Butler, Oklahoma is a place where most of you have never travelled. I was told a few weeks ago that this Western Oklahoma town has dwindled down to 200 residents. But in this town you will find many people who look a lot like me…both of my grandparents grew up in this quaint little town, they fell in love, raised their children and farmed there their entire lives. So with only 200 people left, and most of my relatives living within a couple of hours of this town, when I visit, I look like most of the other women I'm around 🙂 Early this summer Carl and I were driving from Phoenix to Nashville via I-40. And since we were just a few miles away from Butler, we decided to take a brief detour to see my grandparents and to stop by the family reunion. This was Carl's first time to meet most of my extended family and as we drove away later that day he said, “You look just like every girl in that room!” He couldn't believe how strong the “Klein” features run in our family. Without any effort on our own, in a mirror we all look alike.
As my small group began our study in James a few weeks ago we spent a long time talking through these verses:
22 But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. 23 For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. 24 You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. 25 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.
Tyndale House Publishers: Holy Bible : New Living Translation. 2nd ed. Wheaton, Ill. : Tyndale House Publishers, 2004, S. Jas 1:22-25
My first question to the women in my small group was, “Does anything about this verse seem strange?”
They all agreed that there is rarely a time that they walk away from a mirror forgetting what they looked like. As women we don't understand how you could spend 30 minutes or an hour fixing your hair and make-up and then forget what you just did.
As we talked about this passage, we made the decision as a group to apply this concept to our time with the Lord…we encouraged each other to spend intentional time in the Word, and then as we walk away remember what we just read. Better yet, let it change us from the inside out! Here James is emphasising that the Word should impact our lives! We shouldn't just read God's Word to check it off our list, but it should become a part of our very being! It should shape us, change us, and in the end help chip away the parts of our lives that don't look like Jesus. He says when we allow this to happen, it will set us free! How great is that!?!?!
I will always look like my cousins (who are thankfully beautiful), but I hope that the more time I spend in the Word, the more I will look like Jesus. My prayer is that one day people won't say, “Oh, you must be a Klein, you look just like them,” but rather, I pray people will say, “Oh, you must be a Christ follower, you look just like HIM!”
As I spent time in Butler during the days following my grandma's death, however, I saw one Klein that I would love to look like: my grandpa. I watched a grown man lose the love of his life after 64 years of marriage. And as I watched him, I saw a tender, broken man open his Bible and turn to the Lord for strength. I witnessed James 1:22 lived out. My grandpa has spent time in the Word day after day, year after year and he has walked away affected by the Word. He doesn't spend time in the Word and immediately forget what it says, rather he does what it says. He looks like Jesus and loves the way Jesus loves. He is an inspiration to me of how the Word can fully affect a life when we follow the instruction of James and obey the Word of God.
Thank you, Grandpa Klein for demonstrating to me the love of Jesus every day. I love you!