Do You Observe or Look?April 14, 2020 Save Article
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does”
James gives this description of a person who hears the Word but doesn’t practice it. He says you’re like someone who wakes up in the morning and sees his beard grown out, his hair tousled, bags under his eyes, and soup still on his mustache from last night! He glances in the mirror, sees he needs to put everything in shape, but he just goes his way off to work! He forgets what he saw in the mirror. There’s no change—no shower, no shaving, no combing. He's just like he was! He glanced in the mirror, saw it, and forgot it.
Notice James uses two contrasting words here.
- He says one person “observes”—and soon forgets.
- The other “looks into” and continues—he obeys the Word of God.
“Beholding” or “observing” means a casual glance. “Looking into” means a careful gaze. It’s the same word used when the disciples raced to the empty tomb, and bending over, they looked into—they peered intently into the darkness, eyes set, searching, trying to see everything, looking steadfastly.
That's the way you're to look into the Word of God. Not just a casual glance, but a steadfast looking into the Word and a careful examination of the Word. Pick it up, read it, study it, scrutinize it.
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