An Atlas Obscura article tells us of a mirror that shows us who we truly are, with no distortion.
While the “Aranmula kannadi,” made in Kerala, is unique for its ability to reflect our exterior accurately, there is an even better mirror that shows us who we are at the core, from the inside out — the Word of God.
Multiple passages in the Bible refer to this wondrous, living book as a mirror.
· Second Corinthians 3:18 says, “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.”
As we grow in Christ, we see Him in us, and this is especially apparent as we read the Bible. We see how He is living it out through us in our own lives.
Also though, the Word shows us where we are wrong. It exposes our selfishness and even the things we thought were okay in our own consciences until God exposes them as “off” or “bent” from the plumbline of the His Word, which is “a sword, “living and active,” dividing even joint and marrow (Hebrews 4:12). I believe this means it divides even our fleshly consciences from what matters to the Spirit.
Whatever God intends to show us, I find that the one of the best ways to experience the Word shows us who we are most personally is to journal the Bible. Journaling the Bible as a personal letter from God to me absolutely changed my life and has the foundation of much of my songwriting.
For example, people can journalize John 3:16 — "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him would not perish but have everlasting life" — as, "Dear (your name), I love you so much that I gave My one and only Son so that as you believe in Him, you will not perish but have everlasting life."
Taking action based on what we see
Whether we view ourselves in a perfect mirror like the one Susan Paul and Savera John write of, or just a typical plain ol’ mirror — or the selfie view on our phones, like I do when the bathroom is occupied or too foggy — our “mirror moment” means nothing if we don’t take action based on what we see.
In James, we learn that to disobey what we read in the Bible is like walking away from a mirror and forgetting what we look like.
· James 1:22-25 says, “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 observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.”
When we respond to what we see in ourselves through the Bible, we can take action that actually transforms our lives. This transformation starts from the inside but manifests visibly for all to see. Often, even a literal mirror or camera can pick up the difference.
For example, my friend Lieneyda, a life coach with a focus on wellness who leads the e-course “From Chaos to Clarity,” looks younger now than she did 20 years ago due to her obedience to God and the inner healing work He has done in her heart. She has cooperated with the Lord and sought His face, and in return, her face has been transformed as well.
“You can look at me in pictures from years ago, and I do not look the same,” Lieneyda said. “It’s because of God’s work in my life, dealing with the inner things. I look and feel younger now because of how the Lord has refined my heart.”
A deeper view
With the Bible, responding to what we see in this mirror is even more important because it shows us what we look like on the inside, the place from which all of our life flows.
· 1 Samuel 16:7 — But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lordlooks at the heart.”
When we look at what God looks at, we see things rightly and have a more divine perspective that helps us make right choices and see ourselves and others with eyes of wisdom. When we only look at the superficial, we miss what matters. But when we look at what God says is important, we get to walk in the depths of Him and all He has for us.
Beautifying the heart
Proverbs, which has so many excellent nuggets of wisdom, says, “As water (and I would add, as a mirror) reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart” (NIV*). This means that our entire lives are a giant mirror for our heart. We can see in people’s lives — how they spend their time, the businesses or organizations they start or work for, who they date or marry and more — what is evident in their heart.
That’s why Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” (NIV*). Our hearts are gardens that we must guard and tend in order to have the beautiful lives that God wants for us.
Melting the mirrors
In the days of the Old Testament, mirrors were much less accurate than they are now. People had to look at themselves through pieces of brass to see their own reflection. In a verse that I find especially fascinating, women of the Old Testament surrendered their mirrors to the fire to be burned for the temple.
Speaking of Bezalel the temple artist, Exodus 38:38 says, “He made the laver of bronze and its base of bronze, from the bronze mirrors of the serving women who assembled at the door of the tabernacle of meeting.” Did you catch that? He made the laver (where people washed themselves before entering the temple) from the women’s mirrors. The women gave them up — basically burned them, definitely melted them — in order for that to happen.
As I learned in a sermon by the late Jaque Shank of Visionwriters International, these women were exchanging a fleshly form of self-reflection and self-judgement for God’s version. That is deep — much more than skin-deep, much more valuable than glass and brass and even the mirror of Kerala.
Rather than letting mirrors judge us and tell us who we are, let’s look to the Lord and let Him define us.
He is the best mirror of all.
*All verses are New King James Version unless otherwise specified.