[Gasp!] “How did THAT get there?”

Have you ever looked in the mirror–maybe first thing in the morning or, perhaps, on your way out from using the restroom–and seen some unsightly blemish or smudge or…well, whatever it may be…right there in the middle of your face?

I tend not to be one of those who uses make-up. It isn’t by way of a “godliness” thing for me, frankly. It is because I am quite lazy and quite active. It never seems to be worth it to primp to look good, only to go out and sweat myself back into my “natural” unkempt state! But I know that I am a bit unusual for a woman my age.

It seems like everywhere I go, from Sam’s Club to a fancy orchestra performance, women are looking in the mirror and stopping to “fix” whatever it is they see.

Can you imagine if one of them had a big smudge of dirt or something across their foreheads, they looked, saw it and just shrugged and headed off? Most women wouldn’t dream of doing that. Why would they bother to look in the mirror in the first place?

For years, I basically did this in a more extreme way. I tried to *avoid* looking in the mirror or in reflective glass so I would NOT see myself. Whenever I *did* get a look, I was shocked at the size of my body. I would quickly try–intentionally–to forget what I looked like. If I could do that, then, I defectively reasoned, I wouldn’t have to deal with the facts and all the implications.

This was no way to become healthy. This was denial in its purest, most dangerous form physically.

It is probably easy to read that admission of mine and to consider it rather stupid. After all, denying that it is true doesn’t mean it *isn’t* true. Pretty easy to see, right?

Yet, how often do I do that with the Word of God? James 1:21-25 says that if I read what is in the Word and don’t do what it says, I am exactly like the person who looks in the mirror and then goes off forgetting what he has seen. I am just like I was when I would try to deny the truth of what was reflected back to me when I was so large…or if I go into the bathroom after working out in the forest, moving gravel, cutting up felled trees with my husband and fail to deal with the smudge of green gunk across my forehead.

How ridiculous is it to take time to be in the Word of God and yet not DO what it says? God’s Word is there to show me what I need to allow God’s grace at work in me to change. If I read the Word, then close the cover and head off to do my life, I am not only missing it, but I am likely feeding spiritual pride in a BIG way.

In fact, I have often taken great pride in all of my bible study experience. I have shelves and shelves of completed workbooks, Community Bible Study notebooks and have *even* written bible studies (are you impressed yet?). For years, I have loved to read God’s Word, to study it and memorize it. I will quote it copiously in my prayers and when speaking to Christian friends and when called to speak to women’s groups. (Ok, so NOW you simply MUST be impressed…right?)

Yet how often do I let it get through to where I live? I mean, how many bible studies do I NEED? How many more bible study blanks do I need to fill out on the subject of honoring God with my body before I DO IT?

It is a ruse, see? It is a way of being in denial. Of deflecting what is needed. If I can point to my “godly” knowledge of scripture, then maybe I don’t have to deal with the facts. It is the same thing as what I did when I pretended that I didn’t SEE the reflection that proved I was carrying 100 pounds of extra weight. Only it is much worse…

Jesus described it this way in Luke 6:47-49:

I will show you what he is like
who comes to me and hears my words
and puts them into practice.
He is like a man building a house,
who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock.
When a flood came,
the torrent struck that house but could not shake it,
because it was well built.
But the one who hears my words
and does not put them into practice
is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation.
The moment the torrent struck that house,
it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”

This challenges me to my very soul. I want to be one who isn’t shaken during the floods and storms of life. I want to be one who doesn’t collapse when a torrent hits.

It requires humility to receive the Word. A test of humility is seen in if I will obey what I have been shown already. Will I DO what the Lord has shown me? If I don’t DO what the Lord has shown me, then adding yet more “study” of God’s Word to my life is not feeding my soul at all…but merely feeding my pride.

Yesterday’s study was on feeding the soul by spending time in God’s Word, but today’s lesson connects with that one by pointing out so well that my soul is only fed…truly fed…if I not only take in God’s Word, but DO it. I mean, even JESUS said that his food was to do the will of the Father!

James 1:22 says if I only listen to the word and don’t DO it, I DELUDE myself. This journey I am on with the Lord is one about welcoming the infusion of TRUTH into my life. I try my best to expose the Deceiver and his wiles when they appear. I know one of his tactics is to try to delude me. Why would I want to cooperate with his schemes by deluding myself?

Lord, help me to quit pursuing more “feel good” things from your Word at the expense of all that you want to do in my life to make me more like Jesus. I think sometimes I go to your Word looking for it to massage my sin rather than to expose and eradicate my sin. I misapply “grace” and use it as a “cuddle blanket” or something to make me feel better about myself when you have chosen that your Word will teach, rebuke, correct and train me in righteousness. You have said that this same grace that brings salvation teaches me to say NO to ungodliness and to change the way I live. Lord, I want to not merely be a hearer of your Word, but a doer as well. Work in me the humility of heart, Lord. Keep me from denying what is in my life…help me to welcome your work. Hebrews 4 says that the Word of God For the word of God is living and active. It is sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. That can be pretty painful at times, Lord. Help me to welcome this penetrating look straight into the mirror of your Word, Lord. You have promised that if I look intently into the perfect law–your Word that gives freedom–and that if I continue to do this, not forgetting what I have heard, but do it—I will be blessed in what I do. Lord, that is what I desire…to be shaped and formed by your Word. Transform me. Renwe me. Remake me. Let me not leave my time quiet with you in the morning without a commitment to do what you have laid on my heart to do. I look forward to the freedom that comes from this and the blessing you promise. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.