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I’m willing to bet that when you want to look in a mirror you don’t stand in a darkened room, squinting at the mirror, hoping to make sense out of the shadows in front of you. Of course not. You’re going to turn on the lights. Why? Simple – so you can see yourself better!
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 #76, and in this week’s episode, we continue our discussion of James 1:22-25 which warns “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.” This week’s episode is entitled, “The Light in The Mirror.”
Ok, let me begin by stating the obvious. You’re probably not going to stand in a darkened room to look at yourself in a mirror. Right? You’re going to turn the light on. Without the light you cannot see the blemish on your face, or the tussled hair on your head. Without the light there’s no way you can take care of the problem. Here’s my point: not only is God’s Word a mirror, it is also a LAMP to our feet and a LIGHT to our path (Psalm 119:105). God’s commands in Scripture are radiant, giving light to the eyes (Psalm 19:8). When you open the Bible and open your heart to the Holy Spirit, your secret sins will be exposed in the glorious light of God’s holiness (Psalm 90:8). These are all good things!
You see, the unfolding of God’s Word gives light, revealing to us those things that are hindering a deeper relationship with Him (Psalm 119:130). The bottom line is this: God’s commands are a lamp, His teaching IS light (Proverbs 6:23). Every time you open the Bible, every time you read the Scriptures, every time you are exposed to God’s truth, you are coming into the light (John 3:21). And that light will expose, as if in a mirror, the issues you need to deal with (Ephesians 5:13-14).
Let’s say you’re standing in front of your bathroom mirror when you notice what appears to be a dark smudge on the left side of your chin. You immediately stop what you were doing and lean forward, as close to the mirror as you can, so that you are able to get a much better look at that spot and determine what to do next. The picture James is painting in James 1:22-25 is that of a person looking into the mirror of God’s Word and seeing a spiritual blemish – a sin issue. God has revealed an area or aspect of his life that needs to be changed. As a result he stops everything he’s doing and leans closer to the mirror to get a better look at it. In other words, he searches the Scriptures and studies God’s Word to learn more about that particular issue in his life and what he needs to do to correct it. As the Holy Spirit guides him into God’s Truth, he discovers that there really is a matter of spiritual concern that needs dealing with. So, he immediately addresses the blemish right then and there. God is saying in James 1:25 that this man is blessed because of his choice.
By the way, to immediately address the blemish is more than just confessing that sin before God. It most certainly begins there, but it also involves eradicating it from your life completely and applying the Word of God in such a way that you are actually choosing right then and there to alter your lifestyle so as to never accommodate that sin again.
For the sake of illustration, let’s say that you look in the mirror and see a wound on your cheek. You clean it up, apply some ointment on it and after putting a bandage on it, you go on your way. Over the next few days, you periodically look in the mirror to see how it’s healing. You may have to clean it up again and put more ointment on it. As you continue to tend to it, it eventually heals and goes away. Much in the same way, to address your spiritual blemish requires more than just confession. It involves going to the Word of God, finding God’s truths that apply to that particular sin-issue in your life, studying the Word, memorizing it, meditating upon its truth, and then choosing to live by it every day.
God has so much He wants to share with you from within His Word. Throughout the pages of Scripture we find God’s truth about who we are, who He is, and how we are to live that godly life that He so deeply desires for us. At times that means His Word is going to show you things that need to be dealt with: maybe a nagging sin that needs to be removed once and for all; or an attitude that needs to be changed; or a thought-process that needs some adjusting. Watch this now. A cursory glance at the Bible will not usually reveal those things to us. It’s only when you look intently into God’s Word that you will begin to see your true reflection.
Let me quickly point out here that it is the Word of God we are instructed to look intently into. Now I know there are a lot of great books by great authors on how to live for God, how to have a closer relationship with God, and how to have victory over sin. But without the Word of God filling your mind, you will not know true victory. Satan doesn’t care if you quote Spurgeon, or MacArthur, or Stanley, or any of a long list of great Christian authors and preachers, as long as you’re not using the Word of God. You see, God’s Word is the “perfect” law of liberty. In other words, it is complete. It is all you need, nothing else. And you are to look intention into Scripture. You are to INVEST time in truly studying, not just spending a few minutes here or there glancing at the Word of God. When you do, and when you apply what the Holy Spirit has revealed to you, that is when you are truly “blessed” That is when you will know true, lasting happiness – genuine, deep in the heart joy. The joy that only God can give.
Now I want you to focus with me for a moment on James’ use of the word “and” in verse 25. Specifically, he writes “whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, AND continues in it.” Here’s why I want to point this out to you. This word “and” is called “a conjunction of annexation.” A conjunction of annexation takes two separate things and unites them, making them totally dependent upon each other. In other words, you cannot have one without the other. For example, you’ve probably heard of peaches AND cream or peanut butter AND jelly. Here’s what James’ use of that conjunction “and” is telling us: not only must you “look intently” into the Word of God (in other words, search the Scriptures daily), you must also “continue” in it. You must choose to live it out in your daily life. These two events are totally dependent upon each other. You must not ever merely listen to the Word; you must also apply it to your life and do what it says. When you live your life this way, you will be like that Matthew 7 wise man or woman who builds their house on the rock.
Oh, my friend, every day you are to be in the Word of God. Every day you are to look intently into the Scriptures. Every day you are to contemplate God’s truth and do what it says. You are to walk in obedience consistently and constantly. And as you look intently into God’s Word, the Holy Spirit will reveal to you the blemishes of your life that need to be dealt with so that every word and every deed glorifies your Heavenly Father (Colossians 3:17)
I encourage you to come back next week as we begin to look at Matthew 6:33 which commands us to “seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given you as well.” Until then, if you would like to learn more about today’s study, or if you’re interested in learning more about our ministry, be sure to visit our website to see the multitude of resources we’ve made available to you – you can find our website at ThePurityCoach.com
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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.