"But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves. For if any are hearers of the word and not doers, they are like those who look at themselves in a mirror; for they look at themselves and, on going away, immediately forget what they were like." James 1:22-24 NRSV
I have read this passage many times. But the last two times I have come across it in my personal reading times I have been struck to the core. Everyday I look in the mirror multiple times. Most bathrooms have mirrors so I catch a glimpse of myself there, stores have mirrors for security and our vanity, windows miraculously offer reflections, and my car has at least three mirrors. I know I have a scar on my forehead, a freckle in the middle of my nose, my eyebrows are full, my smile is crooked favoring the left side, I have a red spot under my left eye which is dark brown, and I am pretty sure I need a hair cut.
I remember who I am between mirror visits. I check back often to ensure I am looking my best. When I am in a store and I walk past a long mirror I can't help but look. When something is out of place it is easy to spot and correct. I am also confident the next time I look at the mirror I will still be me not someone else.
I think that is what we are supposed to do with scripture. We are to stare into the pool of the "perfect law" do two things, 1. Gain our identity from it and 2. remember who we are once we walk away from the text. We are to be "Shaped by the Story." said another way, we are to be what Scripture says we are. Not just do what the bible says, but in fact BE what the Scripture says, believe it and live it, not forgetting who we are between visits. We are sons and daughters of the Creator, made in his image, we are image bearers. We are loved and in response to love others and God. We are being restored and redeemed and called to restore and redeem. We are the body, the church, where Christ is head and with that comes the call to be community. We are chosen, a holy nation, a royal priesthood. We are who God says we are and we are very good. We are guests at the banquet table of God along with everyone else.
We should check back often, adjust what is out of place, and continue to live out our Scripture shaped identities. This is not about living out 5 spiritual laws, acting out 3 steps to a better marriage, business, or friendships, or having some sort of vague guidelines for a "holy life. Rather we are to live into who God has created us to BE. To exist and coexist with God and with others as God intended. We are to look into that "perfect law" and gain our identity and not forget it between visits. That is why we have to check back often, realign, and carry on as part of the Kingdom of God.
That is my prayer this week. To better understand who I am in Christ and to not forget it when I am not actively looking at the mirror of Scripture, but to instead absorb it into my very soul and claim it as my identity.