James 1:23-24 says “23for if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: 24for he beholdeth himself and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was”
Two days ago I taught on James 1:22 which was the first instalment (link at bottom of the page) in the “do you hear him hearing” “no, but I hear him doing” series and now we are on the second instalment. This part gives an example of a person who is a hearer-only.
The bible says in verse 23 that if any be a hearer-only and not a doer then he is like a man looking at himself in a glass. Now let’s stop here for a moment. First of all we are to understand that these verses are giving an example, or emphasising, what was said in verse 22. A similitude is made here, saying that a hearer-only is like a man looking at himself in a glass, but what is this man looking at? The verse says he is beholding his natural face.
Some of you may be thinking, well what is the natural face? Romans 3:23 says “for all have sinned…” and Romans 5:12 says “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned”. You see the natural face of a man is that of a sinner. We are born sinners. So here we have a man looking at himself and beholding his sinful nature. Also notice what he is looking in. He is looking into a glass. Now when you look into a pane of glass you can see two things: the first thing is your own reflection, the second is the world beyond. As this man is looking at himself and his sinful nature he is also looking at the world beyond and what it has to offer him.
If you notice above some words are in bold, this is to make and emphasise my point for the next verse. Verse 24 explains that this man beholds himself and goes his way but straightaway forgets what manner of man he was. So from the two verses we have a man looking at himself and what he is and what the world can offer him and he beholds himself and goes his way. Can you see what I’m getting at? The hearer-only is only concerned with himself. He wonders what he can get and he goes his way. God has no part in this man’s life, he’s all about himself.
Notice also that this man who cares about himself has a case of spiritual amnesia. The verse says that the man goes his way but straightaway forgets what manner of man he was. You see as that man is looking in the glass he can see all his imperfections. He is looking at his sinful nature and therefore he can see everything that’s wrong with himself, but he doesn’t seek to sort it out, instead he goes his way and straightaway forgets what was wrong with himself. He goes out seeking what he can find for himself not worried about the imperfections in his life because he has forgotten about them, too wrapped up in the world to remember.
So let me ask you today: as you look at yourself, as you see your sinful nature in your life, what are YOU going to do? Are you going to look past your reflection to the world beyond, wondering what you can acquire? Are you going to point out your flaws but still go your way forgetting God and ultimately forgetting to sort them out? Or are you going to look at your life and notice whats wrong and ask God to help you sort them out, going Gods way and not forgetting? – A.
Come back tomorrow for the last instalment!