James: In Obedience (Steal My Gaze, Jesus)

Steal My Gaze, Jesus

James 1:17-26

Everyone should be quick to listen, and slow to speak, and slow to become angry.

—James 1:19

I can’t tell you how frequently and thoroughly I fail this holy advice.

I often leave conversations regretting my words and feeling a sense of failure. In many areas of my life, failure is an emotional hole into which I often find myself falling. I frequently have feelings of failure when I’ve not measured up to a moral standard to which I’ve committed myself, or when I’ve not met an expectation I think should be met. Some of those feelings are deeply rooted in a fear of how people see me; I feel shaken and insecure. Sometimes, they are rooted in disappointment with myself.

In the middle of this section, James talks about a person who looks in a mirror, and going away, forgets what he looks like. James says this is the person that hears the word of God but doesn’t act on it.

I’ve always taken that to mean me,

Describing each of my failures,

But it’s not;

I didn’t understand what was being said.

I would have thought the opposite person would have left the mirror, remembered the lesson, and followed through in obedience.

That’s not what James is saying.

The second person never actually looks into a mirror (or at themselves);

The second person looks at the perfect law that brings freedom.

I often look in a mirror, justly finding my faults, promising to do better next time, and walk away only to continue to be the man I saw in the mirror and swore to change.

I am not called to look into a mirror.

I am called to “look into the perfect law—that gives freedom.”

The perfect law that always points toward and hinges on

Jesus and the cross.


David wrote something amazing in Psalm 27:

One thing I ask from the Lord
this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord
and to seek him in his temple.



Father, I fixate on my failure. You only ask that I keep my eyes fixed on you. Forgive me for mirror-looking and for heaping condemnation on myself where you have promised me freedom.  In you alone is my strength, rest, joy, and obedience. Steal my gaze toward yourself, Jesus.


Hear my voice when I call, Lord;
be merciful to me and answer me.
My heart says of you, “Seek his face!
Your face, Lord, I will seek.

—Psalm 27:7-8


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