The Bible says, “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass” (James 1:22-23).
A mirror is used for self-examination. We use the mirror to examine our physical appearance. Regardless of what others say, the mirror is the final judge on our physical appearance and has the last say. In the mirror we see ourselves as we truly are and use it as an aid in correcting our appearance. We use the mirror because of its truthfulness. It’s never told a single lie.
In like manner, we use the Bible for self-examination. We use the Bible, to examine our spiritual appearance. We continue to use the Bible because of its honesty. It too is no respecter of persons and has never told a single lie.
We don’t throw the mirror out for telling the ugly truth about our physical state. And we shouldn’t throw out the Bible for telling the ugly truth about our spiritual state?
The mirror is usually the last thing we use before we leave the house. The mirror is essential for preparing ourselves and making ourselves presentable to society.
The Bible is also something we use primarily in the morning as we have our devotions and time with God. As we get up in time to address our physical appearance in front of the mirror, we should also get up in time for morning devotions and prepare ourselves spiritually.
The mirror is the changing point, the place where we are transformed physically. We go to the mirror very unkempt but leave the very opposite. We always look better after visiting the mirror. We have a standard, a way we want to look, when it comes to our physical appearance and we go to the mirror to make sure we meet that standard. The mirror will not change, it was created to aid us in our transformation.
The Bible is the changing point as well, the place where we are transformed spiritually. We accept its judgment and make the changes it recommends. The response that the Bible evokes from us, and the influence it exerts over us is evidence that supports the claim that the Bible is the Word of God. The Christian has a spiritual standard, to be like Jesus, and goes to the Bible to see if he is meeting that standard. The Bible will not change, it was given to aid us in our transformation (Psalms 119:59-60).
Looking in the mirror and the Word is not an end in itself. It is a means to an end, for there are no magic mirrors and there’s nothing magic about Christianity. We must respond to the revelation they give of us. We must “trust and obey.” We have to trust the mirror to tell us our hair needs combing but we must do the combing. We look into the Word to see sin we need to repent of and to see the changes we need to make to be more like Christ. But we must obey the Word and do what it says to actually experience those changes. We must be “doers of the Word and not hearers only.”
James H. Cagle lives in Ray City, Ga., and is a former Hamilton County resident.