Mirrors! Mirrors! They are everywhere it seems. In addition to being useful, they are also fascinating to us. A child or an animal may be entertained by just looking into a mirror. We probably all looked into a mirror this morning and hopefully were benefited by that. Grooming is the most common usage for mirrors; but they are also used for decoration, for safety in driving, for security, in instruments and even for entertainment (e.g., distortion mirrors and mirror mazes). A mirror has many uses, but what are its purposes? It is designed to reflect. It reflects an image, a light or a view. A mirror enables you to see things that you would not be able to see otherwise. In a way, our Bible functions for us like a mirror.
A Reflection of Self
When you look in your mirror today, after you check your grooming, look into your heart and ask yourself, Who is that girl in the glass? Is she kind, thoughtful, honest and unselfish? Would you want her for your closest friend? Chelsea Tidwell said, “I look in the mirror and don’t like what I see. Is the mirror broken, or maybe it’s me?” That’s a thought to ponder! The physical reflection in our mirrors is of the external. It shows us only what is on the surface, but the Word of God gives us a reflection of the internal—what is inside our hearts. A mirror reflects our physical blemishes, but the Bible reflects our spiritual blights. We may look in the mirror and see a facial blemish. To conceal that, we have to have that Cover Girl. But when we look into the Bible, we see our sin. The only cover for sin is the blood of Jesus Christ: “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (II Cor. 5:21). Cover Girl can’t do it! We all care about our grooming, but the Bible says that our real adorning is the inner adorning of the heart (I Pet. 3:4). Beauty is not in fancy clothes, elaborate hairdos or expensive jewelry. We all have to battle the excess concern about the external. I just love pretty shoes, but shoe shopping is getting harder for me. Now they have to be pretty and comfortable! As we give attention to the inner adorning, it is important that we remember to avoid excesses and extremes in our outward adorning so we won’t dishonor the Lord or diminish our testimony. When we come to Christ, He changes us inside and out. He gives us beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness (Isa. 61:3). He changes our conditions of mourning to conditions of celebration. We give Him all the ugliness of our sin and He gives the beauty of holiness back.
A Reflection of the Saints
“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”—II Cor. 3:18.
Have you ever had a total stranger ask, “Are you a Christian?” That’s a compliment. It should show even in an external way. Someone has said that “religion is an outward expression, salvation is an inward possession, but an internal possession produces an outward expression.” Sadly, not all people who claim to be Christians reflect that spirit. Someone once complained to D. L. Moody about the hypocrites in the church. His reply was, “Yes, there are hypocrites in the church and in the lodge and in the home. Just go home, look in the mirror and make sure that there is one less!”
A Reflection of God
How can we see God since human eyes cannot look upon a holy God? John 1:18 says, “No man hath seen God at any time.” But when we look into His Word, we can see something of the essence of God. We see Him in His might as the Creator of the universe and as the all-powerful God. We see Him in His majesty as King of Kings and Lord of Lords to be worshiped and adored. We see Him in His mercy in providing an escape from eternal damnation. He is the Mighty God, the Majestic King and the Merciful Savior! When we really see Him and really see ourselves, it should cause us to turn to Him in repentance and bow before Him in reverence, honoring and worshiping Him.
When Daniel, our grandson, was about eight years old, Melanie was teaching him the motion in sign language for the name “Jesus.” As she put her finger into the palm of each of her hands, indicating the place of the nails in the hands of Jesus, a fuller realization of the truth dawned upon him. He knew what had happened and mentioned the nails in His hands and in His feet. Then he looked up at his mother and asked, “Did it hurt?” She nodded her head and said, “Yes, it really did!” That truth overwhelmed Daniel. He stood there for a moment, then dropped his head down onto his chest and started crying! When I heard that, I started crying! May we never forget the price that was paid for our sin. “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed” (Isa. 53:5). When someone asks us to serve her turn in the nursery, before we answer, I hope those words will ring in our hearts: “Did it hurt?” When we feel we are not appreciated and before we start feeling sorry for ourselves, I hope we will think of those words: “Did it hurt?” When you are snubbed because of your Christian standards, recall the question: “Did it hurt?” When you are weary in the journey, “Did it hurt?” Our hurts seem so insignificant when we think of His suffering for us. Surely we can bear up under some discomfort for the cause of Christ. A mirror is no good without light. “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all” (I John 1:5). “The entrance of thy words giveth light” (Ps. 119:130). If we can look into the Word of God without having it change us, then either we are not seeing things clearly, or we need the Light. “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.”— Jas. 1:22–24.
It is possible to look and not really see; that is, what you see doesn’t register. We may look and see but soon forget. Some people look with indifference, with a “so what?” attitude of unbelief. Some people say, “I just can’t see it.” I think what they often mean is “I refuse to see it.”
“But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.”—Vs. 25.
Let’s look deliberately, thoughtfully, prayerfully and frequently.
A Reflection of the Society
If, when we look into the mirror, we turn our eyes from our own image and look through the mirror over our shoulder, we will see a reflection of the society about us. That society is the neighbor across the street, the man at the service station and the lady at the beauty shop. We see a world in need, oppressed by sin. Their lives are in a downward spiral, sin begetting sin. It may be that they are holding on to a false hope or they are possessed by their possessions or perhaps they think they will find happiness in the pursuit of pleasure. It is sad to see the hurt that comes to people who don’t know the Lord. The self-indulgent lifestyle often leads to destructive addictions. Sometimes we see people who appear to have no shame of sin, or even worse, who take pride in their ungodliness. May the Lord help us have compassion enough to reach out to them. Matthew 9:36 says, “But when he [Jesus] saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.” Their only hope is to be changed by the power of the Word of God. It is our privilege and responsibility to show them the way of salvation.
When you look into the mirror in self-examination, are you pleased with the girl in the glass? Ask yourself these questions:
1. Am I who I think I am?
2. Am I who I want to be?
3. Am I who God wants me to be?
If you appear to be broken as you look in the mirror of God’s Word, you have a choice to do something about it. No doubt we all have some areas of brokenness. Let’s let the Lord mend them for us. A broken mirror can’t be fixed, but a broken heart or a broken life or a broken spirit He can mend. I can’t do it for you, but I know Someone who can.
Dr. Shelton Smith | Editor of the Sword of the Lord