As a part of our getting-dressed routine, most people spend a bit of time in front of a mirror. Whether we are staying indoors all day or going out to face the world, we want to make sure we do the best with what we have been blessed with. The mirror allows us to see ourselves as we really are and gives us opportunities to “fix” some of what needs fixing. For some of us, the time spent in the mirror is determined by any number of factors, but as we are all conscious of what we look like and how others see us, we primp and preen for as long as it takes. Until we are satisfied that the “imperfections” have been taken care of.
As it is in the natural so it should be in the spiritual. Every believer who desires to grow in Christ and who desires to experience a deepening of his or her relationship with Him must constantly check themselves in the mirror of the Word. In James 1:22-25 we read, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does” (NKJV). The true test of how well we are doing in our walk with Christ is not based on what others say about us, but on what the Word reveals about who we are.
In his commentary on this portion of the text, Bible Scholar Matthew Henry writes: “As a looking-glass shows us the spots and defilements upon our faces, that they may be remedied and washed off, so the word of God shows us our sins, that we may repent of them and get them pardoned; it shows us what is amiss, that it may be amended. There are glasses that will flatter people; but that which is truly the word of God is no flattering glass. If you flatter yourselves, it is your own fault; the truth, as it is in Jesus, flatters no man. Let the word of truth be carefully attended to, and it will set before you the corruption of your nature, the disorders of your hearts and lives; it will tell you plainly what you are.”
English writer and religious thinker William Penn was right when he said, “To be like Christ is to be a Christian.” As we go about our day-to-day preparations, let us remember to spend some time before the looking glass of the Word. It will not flatter, “for the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12, KJV), but we can rest assured that if we look in it sincerely, what we see of ourselves – strengths and weaknesses – is exactly what is there. Only then can we ask for help and trust our Lord to help us in the areas that need “fixing”. When was the last time you tried it?