Speaking to the Soul – August 25

Remember what God has said to you

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. James 1:23-24

My ability to forget things constantly amazes me, but it probably shouldn’t. The brain decreases in size in our 30s and 40s and, more rapidly, in our 60s. Norman Wisdom, the much- loved comedian and actor, said: “As you get older three things happen. The first is your memory goes…and I can’t remember the other two.” In our verses today James points out the absurdity of looking in a mirror and then immediately forgetting what you have seen. At the time, mirrors were made of highly polished metal, placed horizontally on a table for people to examine themselves in. The refection would not have been as clear as that which we see in a modern mirror, but to not remember anything would have been crazy!

Forgetting what you look like is relatively unimportant, but remembering what God’s word says is in a different category. This is a matter of spiritual life and death. We can’t run the risk of listening to what God has to say and then totally forgetting it. So how are we going to remember God’s words? James’ advice is to put it into practice. As we turn God’s words into action, we are bound to think deeply about their meaning and the way in which they impact our lives practically.

I wonder how you hear God’s word. Many of us do so by listening to sermons, but most people often totally forget what was said by the end of the week. There are many things that can be done to help with this. Some find it helpful to make notes while listening – that certainly helps me. Others talk with a friend or discuss the sermon in a small group. All of these things are helpful, but none of them beats taking immediate action and putting what you’ve heard into practice straight away.

How do you help yourself to remember what God has said to you?

Loving God, forgive me that I find it so easy to get distracted and forget what you have said to me. Help me to become better at listening to your word and then putting it into practice. Amen