THE MAN IN THE MIRROR
In life each one of us resorts to certain things to remind us about what is important. Some people put a happy face on their refrigerator to remind them to smile and be happy. Others carry a coin of some kind in their pocket to remind them of their need to pray without ceasing. Others wear a particular piece of clothing to remind them of who they are before God – like nuns, priests, and other religious orders. Some people tie a string around a finger to remind them about something that needs to be done – and they keep it there until after they have done it.
Some time ago I was with a friend who feels called by God to work among the homeless. At his invitation, I went to their “camp” in some woodlands within the city limits. Hidden among the majestic trees of this forest they had set up their “village” consisting of about five or six tents and other more open places where the homeless in the camp gather to eat and interact.
Off to the side in a more secluded area I noticed a good-sized mirror affixed to a tree. My friend paused by the mirror and gave me an explanation as to why it was there. “There are moments in my life when I think of things I shouldn’t or react in ways I know are not pleasing to God,” he said. “In those moments I catch myself and walk to this mirror to look into my eyes to remind myself that these things are not honoring to God. The Bible tells us to examine ourselves and ‘to bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.’ (II Cor. 10:5) So that’s what this mirror is about. I encourage the men to use it when they feel “self” needs to be talked to and firmly reminded again about a life that honors the Lord.”
Some may consider this exercise a little flighty or extreme – but I clearly got what my friend was saying. Each one of us is responsible to “work out” what God has “worked in.” The Apostle Paul regularly had to grab himself by the spiritual scruff of the neck to reckon the old sinful man dead and the new man alive unto Christ. (Romans 6) And so must we. The book of James is regarded as the “Proverbs of the New Testament.” It is a very practical book about life and how we should live. In it James talks about “the man in the mirror.” “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it – he will be blessed in what he does.” (James 1:22-25 NIV)
In all our lives, there are times when the “old man” needs to be reined in that “…in everything He (Christ) might have the pre-eminence.” (Col. 1:18) “For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin – because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.” (Romans 6:6-7 NIV)
Be blessed my friend.
The Barnabas Group (Loads of Love)
Colossians 1:21-23; 4:6; Galatians 6:14; Romans 6:1-14: Eph. 5:19; Matthew 5:37