Last time I wrote of how we must ACT like Christians. James is still going on with this topic, so just read on. For now though remember this: what's inside comes out. Good and bad. Get the inside fixed by Christ and the outside will follow along.
For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his face in a glass: for he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.
Take note that the first word in verse twenty three is the word "for". This word is in the same family as all the therefores and wherefores we already talked about. So remember what I said - if you find one of these, be sure to read what's next in light of what came before! With that in mind, let's go back and see what the last few verses were.
Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
James, it seems, is spending a lot of time on this, so we should probably take it pretty seriously. James wants us to know that we are not to be HEARERS of the word only, but DOERS also.
Getting on to our current text: James tells us WHY we should be doers as well as hearers. He tells us the consequences of a mirage-like faith. A faith that in only in your head and not your heart.
He writes that the person who is a "hearer-only" is like a man who looks at himself in the mirror, then turns around and forgets what he looks like. We girls especially can see how crazy this is. The question I asked in utter shock at how stupid this guy was, was this: Why look in the mirror if you're just going to forget as soon as you turn around? What good does that do? I look at myself in the mirror - I know what I look like. I don't look, turn around, and utterly forget. If I did that once I'd probably give up on looking into the mirror! Just a waste of time if you don't remember.
So what is James' point? "Hearers-(or Lookers-)Only" will disregard (forget) what they hear (look like). His point being that if you don't act on what you know then you are as bad as the man that forgot what he looked like the instance he turned away. You turn your back on Christ. You heard. Yes indeed! But you didn't act on it. You didn't believe in Christ while you had the chance, now you are nothing. You have disregarded and turned your back on that which you needed most. You have become unresponsive to the Gospel because you chose this world instead of Him.
As a final note, I think it interesting that James puts in the little phrase, "and goeth his way". I believe this implies not only a turning your back on Christ, but also of a rebellious "going your own way"; going the way YOU want to go, not the way Christ has offered to you (which is way better!).
So, what is James trying to communicate to us? That if you only hear and don't do anything about it, then you are lost.
Don't just be a Christian in word, but also in action. That's the definition of a true Christian.
In Christ alone,