I was reading in the first chapter of James this week and was reminded of something most helpful. It’s about using tools available to us to make us stronger. It’s about looking in a mirror. A mirror tells us the truth. For example, I can look in a mirror and it can tell me that my hair is a mess. I then have two choices: to pick up my tool in the shape of a comb and remedy the problem, or walk away, pretending the problem isn’t there. The latter is never a good idea. The latter will never make my hair look any better. The latter will only make the problem worse as the disheveled hair continues to take on a bedraggled appearance.
It’s the same in our spiritual world. James 1:23-24 tells us, “If you hear the Word and don’t carry it out, it’s like seeing your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like.” We know that God’s Word is “a lamp unto my feet,” as we are told in Psalm 119:105. However, if we simply read God’s Word and don’t apply it to our lives, it’s like walking around with disheveled hair.
We need to use our tool. What is it? It’s the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit. Jesus told us in John 14:16, “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Comforter who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit who leads into all truth…” The Greek word for Comforter is “parakletos” which also translates as Helper or Advocate. When we look into God’s Word for guidance, it is in using the tool of the Holy Spirit that He fills us with God’s comfort, that He helps us to understand the instructions, that when followed, are for our own joy and peace, and that He intercedes for us, pleading our case and our needs to our Father. What a wonderful tool that must not be ignored.
To simply read God’s Word without asking the Holy Spirit to reveal its truth so we may apply it our lives, is like — well — walking around with unkempt hair — not a pretty sight for anyone to behold.