his attention away. He has turned his focus away from it and on to other things that have become more important at that moment. The result is that he has begun to care more for that other thing instead – forgetting the imperfection that the mirror had revealed to him.
By the way, the fact that he no longer cares for it does not mean that it’s no longer important to him. He didn’t see the problem in the mirror and say, “Nah, no big deal.” It’s not that he didn’t care ABOUT it, but that he did not take the time right then and there to care FOR it – to attend to it, to give it the focus and attention that it needed. He simply began to focus his thoughts onto something else and thus put his energy into attending to other things instead.
When you read the Bible and the Holy Spirit reveals an area of your life that you need to work on, I’m sure you don’t sit there, shrug your shoulders, roll your eyes and sigh “eh, no biggie.” You agree that it’s something you need to take care of. But if you don’t care for it right then and there, you’ve drawn a wrong conclusion. This is how merely listening to the Word can deceive you.
Oh, my friend, when the Holy Spirit speaks to you, don’t look into the mirror of Scripture, see an issue in your life that needs to be dealt with, and then turn and walk away. I urge you to deal with it right then and there. Whatever appointment you may have to get to, whatever thing you are planning to do, can wait. In the whole scheme of things, they pale in importance compared to the priority of having your heart right with God. Don’t risk walking away from that mirror, forgetting what God just showed you in His Word. Later may be too late.CONCLUSION
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So, until next time this is Author, Speaker, and Purity Coach Steve Etner reminding you that if you are going to glorify God in your everyday living, He must first be glorified in your every moment thinking.