Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and . . . immediately forgets what he looks like. (James 1:23–24)

THE WORD CHRISTIAN has a simply, literal meaning: “little Christ.” When we call ourselves Christians, we claim to be smaller versions of Christ. We see this concept in much of New Testament writing, admonishing us to reflect, however dimly, the light of Christ.

Sometimes we get so caught up in the complexities of what we believe that we forget what we are to be; we forget what we look like. If we are to be “little Christs” our outward appearance, defined by our words and actions, have extreme significance. All the knowledge of holiness in the world means nothing if this holiness is not lived. James makes this point most strongly. If we know the Word but don’t act on it, we don’t look like the “little Christs” we are called to be.

Jesus once made a dire prediction about many who will call Him Lord. He stated that He will say to them, “I don’t know you.” Why? Because they will not look like Him. And what does Jesus suggest we are to look like if we want resemble Him? He, like James, defines this look in terms of actions: feeding the hungry, visiting the sick, spending time with prisoners. Neither Jesus nor James puts much stock in what we know about Christ. It all hinges on what we do with that knowledge. We must live the Christian life. Otherwise, we no longer look like a “little Christ.”

Look in the mirror and ask, “Lord, do I look like you?”

Brian Niece is a former pastor who is now pursuing a PhD, writing, spending time with his wife and three kids, and watching way too much football.

© 2018 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.