But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it. (NLT)
Some very devout people read the Bible every day. But they never let the Bible read them. Some people have a great appetite for hearing good teaching but it can go in one ear and out the other. Yet others know their Bibles backwards but what is in those Bibles never really sinks in and makes a difference.
Our text likens this to our sneaking a passing glance in the mirror as we pass by. We don’t get a clear idea of what we look like and so don’t bother to take any corrective action. So we might read the Bible regularly or hear Bible teaching regularly but our lives remain largely untouched by it all.
Many of us, if we are honest, recognise that our problem is not lack of knowing what is in the Bible, but a lack of will in putting it into practice. Lifelong Bible readers and even Bible scholars may live lives utterly divorced from the teachings in it. We can be stuffed to overflowing with Bible knowledge and yet not have our lives shaped and reshaped by it.
It may well be that we don’t need more good Bible teaching: we need to improve upon our own Bible learning. Not more information, but more transformation.