It is natural for a person to be drawn to a mirror. Only when we are struggling with mental or emotional disorders do we avoid the mirror. It really doesn’t matter where we are or even what we are doing, if we come across a mirror we will look to see how we appear in the mirror. Several years ago we owned a house (actually we owned it along with the mortgage company) which had mirrors all along the wall as one entered the front door. It was always interesting to watch as people came into the house and immediately noticed the mirrors. Just about everyone who entered looked to see if they needed to make any adjustments as they came on into the house.
In the Book of James in our New Testament, he compares the word of God to a mirror. Notice what he said, “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediatly forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.” (James 1:22-25)
If you remember the television show “Happy Days” you remember the fonze looking at the mirror and seeing only perfection. In his view nothing needed to be changed. If a person can read the Bible without seeing anything in their own life that needs to change then they aren’t really seeing the word of God correctly or they are not being honest with themselves.
Think about different ways people look into the mirror. Some look and can’t ever see anything but ugliness and filth. It isn’t that they are ugly or filthy. It is that their vision has become so clouded that they can’t see anything good about themselves. Looking in the mirror becomes fearful. I’ve known people who would remove all the mirrors from their home to keep from looking at themselves since they couldn’t see anything they wanted to see. If our view into the word of God shows only the ugliness of sin and failure we are missing some very important things. It is certainly true we need to see our sin, since we all sin and fall short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23). But we need also to see we are ones made in the very image and likeness of God and have been made a little lower than God who has put all things under our feet. (Genesis 1:26-27; Psalms 8). We are so valuable to God that He willingly gave His unique Son to die on our behalf so we could be saved from our sins.
Some look into the mirror and can’t see anything but beauty. Think of the young girl who is starving herself to get skinner all the time so she can look like one of the models on TV. Everyone around her sees her as skin and bones that looks more like a starving child in India than a model, but when she looks into the mirror she sees either beauty or even one who needs to lose more weight. The only way we can ever make anything better in life is to see ourselves as we really are.
Some look into the mirror only to make comparison. I may not look great but I look better than someone else that I know. We may even blame them for our failure to look good. If they hadn’t said or done something to hurt our feelings we would be much better off. The huge problem that Jesus had with the Pharisees was that they could see what was wrong with everyone besides themselves. As long as I can remember the favorite excuse for not being regular in church has been that there are so many hypocrites there. Perhaps the best thing one can do is to encourage the person to come on and join us, one more hypocrite can’t hurt. It is impossible to see others in a correct way until we look at ourselves honestly. After all we are all sinners saved by grace if we are saved at all.
Some look into the mirror like the first man James mentions and sees the reality that there are things that need to be changed, but do nothing to change them and go on their way forgetting about the whole thing as they become involved with something else. What value is a mirror if we don’t do anything to improve when we see things that need to be changed?
Some, thank God, look into the mirror and see themselves as they really are, with flaws, scars, spots and wrinkles, but one who is loved by God and offered blessings and help with every problem or challenge in life. What they see as wrong they set about to change with God’s help and the help of those who love them. They continue in the word of God as a doer of the word not just as a hearer. What can happen is that we can reach the time when we look into the mirror of God’s word and don’t just see ourselves but see Jesus. In 2 Corinthians 3:18 Paul wrote “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.”
It would be great if we all looked intently into the mirror of God’s word regularly and saw Jesus clearly with eyes of love, hands and side scarred, head with a crown of thorns and heart that is broken every time we refuse him. If we look and yield to the Spirit’s work in us we will be transformed into His likeness day by day.