The Man in the Mirror
The title above is also the title of a famous song sung by a famous artist in 1987. That song recognizes an important truth that only by looking intently into a mirror will we ever really see ourselves for what we really are. It calls for an examination of oneself with full knowledge that there are things that need to be addressed and changed in our lives.
So, what’s this talk about mirrors and what is its relevance for followers of Jesus Christ? We know that a mirror shows an image; a reflection. But not all mirrors are equal. Ever seen a funhouse mirror that causes you to look tall and thin or short and stubby? The question is, when you look into a mirror, what do you see? Does your mirror speak the truth about who/what is standing in front of it? What, if anything, are you refusing to see accurately?
In the Old Testament (2 Samuel 12), King David was confronted by God’s prophet, Nathan, after he had sinned by taking Bathsheba to himself and having her husband killed in battle. Following God’s direction, the prophet went to King David to expose his sin. He used a lamb as an illustration that would be familiar to a former shepherd boy in order to capture his attention. As David heard the story, he became very angry, but he was also unguarded and ripe for the sword of the Spirit (the Word of God) to pierce his heart. After David called for punishment of the perpetrator, the Prophet Nathan said, "You are that man!" And, he held up the mirror that revealed David’s true self. No matter how he tried to dress himself up in his position of king in his mind, he was an adulterer and a pre-meditated murderer.
As David came to grips with his sin, the prophet recalled his missteps. First, the king forgot the goodness of the Lord who had given him everything he had and would have given him more. Second, David had despised God's commandment and acted as though he had the privilege of sinning. He bought into the hype about himself and when he looked in the mirror, what he saw was someone who had no accountability. After all, he was king. Who could stand in His way? But God sent him a mirror he could not turn away from or disregard.
We use the mirror of God’s Word for examination, for cleansing and for transformation. Too many Christians merely read their Bibles without examining their life by it; then, they fail to be cleansed by washing of the Word; and, though they may continually confess their sin to God and ask to be cleansed, they fail to grow spiritually by being transformed by the Word.
When a believer looks into the Word of God (God’s mirror), they should see the Son of God. As they study God’s Word, transformation by the Holy Spirit causes that person to become more like Jesus Christ. This transformation is similar to a metamorphosis which is best depicted as a change on the outside that comes from a change on the inside. When an ugly worm turns into a beautiful butterfly, this is metamorphosis: the beauty on the inside is revealed on the outside.
As we meditate on God’s Word, the Spirit renews our mind and reveals the glory of God. Ultimately, we become more like Jesus Christ. But this doesn’t overnight, it is a process. Only by looking through the mirror of God’s Word can we truly see with accuracy who we really are and by obedience to His Word, be transformed.