Glass is useful for windows and vases and TV screens and such. Glass allows light to pass through and it keeps other things out. Often glass even gives a vague reflection of whatever is around it, but nothing clear enough to be truly helpful. For a clear, detailed reflection, a mirror is needed. Although made of glass, mirrors have an added dimension.
In early times, only blurry images were seen, images reflected in water or a polished stone. During the time the Israelites journeyed through the wilderness polished bronze was used for mirrors. We are told in Exodus 38:8, “They made the bronze basin and its bronze stand from the mirrors of the women who served at the entrance to the tent of meeting.” Since about 1600, mirrors have been made through a process called “silvering.” This process coats a piece of glass with with a highly reflective material, nowadays usually silver or aluminum. This process has been refined to produce the distinct, useful, present-day mirror which allows us to see clear images of ourselves.
We believe we see a perfect reflection of ourselves in our bathroom mirror each morning, but scripture tells us otherwise.
For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. 1 Corinthians 13:12 NASB
What we think is clear, and a perfect representation of self here on earth, is really a dim reflection of how we will see when we are face to face with Jesus in Heaven. We really have no idea just how distorted we view things due to sin and worldliness. I think we will be surprised to learn the truth in Heaven. We view ourselves incorrectly. We view the world incorrectly. We view other people incorrectly.
If our fleshly vision is so skewed, how can we see ourselves clearly down here on earth?
Well, we need to hear from someone not human…
Someone far greater than we are who can point out the reality we miss…
Maybe if they wrote something down for us to go by that tells us the truth about ourselves…
Ta-da! An answer! James 1:22-25 tells us
Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone 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.
To see ourself clearly it’s a two-step process. We need to first listen to the Word – read it, hear it, take it in. Second, we need to continue in it, to DO it. Do the Word – even when it doesn’t make sense. Do the Word – even when it is uncomfortable. Do the Word – even when it is inconvenient. Do the Word – even when it stretches our faith. Do the Word – even when it makes us appear to be the oddball. Just Do It – as the slogan goes.
Hearing and doing the Word is how we come to see this human life with clarity. Through God’s Word we will get a clear, correct view of ourselves, the world, and other people. Then we can live our lives in the truth, perceive the world with a true understanding, and and interact with people understanding their true motives, needs, hurts, and potential. We “will be blessed in what [we] do” James says. That will allow us to be a blessing to the world and be a blessing to the individual people we meet. We will more and more become God’s instrument in our world to bring about His Kingdom here on earth.
But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18
We will become mirrors to the world of God’s glory, reflecting Him to all we meet. We will reflect truth, love, grace, and mercy to the world around us. We’ll reflect clear images back to people in our lives – people who desperately need to see with truth and clarity. God’s glory does not reflect harsh, judgmental images; nor mushy, condoning images; but images that speak truth, acceptance, forgiveness, and reality from God’s eternal perspective.
Are we like glass? Do we have a bit of reflectivity, but people can see right through us? Do others see in us a dark, murky, indistinct, tainted “truth?” Or are we like a mirror, backed with substance. A substance refined and pure that gives a clear image to the one staring into it? Are we backed with God Himself, His Word, and His principles that give us substance? When someone looks at us, our words, and actions, do those things reflect back to people the picture as God their Creator sees them? Or are we thin and breakable and less reflective of God’s views of humanity, instead reflecting a half-worldly view to those we meet? Let’s not bet one more human-based piece of glass reflecting back a dim image to those around us. Let us be the hand mirror of the Lord, reflecting His beauty, glory, and truth to the world.