I, Nancy, finally broke through and got on Facebook about a year ago—I don’t know if it was always like it is now, but the thing that so glaringly jumps out at you is that there is a lot of hate expressed. Hate at Donald Trump and his voters, hate at liberals, hate at the Media… and the one thing that seems to be in shortest supply is introspection, as we often allow our disagreements with others to turn us into the thing we are railing against. So in hopes of encouraging all those who call themselves Christians to “check their make-up” so to speak, let’s take a look into that mirror.
Table Talk Notes
James 1:22-25 | But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.
What does it mean to “look in the mirror?”
A mirror only gives us a reflection of what is on the outside—the superficial. It might be like simply reading the Bible instead of deeply studying it so we understand it. A man can look at his reflection in the mirror and see himself as handsome, but not be aware that inside he is diseased and sickly. If we simply read the Word without seeking to understand and live it, we can fool ourselves into thinking everything is alright with us. (adapted from The Death of Christian Thought” by Michael D LeMay)
Truly looking into the perfect “mirror” of God’s word means reading it with a mindset of how I am measuring up to it, and allowing the Holy Spirit to show me where I am falling short, acknowledging that only HE truly knows my heart.
There is no greater blessing than when God reveals to us what He sees when he looks into our hearts—because we know it is for our benefit as His adopted children. But sometimes we do not ask God to reveal what He sees in our heart because we want to think more highly of ourselves than we should.
Jeremiah 17:9-10 | The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick;who can understand it? 10 “I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.”
Psalm 139:1-4, 23-24 | O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether… Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!
Proverbs 16:17 | The highway of the upright turns aside from evil; whoever guards his way preserves his life.
What happens if we do not look “in the mirror?”
We don’t realize we have spinach in our teeth, ketchup on our chin, and snot coming out of our nose.
Eventually we can even forget what we look like as children of God, as we start trying to look like the rest of the world to blend in:
1 John 2:15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life[a]—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.
We stop thinking contrastively. (considering others’ perspectives, trying to understand their “side” even if I disagree with it, acknowledging I could be wrong)
When we use comparative thought we are trying to prove we are “more right” than the other person. Contrastive thought is actually trying to see ways you were wrong so you can grow and get better. We do not grow if something we believe is proven right. We grow when something we believed was proven wrong. One question I like to ask people: “If you were wrong about something, would you want to know about it?” (Pride or humility)
Pride takes hold—we start rationalizing our actions and desires, blaming anything and anyone for our choices as we deny all responsibility
Proverbs 11:2 | When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.
Prov 16:18 | Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.
Prov 29:22-23 | A man of wrath stirs up strife, and one given to anger causes much transgression. 23 One’s pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor.
“Functional Hysteria”: when fear turns into paranoia, fed by deeply-held beliefs that no amount of facts and reasoning will shake, due to their pride, arrogance, and obsession with “being right”.
While uncontrollable sobbing may surface at times, their actions are usually quite lucid, but are filled with hypocrisy and often thinly-veiled malicious anger (e.g. the actions of those attacking those they deem to be “intolerant” while believing themselves to be tolerant). The person may at some point realize there’s a possibility they could have been wrong in their initial assessment of the situation, but often ignore it because they are “too far in” to recant their initial premise on which their beliefs were formed, which they believe would result in public humiliation. Their beliefs and actions thus become more and more irrational, they are more and more obsessed with controlling the “optics” of the situation and driving the opinions of others. While their unconscious mind continues battling their conscious mind, they are slowly driven insane.
Evil and Wicked Hearts: sadly there are many who believe they are Christians and going to heaven, but who are in reality so self-absorbed they are clueless. Those who never look in God’s “mirror” may hear Jesus saying “depart from me”.
5 Indicators of an Evil & Wicked Heart (and THANK YOU to Kathi McCarty for finding this!)
Matthew 7:21-23 | “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
So, how do we prepare ourselves to look in that mirror?
Humility: “Think more highly of others and more accurately of yourself.” We tend to do the opposite—we think more highly of ourselves than we should. Praying and asking God to reveal our heart and thoughts is a helpful dose of reality. If we are believers, God will not attack who we are, but will critique what we do.
Fellowship and accountability with other believers: Fellowship is a great way to get a new set of eyes on our lives. When a believer lovingly points out something they see as wrong in our words or actions, we then go to God and ask Him to confirm and correct what we are doing wrong.
One of the greatest blessings of being a Christian is when we have a spouse who loves us enough that they are willing to help us see areas where we can improve. Marriage is not a competition—it is a cooperation where each spouse helps the other to grow in Christ.
Grow Up: Paul tells us we should continually grow and learn—we will never reach the point in this lifetime where we are always right. One day we will know God as well as He knows us.
1 Cor 13:11-12 | When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
Unveil your face
2 Cor 3:14-18 | But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ. But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 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 by the Spirit of the Lord. (NKJV)
Bible Believers Commentary: “In the Old Covenant, Moses alone was allowed to see the glory of the Lord. Under the New Covenant, we all have the privilege of beholding … the glory of the Lord. Moses’ face had to be veiled after he had finished speaking with the people, but we can have an unveiled face. We can keep our face unveiled by confessing and forsaking sin, by being completely honest with God and ourselves. The next step is beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord. The mirror is the word of God. As we go to the Bible, we see the Lord Jesus revealed in all His splendor. We do not yet see Him face to face, but only as mirrored in the word. We should reflect upon ourselves using the Word of God as our “mirror”—not on how we see ourselves because our flesh and sinful nature will lead us to think more highly of ourselves than we should.”