Looking in the mirror

At The Point we are studying the Book of James in Term 2. Below is the weekly article I wrote in reflection of the series. The Pastors each take it in terms to write something each week as part of our communications.

The Mirror is a powerful metaphor in James (1:23-25).  Many of us hate mirrors. We don’t like what we see. Apart from showing you what’s stuck in your teeth, mirrors show you what you look like. You can’t hide.

The Bible is the mirror for Christians. As we look into it, God shows us who we are. We are image-bearing workers in his world. We are family people; fathers, mothers, sons and daughters built for relationship. We are sinful creatures. We fail to give God the honour he deserves. As we look into the mirror, the Bible reveals our heart. They are full of passion and desire, yet broken, confused, full of mislaid worship and deep-seated selfishness.

James knew that the great temptation of Christians is to avoid looking in the mirror. We prefer to invent our own reality.  This is deeply foolish. When we starve ourselves of God’s word we miss out on meeting God. We miss out on seeing how God promises to work in our story now and in eternity. When we ignore God’s Word, our minds and world tell us who we are.

Looking deeply into the mirror, hearing and doing what the Bible says, is the path to a growing, joy filled life as a follower of Jesus. But it is not magic. Actually all of us will lose our bearings in one of two ways.

The first is to emphasize how strong we are. We read, “Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might” (Ephesians 6:10).  We can all fight sin and the devil’s temptation with courage and victory. But in this life we are also weak, and it is foolish not to factor in our pervasive weakness.

The other misstep is so to emphasize our weakness. The Word of God reveals that we are all sinful (Romans 3:9). We all struggle. But if all we do is wring our hands and moan, “Oh, I’m so broken, I’m so broken,” without laying hold of God’s strength — that self-indulgence will defeat us every time.

Which are you denying today — your weakness or his strength?  Which do you need to acknowledge and embrace?

Jesus wants his followers to let God’s mirror not our imagination define who we are. Look into God’s Word. See who you are as God’s child. Yes we are weak, but we are not helpless. Our God is strong. He has saved in Jesus. He has placed his Spirit in us. We are strong in Him. As we listen and do what he says, we will conquer sins. We will live different lives. We will know who we are!

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