Can you remember how many selfies have you taken in your life? Dozens? Hundreds? Thousands?
Here’s a challenge: how many of them do you remember right now?
I bet it’s not many.
I have over 60,000 digital images in my photo library (not many are selfies, though).1 As long as I have a general idea of when the picture was taken, I can find it. But I don’t always remember the picture correctly.
For example, the other day I (temporarily) colored my hair blue for Crazy Hair Night at AWANA. I shared a picture with some of my online friends, and some of them wanted to see pictures of the other times I’ve colored my hair. So, I told them that the first time I colored my hair I had orange polka dots. I went on a hunt to find those old photos. It took a bit, but I found them.
It turns out that I got orange zig zags rather than polka dots.
I had remembered it wrong.
Now, that isn’t too surprising since those pictures are over a decade old, but it goes to show how the human mind forgets things. Sometimes it doesn’t matter. Normally you don’t have to remember what you had for breakfast last year on May 20, what outfit you wore to the mall five months ago, or when you first read a newspaper.
We are prone to forget things…
Some things are important to remember. Apple and Google have recognized that we forget pictures easily. That’s why Apple introduced the Moments feature in their Photo apps and why Google Photos has the Assistant to make cool things. So we can remember the photos we take.
The Bible is an important thing to remember. Actually, it’s the most important thing we need to remember. That’s because the Bible is the Word of God. In it, God tells us who he is, how and why he created us, why our sin separates us from God, and that he still loves us. Because of that love, even though we are separated from God because of our sin, God made a way for us to be saved and reunited with him through Jesus Christ.
This is what the book of James has to say about forgetting and not doing what the Word of God says:
22 But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 Because if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like someone looking at his own face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of person he was. 25 But the one who looks intently into the perfect law of freedom and perseveres in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer who works — this person will be blessed in what he does.James 1:22–25 CSB
Just like forgetting what selfies you’ve taken or forgetting your outward appearance after a glance in a mirror, forgetting what we read in the Bible makes reading it useless because we don’t remember what it says about us, our actions, our sin, God, or what God has done for us.
But it isn’t enough to just remember
James isn’t saying that remembering is enough. He says we need to act on what we read in the Bible.
If you took the best selfie ever but never posted it or looked at it again, what benefit would it be? What if you looked in the mirror and saw that you needed a haircut, but never got a haircut? That selfie would be pointless and the glance in the mirror would be useless.
That’s what James is talking about. We cannot just read the Bible and forget it. Remembering it isn’t enough.
We need to read the Bible, study the Bible, remember the Bible, and act according to what God reveals to us about ourselves through his Word.
If we don’t work out our faith with fear and trembling, what good does reading the Bible to us?
Yeah, I know I have a problem. ↩