This might seem like an odd question, especially coming from me. But tonight, after sitting through our Sunday night mission group devo and Spanish class, watching a movie with friends, and doing my nightly lobby and duty and monitor's report, I sit in a quiet apartment with thoughts racing through my head. It is almost mid-March and I have been spending 2-3 hours a day working on plans for the mission trips, booking tickets, contacting hotels, and sending out emails and making phone calls for weeks. It has been a tremendously fast paced time with very little down time, let along quiet time. But now, at 2:30 in the morning, it is quiet and I have time to think.
Anyways, back to the question. What do you see when you look in a mirror? I don't like looking in a mirror. At all. I don't like what I see. For that matter, I don't like looking at recent photos in which I am in for the same reason. All I can see are flaws. The buzzed hair. Receding hairline. Wrinkles. Greying hair. The weight. Man, the list could go on and on. However, whether I like it or not, the mirror is a reflection of what I LOOK like. And sometimes, maybe most of the time, that is what I notice. I notice what I look like when I should be looking to see WHO I AM. For you see what I look like has little to do with who I am.
Sometimes I look into a mirror and I stare into my eyes. I try to see who I am. I try to see beyond the physical and look at what is behind the flesh and bone. I try to see who I am, what I have become, and what I want to be. I try to see the inward, the heart and soul, the inner man so to speak. I try to see what others see. Sure, I know what I physically look like and I know what they see that way, but what do people see when they look at me? What type of reflection do they see of my inner man? What do they see when they see my heart and soul? Do they see what I see or do they see something else?
James 1:23-24 talks about a man looking into a mirror. "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 whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it-not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it- they will be blessed in what they do." What is James talking about??? How can someone look into a mirror and forget what he looks like? Most of us spend a good deal of time looking in a mirror, whether we like it or not. After all, we want to look presentable. Nobody wants to go around with a piece of green yuk stuck between your front teeth, right? Most people are going to remember what color their hair is (usually), the color of their eyes (or color of their contacts), shape of their head and amount of facial hair. James certainly can't be talking about physical appearances.
But, what about the inner man? When you look in a mirror, what do you see THEN? What do you see when you are not looking at the length or color or style of your hair? What do you see when you are not looking at your cheekbones, lips, and skin tone? What do you see when you look at your character? Your moral stance? Your convictions? Your pride? Your integrity? Your perseverance? Your honor? Your conduct? Your loyalty? Your beliefs? Your patience? Your attitude about others? Your willingness to serve? Your Christianity? You see, your inner man can change. It can change daily! If you don't stop and take a good long look at yourself every now and then, you really can forget what you look like!
I am not the same person I was years ago. I have changed. When I run into someone that I have not seen for a long time we both usually have the same reaction. Neither of us look like we did the last time we saw each other. Aging does that... we assume people will look and ACT differently. We expect it. Physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Hopefully a maturing process has taken place. Paul writes in I Corinthians 13:11: "When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish things behind me." As we age and mature we change from a child, physically and spiritually, to an adult, physically and spiritually. And the changes are constantly happening. We must constantly be looking into the mirror, the word of God, to take a good look at ourselves to see who we are and what we look like. Otherwise we could walk away and forget what we look like and reflect the world and what it is and represents. "Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love of the Father is not in them. For everything of the world,- the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life- comes not from the Father but of the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever." I John 2:15-17.
When I look into the mirror I see a changed man. I see a person who is changing every single day. I see a man who is trying to become more and more like Jesus but falls short on a regular basis. I see a man who falls down and gets back up. I see a man who is running the race and striving for the prize. Running, walking, and even crawling at times. But always trying to move forward and upward. Trying to keep my eye on the goal.
When you look into the mirror do you see a kitten or a lion? A prisoner or a conqueror? A run away slave or a faithful servant? A peasant or a child of the King? A loser or a victor? A worthless life of a priceless soul? Discarded or redeemed? Lost or saved?
What do you see in the mirror?