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We all remember the scene from Snow White.The Evil Queen stands in front of the mirror and says “Magic Mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest one of all?” When the mirror replies that she is no longer the fairest in the kingdom that’s when all the trouble starts for poor Snow White.(Go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c-i8zKJaHMA&feature=related to refresh your memory).
You’ve got to hand it to the Queen, at least she knew where to go to evaluate her appearance.She knew the mirror would reveal what she needed to know about herself.
Likewise with us, as Christians, our Lord gives us a “mirror” that we are to use for our self-examination.Unlike the magic mirror of Snow White, this “mirror” reveals our life’s condition in the eyes of God.It is a very powerful, valuable tool that is far too often overlooked.
What is this tool?How often should we use it?We’ll answer these questions in today’s blog…
But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For 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: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. (Jas 1:22-25)
In our text, we can see that the mirror God has given to His people is the Bible, His Word.When we read the Bible and compare it to our lives, we receive an image of what our life looks like in the sight of God.
If you notice also in our text this powerful tool can be misused.Instead of leading us to a more Christ-like life, it can be misused causing self-deceit.If we go to God’s Word, receive its truth but then forget what we have read, we have just deceived ourselves.We are thinking, “Boy, I have really pleased the Lord today, I read His Word! (but then forgot it)”; but, in reality, we have not pleased Him at all.
It is clear to see in our text, that the Lord meant for His Word to be read AND APPLIED.To read His Word without application is like buying a gallon of paint but never putting it on the wall.It is purchased, but it’s not put to use.Likewise, reading His Word.Reading His Word takes an investment of time and energy (in a sense “purchasing it”), but if we never apply it, the Word’s usefulness is ignored.
Notice that our text finishes with a promise of a blessing to those who read and apply His Word.This is incredible display of His grace to us.Don’t we deserve a blessing when we use His Word wisely? Let’s stop and think of some basic truths for just a minute:
Firstly, when God created man, He was NOT obligated to give us His Word to direct our lives.After creation and the fall, He could have just as easily left sinful mankind to go his own way. This would have led mankind into an eternity in the lake of fire. But He didn’t do this. He gave us His Word to lead us to Christ.
Secondly, once again, as newly saved Christians, we did not deserve His Word.But He gave us His Word for the Spirit to use to guide us as we live our life.Please notice, in both cases, He gave to us what we did not deserve; He did it simply because He loved us!
Now to take it a step further, the Lord promises to bless those of us who not only read, but, apply His Word to our lives.This, after he graciously gave us His Word and His Spirit to lead and guide us!!!Now, He rewards us for what is our duty to do (Luke 17:10).We owe it to Him to apply His Word; we are not doing Him any favors when we use His Word in the way it was intended.What an absolutely incredible display of His mercy and kindness to us.This is amazing grace!
THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:
For those of us who are forgiven of our sins…
If we understand how good God has been in giving us His Word, how can we waste this blessing by not applying it to our lives?I am the first to admit, at times, reading His Word and applying it to my life hurts.It’s not easy to see my faults.It’s even harder to overcome them through the power of the Spirit.It’s not easy, it’s painful, but it’s a necessity.We owe it to our Lord.Praise Him, He promises to bless us when we use His Word wisely!
For those who have not come to faith in Christ…
Please remember, one of the greatest reasons the Lord has given His Word to the world is to show mankind its need to be saved from their sin. Also, His Word tells us the way of salvation, placing our God-given faith in Christ.What is your first step to coming to faith in Christ.Look into His Word, see what your condition is and what can be done to remedy that condition.One place you might begin is Ephesians chapter 2.If you have any questions, or you would like to talk to someone about your spiritual condition, feel free to email me or get in contact with any Bible-believing church in your area.
If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.
Follow my Squidoo Instructional Lens “Presenting God’s Grace”
“The Solemn Obligation To Present the Doctrines of Grace to the Lost and Saved Alike”
May the Lord bless your study of His Word.
Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”
“The Thinker” is the name of a very widely recognized statue created by Auguste Rodin. The thinker represents “a man in sober meditation battling with a powerful internal struggle.” (Quote from http://www.statue.com/the-thinker-statue.html)
Did you know that the Word of God encourages each of us to be this type of “thinker”? Let’s take a moment to see what the Lord has to say …
Now therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways.
Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes.
Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways. (Hag 1:5-7)
In our text, the main thrust of these verses centers around the phrase “consider your ways” –
The word “consider” is a translation of a three-word Hebrew phrase:
1. the first word of the phrase means “to consider, to examine, to give attention”;
2. the second word carries with it the idea of “the heart, the innermost parts”;
3. the third Hebrew word in our phrase is defined as “according to, because of”
The Hebrew word for “ways” is simply referring to the paths we have chosen to follow in our life.
If we put all of our ideas together we get this idea: the Lord is telling us to “to closely examine our hearts to understand the motives that drive our life choices.” How important it is for us to simply ask the question, “Why do we do what we do?”
The Lord was speaking to members of Israel whose lives were exhibiting a lack of satisfaction and contentment, and the resulting loss of divine blessings. He is instructing them to take time to ask the questions… “What is in your hearts that causes you to be never satisfied nor content?” and “What is taking place within you that is causing a lack of blessings to come your way?”
THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION
Both for those who have trusted in Christ as their Savior, and for those who have never come to repentance and faith in Him… the need to examine our life’s motives cannot be underestimated.
For the Christian….
By examining our motives for our life choices, we can more easily see when our love for our Lord is beginning to grow cold. When we love Him as we should, His will and desires for us will take preeminence in our decision making.
We will ALWAYS put Him first, when we love Him as we should. (Deut 6:5-9, Matt 22:37-38) Do we find ourselves putting others ahead of the Lord in our life’s decisions? Someplace along life’s path, sin has slipped into our life and our love for Him has grown cold… (Matt 24:12) It is our responsibility to come before Him asking for forgiveness and allow Him to restore a right heart… (1 John 1:8-10)
For those who have never trusted in Christ…
By examining the driving forces behind your decision making, you will quickly come to a realization that the fulfillment of the desires of your flesh and mind are the driving forces in your life choices. The Lord explains your condition in this way:
“Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.”(Eph 2:2-3)
If you see yourself in this condition what must be done? The Lord clearly reveals the answer to this question in the following verses:
“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”(Eph 2:4-9)
In these verses, the two main points that are presented are:
#1 – Christ must intervene in your life and grant you spiritual life. This can only be done through an act of God. No man can merit, nor gain, this gift of spiritual life through any works he may perform.
#2 – It is imperative that one who is dead in their sins come to Christ in submission to Him, humbly recognizing they can do nothing to gain their own salvation. A part of this submissive spirit is the willingness to turn their past sins, to trust Him with their entire life, and accept Him as Lord of their life.
Christ’s promise to each one who sincerely seeks Him….
And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not. All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day. (Joh 6:35-40)
If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at email@example.com. I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.
Follow my Squidoo Instructional Lens “Presenting God’s Grace” “The Solemn Obligation To Present the Doctrines of Grace to the Lost and Saved Alike” http://www.squidoo.com/presenting-gods-grace
May the Lord bless your study of His Word. Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”