James 1:21-24 New Living Translation (NLT)
21 So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls.
22 But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. 23 For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. 24 You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like.
My mother has an antique dressing table in my parents guest bathroom where she, my sister and I have sat and applied our war paint for decades. Through the years, as our eye sight has dwindled, she’s added several magnifying mirrors in order for our process to be more effective. The newest one must be magnified 100 times because when I looked into it recently, I gasped! Is that my face? I don’t have blemishes and wrinkles and zits at this age! As I caught a glimpse of the “imperfections” staring back at me, my initial instinct was to turn away and ignore them….but what good would it do to pretend that my skin is “perfect” and doesn’t need some routine maintenance? Instead, I pulled out the tweezers and zit pickers and went to work.
James understood the importance of routine maintenance in our lives. Though we are saved by grace, it doesn’t mean we don’t need to check our soul regularly for zits, mole hairs and other filth that we’ve acquired. When I was first saved I didn’t feel the need to talk to God very frequently about my sins, because, as I understood it, He’d already forgiven me, so why bring them up? Its only been in recent years that He revealed to me that is true- every sin; past, present, future is forgiven….but in order to stay submitted to the Father’s will as Jesus was, I must daily- if not hourly, humble myself before Him and allow His word- written or spoken- to correct me, when needed.
2 Timothy 3:16 New Living Translation (NLT)
16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.
When we fail to surrender our pride & repent for all the ways we put our will above His, we are filling our souls with filth. Eventually, if not extracted, that yuck will pile up into a HUGE black head, which takes a great amount of force to dig out.
As disciples, if we want our lives to reflect Jesus, we need to do more routine maintenance. We must be willing to look into the mirror and allow the Holy Spirit to cleanse us….and then obey what He says. After that, we can effectively apply our war paint for the battle that lies ahead.