“[H]umbly welcome the message implanted within you, which is able to save your souls. But be sure you live out the message and do not merely listen to it and so deceive yourselves. For if someone merely listens to the message and does not live it out, he is like someone who gazes at his own face in a mirror. For he gazes at himself and then goes out and immediately forgets what sort of person he was.”—James 1:21-24 (NET)
We’ve all experienced that a-ha moment, when God has revealed something brand-new to us. And honestly, it’s a great feeling when the Spirit helps us to see God’s will in a new way, whether it’s revealed through the Word or circumstances or when you’re just sitting there and suddenly this revelation hits you.
But here’s what we often forget: Insight is… well, just that. It’s insight. And at the point we receive it, that’s all it is. It’s a good thing, but it’s a comparatively small thing until we actually put it into action. We have an epiphany; we’re inspired by a book or someone’s personal story; we’re moved to tears by a thought. But that’s only a beginning. What we do with it next is what matters.
If we do nothing, the moment passes. Nothing changes. That’s one possibility, and we do it often enough. It’s a shame, but it could be worse. For instance….
If we share about this incredible thing God’s shown us and then do nothing with it, we’re like our James 1 “man in the mirror.” We’re actually worse than when we started, because we’ve taken a gift from God and made it about us. And we’ve probably primped in that mirror more than a few times. Maybe even flexed our muscles to prove to ourselves what powerful spiritual warriors we are. We’re kidding no-one, especially God.
And yet, because of this brief and so far purely mental experience, we allow ourselves to feel superior about it. If we’re not brought to a place of humility and response, we’ve actually allowed something given to us by God to be used by the enemy instead.
And that thought should stop us in our tracks and ask forgiveness right now.