“We can be mirrors that brightly reflect the Lord” 2 Cor. 3:18
Thursday morning, 5:30, Paul automatically got up, set the coffee pot to brew, let out the cat and headed to the bathroom. Ugh! He reacted as he caught sight of his sleepy-eyed face through half-closed lids. I look pretty rough for a 50-year-old man. He hit the shower, basking in the warm, steamy flow.
Now, after a shower and shave, Paul reassessed his reflection. Ahh, now that’s much better, he smiled, not bad, not bad at all. Involuntarily sucking in his gut and lifting his chin to diminish the loose neck skin, and pulling back his shoulders for height and proper posture, Paul saw more of what he wanted to see rather than reality. Leaving his imaginary, fit, wrinkle-free body behind, Paul was ready to confront the world, failing to realize that all but himself saw the actual, less-than-perfect Paul.
Spiritually, we all live in the seeing-what-we-want-to-see world. In our spiritual mirrors, we see dedicated, spiritually sincere, forgiving, loving, giving servants ready to display our faith at a moment’s notice! Imperfections, What imperfections? Well maybe a tad bit unforgiving…but her snide remarks cut to the quick and his behavior at the pot luck was absolutely thoughtless and rude. But not to worry, I will work on forgiving both of them which should not be too challenging since I only see them at the annual city-wide evangelical conference.
Just as Paul was able to ignore his actual mirror image, we may be seeing the spiritual image of ourselves we want to see. However, just as in Paul’s case, our friends and co-workers see who we actually are. They do not have a cloudy filter, filing off our sharp, less-than-Christian edges. No, they see through our disguise. They see the real us, for better or worse.
To those who interact with us regularly, we are quite transparent, just as they are to us. How many times have you thought or said something like, “He doesn’t know that we can see his insecurity and anxiousness. He thinks it is well hidden.” The same statements are being made about you and me by our friends. We are all transparent—especially to the Lord.
If it helps to make a mental picture, think of yourself as the Emperor in a short tale by Hans Christian Andersen about two weavers who promise an Emperor a new suit of clothes that is invisible to those unfit for their positions, stupid, or incompetent. When the Emperor parades before his subjects in his new clothes, a child cries out, “But he isn’t wearing anything at all!”
Physically, our mental body-filtering keeps us from seeing the harsh reality of excess weight, age, diminished hair and changing hair color as we gaze into the mirror. But spiritually, we may be cutting off our only hope of true change for the better, by deflecting the voice of the Holy Spirit who may be speaking through others and trials to fine tune us into the people He wants us to be, reflections of His purity and Christlikeness.
1 Corinthians 13:11-13 When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.
2 Corinthians 3:18 But all of us who are Christians have no veils on our faces, but reflect like mirrors the glory of the Lord. We are transfigured by the Spirit of the Lord in ever-increasing splendour into his own image.
James 1:21-25 So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls. But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror; You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. 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.
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any double-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, both joints and marrow, and able to judge the reflections and thoughts of the heart.
As we gaze into God’s mirror, we see ourselves as perfect because God views us through the filter of Christ’s blood. Through our faith in Jesus, we are made whole. God sees us as righteous, deserving of eternal life with Him. As we walk with the Lord, His reflection will be seen in us through our love. “If you have love for one another, then everyone will know that you are my disciples.” ~John 13:35