James 1:22-25 (NLT)
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.
James instructs those who hear God’s word that they should also follow His word. It is not just enough to hear and remember, but to also practice what is heard. Just as a mirror shows us who we are, God’s word also shows us who we are. It reflects back those areas of our life containing sin and shows us our imperfection.
The word compartmentalize means to cut up or separate into isolated compartments or categories. Compartmentalization is a psychological term for figuratively taking parts of one’s life and placing it into different containers and then believing those parts can remain separated. For instance President Clinton was highly disciplined, highly motivated, charming and at ease speaking to others. Yet Bill Clinton stood in front of a camera, pointed his finger at American and said, “I did not have sex with that woman.” Bill Clinton thought he could separate off the part of his life that would bring disgrace and humiliation from the rest of his life. He was trying to be multiple people to multiple situations. But as America witnessed those pieces Clinton had separated eventually came together. This is what James is talking about. When we hear God’s word we should practice what we hear to the point we are one person. If someone sees us at church we are the same person seen out in the public or at work. But when we allow sin to take over parts of our life we suddenly find ourselves being different in different situations trying to hold a reflection of our life together. No matter how hard we try to keep it separate it is all there reflected back at us. James starts out in chapter 1 saying, “3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” Pray that you might be perfect, complete and whole in Christ. Pray sin might not separate your actions and words from others.