A Mirror for the Soul
For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man beholding his natural face in a mirror, for he beholdeth himself, and goeth away, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But he that looketh into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and so continueth, being not a hearer that forgetteth, but a doer that worketh, this man shall be blessed in his doing – James 1:23-25.
A mirror is probably one of the most honest things there is. It doesn’t lie. Every time one looks into a mirror there is an accurate reflection of exactly what we are. About the only way to make a mirror lie is distort it. Even then, the reflection is not flattering.
James says looking into the Bible one can see self in his natural face. This means bare bones, nothing doctored up. An actor can be made up to appear very different than natural, but that become hypocrisy. The word hypocrite is an old word for an actor, one who pretends to be someone else. The Bible rips away the veneer of pretense and lays bare what we are in God’s view.
The Mirror of the Soul reveals the origin of the soul (Genesis 2:7). It equally tells us the great value of the soul (Matt. 16:26). The Mirror God gives us also shows us our personal defects and short comings (Gal. 5:19-21; 2 Tim. 3:1-5). Most important of all it shows us the eternal destiny of the soul (Matt. 25:46).
The mirrors we use sometimes get smudged and dirty. Good housekeepers will clean them with diligence. A dirty mirror tends to blur our vision of what we actually look like. When clean, a better an accurate image is reflected. The word of God is ever clean and pure. (Psa. 12:6). It never fails to show us what the Lord thinks of us.
James pictures one who, after seeing self in God’s mirror, instantly walks away and forgets what was seen. The tenses show that one takes a look (once) then instantly ignores it, and continues to avoid the mirror. The only one blessed is the honest person who sees self as God sees him, makes whatever corrections are needed, and does what God would have him do. Take a good look at yourself in the Bible. What do you see? What does God see?
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