God is more real to me than any thought or thing or person. I feel him in the sunshine or rain; and all mingled with a delicious restfulness most nearly describes my feelings. I talk to him as to a companion in prayer and praise, and our communion is delightful. He answers me again and again, often in words so clearly spoken that it seems my outer ear must have carried the tone, but generally in strong mental impressions. Usually a text of Scripture, unfolding some new view of him and his love for me, and care for my safety… That he is mine and I am his never leaves me; it is an abiding joy. Without it, life would be a blank, a desert, a shoreless, trackless waste. William James.
Although William James was a Harvard psychologist and pragmatist, he captured the essence of the message of the Word. The Word works in many different ways for many different reasons because there are many different people. It can be a quiet whisper, the sound of a ringing bell, or as Jeremiah discovered, it can burn like fire.
Jer 5:13-14 The prophets will become wind; the word is not in them. Thus shall it be done to them! 14 Therefore thus says the Lord, the God of hosts: Because you have spoken this word, behold, I am making my words in your mouth a fire, and this people wood, and the fire shall consume them. ESV
Purity results from refinement, which comes from fire. Today the same thing occurs when the Word is spoken, it purges all lies with the fire of truth. There is nothing that burns to the heart of a matter like the Word of God as it reveals that which is false.
Like A Hammer
Jer 23:29 Is not my word like fire, declares the Lord, and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces? ESV
God’s Word will crush everything that’s untrue. All self-deception and self-righteousness will be broken under His word, crushing everything in our hearts that’s evil. It’s interesting to note that one of the methods of getting the ore out of rock is to roast it in fire and then crush it with a hammer. So it is with the human heart, the sooner it’s pulverized the sooner the sin can be separated from the purity.
Matt 4:4 But he answered, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God. ESV
God gave Israel natural bread and He has given the church Spiritual bread. Without Spiritual bread our spirit will starve and become weak, setting us up for every attack of the enemy. It’s been said that an army marches on its stomach, and so the bride of Christ must march on her spirit; a spirit fully fed with the Word.
Like Incorruptible Seed
Ps 126:5-6 Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! 6 He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him. ESV.
The new King James says continually goes forth, the thought being that sowing is associated with death (dying daily; sowing in tears). Jesus said the same thing:
John 12:24-25 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25 Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. ESV
We have to continually die to ourselves, sowing ourselves on the Cross with Jesus was just the beginning. There is, however, a great promise in so doing; joy will come because there is a resurrection after death. And for us to die daily is to keep ourselves in a position to reap His joy daily.
Like A Mirror
James 1:23-25 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25 But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. ESV
The Phillips translation puts it a little clearer:
James 1:23-25 The hearing-but-not-doing man is like a person who sees the reflection of his own face in a mirror. He sees himself, it’s true, but he goes on with whatever he was doing without the slightest recollection of what sort of person he saw in the mirror.
He takes time to examine himself but then he walks away without noticing anything in his appearance (spirit) that needs his attention.
James referred to God’s mirror (His Word) and the mistakes we often make: we merely glance at ourselves, we don’t look deeply enough into our heart, and like Isaiah proclaim woe is me, for I am undone. We fail to obey what the Word tells us to do because we think hearing is the same as doing. We often substitute reading and talking for doing, which is a poor substitute for serving. But, said James, the man who makes a habit of looking into the perfect law of God will become a “doer” of the work and find true happiness … simply one who performs it.
The Word of God operates in various ways but the desired result is the same in all cases. God is most interested in using His Word to remove all the barriers—the spots and blemishes—that are keeping us from becoming more like His Son every day. He may use it to “fire” us up, to “crush” the sin we want to hang onto, to “feed” our spirit with precious bread from heaven, “bury” the old and “sow” new life, or show us a “reflection” of who we are so He can reveal whose we are.
Jesus is the Word, He is the fire, He is the hammer, He is the bread, He is the seed, and it’s His image (His character) that we need to see in the mirror.