Contending for the faith | Making Disciples | Equipping the Saints for Ministry

by Rayola Kelley

I’m sure most of you remember the question from the classic Disney cartoon, Snow White; “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?”

I thought about this question and the impact mirrors can make on people. Mirrors can be our best friend or our greatest nightmares. Even though mirrors care only able to reflect something, a person’s perception will determine what they really see when they look into a mirror.

Many objects serve as mirrors. A beautiful body of water can reflect the sky and scenery around it. A shining object such as a car can allow us to see clear forms or impressions of something. Of course there are actual mirrors that can be found in various rooms in our homes.

People act differently when it comes to mirrors. Some people spend more time than others in front of the mirror. Some are impressed with what they see when looking in the mirror while others avoid the mirror because they can’t face the image that looks back at them. Some even makes faces at the reflection they see.

As for me I realize mirrors are to serve as a reality check. For example, I think of myself as being age 21 but when I look in the mirror I have to face the harsh reality that I am only three years away from hitting my half-century mark. I can see the areas where I need physical improvement or things I need to be aware of.

Thus far the mirrors I have written about deal with the outward appearance but there are mirrors that reveal the inner man. After all, when it comes to eternity, the outer man has no bearing as to where people will spend their after-life. It is the inner man who determines not only a person’s spiritual state, but also their eternal destination. There are three such mirrors that reveal the inner man.

The first mirror is the Person of Jesus Christ. The key to this mirror being effective is that a person must have a right perception of Him. If a person’s perception of Jesus is erroneous then he or she will have a mirror that will have a marred reflection of his or her spiritual condition. This marred reflection will cause confusion, disillusionment, and unbelief in the individual as he or she struggles with issues that result in defeat. Each defeat causes this mirror to become darkened as the individual becomes lost and deluded about his or her spiritual state.

Jesus serves as man’s visible example in two ways: That of servitude and sacrifice (John 13:5-15; 1 Peter 2:21-23). The mirror of Jesus shows one how far away he or she is from reflecting the glory of God. This reflection does not depend on action as much as it does on having the right attitude. This is why we are commanded to have the mind of Christ in Philippians 2:5. If you do not have the attitude of Jesus towards God you will be more interested in doing it your way then God’s way. As a result, you will never be able to bring glory to God; thereby, reflecting His glory to those around you.

What does the Person of Jesus reflect about your attitude?

The second mirror is the Word of God. Both the Old and New Testaments confirm this fact. The laver in the tabernacle represented the Word of God. In Exodus 38:8, we see where this brass object was made out of the looking glasses (or mirrors) of the women assembling at the door of the tabernacle. This object was not only meant to cleanse the priests of the residues of the world so they could enter into the Holy Place but it was to reflect where these unholy residues resided in their lives and conduct.

James 1:22-24 continues this theme: “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 the natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.”

The Word of God serves as a sharp sword that reveals man’s motivations and intents (Hebrews 4:12). This simply means the Word exposes what spirit a person is of. If a person has a wrong spirit, he or she will mishandle the word and it will be devoid of the power to change, correct, or instruct the person in righteousness. (See Romans 1:18; 2 Timothy 2:15; 3:15-17.) It is in the power of the Bible to change. The Word of God can cleanse the inner man, keep him or her from sin, and bring life and revival to a lean soul (Ephesians 5:26; Psalm 119:11; John 6:63).

Does the Word of God serve as the mirror to you or are you looking into it but not properly responding in obedience and application?

The final mirror that exposes the inner man are people. The people who serve as powerful mirrors are those with who we are intimately or closely involved. For example, spouses, children, friends, and co-workers effectively serve as mirrors to our inner man.

You might be asking how can individuals be mirrors? The answer is simple, they reveal our human frailties and flaws.

People with whom we are intricately involved will bring out the good and bad in us. They will expose our quality of character and cause pride to raise its head when there are misunderstandings and hurts. They will show us how self-centered we are and uncover insecurities, fears, and unresolved issues from the past. In fact, what we often judge as flaws in their character is what plagues us in our character. But the problem is that many fail to recognize such flaws because they do not realize that the person is simply being a reflection of their own inadequacies to either cope with personal failures, sins, attitudes, hurts, or wounds.

Jesus talked about this scenario in Matthew 7:1-6. He described it in relationship of a person trying to take a mote out of someone’s character when the individual has a beam in his or her own character.

Through the years I have had to face myself in various ways as I encountered a reflection of my own flaws in others. I realize that I often reacted with great passion against the things that pushed and tormented me the most in my own life. I realized that God was not only using the individual to expose these hidden problems but He wanted to use that person to sharpen my character (Proverb 27:17).

As I have matured in my life in God, I have come to appreciate these three mirrors. I realize if these mirrors didn’t exist I could easily believe I was the fairest of them all in all of my religious piousness instead of discovering the One who is the chiefest among ten thousand, Jesus Christ. (Romans 12:3; Song of Solomon 5:10).

I admit I don’t always like what I see in these mirrors but instead of hiding from their reflections or allowing darkness to cloud the reflections, I embrace them. As a result, God has been able to redefine, cleanse, and sharpen my character to reflect the image of Christ in greater measure.

When was the last time you examined your spiritual life in light of these mirrors? As we move into Spring, allow these mirrors to give you a reality check. Do not run from the reflections or allow darkness to mar them but embrace the reality of each mirror so that the resurrected Christ can be reflected in your life in a greater way.