A Faithful Mirror
The Word of God may be likened to various objects. In the Bible itself it is compared to a lamp, a fire, a hammer and a sword. Each of these emblems teaches us something precious about the Holy Scriptures.
In the first Chapter of the Epistle of James we have yet another illustration. James compares the Word of God to a familiar household item: a mirror. It is a comparison well worth considering.
It is just possible that there are homes without a mirror. If a person has no mirror then we may be sure that he will be untidy and even dirty in his appearance. It is the same with the Word of God; where there is no Bible people will tend to live lives which are disordered and defiled.
Mirrors are easy to obtain and many homes have several. But are they used as they should be? James says: “For if any man be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass” (v.23). Standing before a mirror may become a mere routine. As we wash and dress we glance at ourselves but we hardly take in what we see. We are in a hurry. Other things seem more important.
Many people are like that with the Word of God. They read the Bible or hear the gospel preached but then they let the word slip. The truth makes no lasting impression upon them, especially the great truth that they are sinners and deserving of the wrath of God. They never act upon what they hear. As James also says: “For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was” (v.24). It really is very difficult to remember your features clearly when you have no means of viewing them! Similarly we can only know our true spiritual likeness when we are able to gaze into God’s Word.
How do we make good use of a mirror? By coming to it frequently, noting carefully what we see in it and, being guided by it, dealing with our blemishes. James gives us the spiritual parallel: “But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed” (v.25).
The Word of God is “the perfect law of liberty” because of the holiness of its teaching and the power it has to deliver us from our bondage to sin. When the Scriptures are blessed to us they act in a wonderful way. They become a mirror of our soul, accurately reflecting our character and revealing our true motives. They reprove our sin, convincing us of our corruption within and of our inability to please God by our own efforts. Unlike some mirrors the Scriptures never flatter to deceive.
They are utterly faithful in what they portray. That is doubtless why some people do not want to read the Bible or listen to the gospel!
The Bereans were commended by God because they “searched the scriptures daily” (Acts 17:11); indeed God’s Word should be our study “all the day” (Psa.119:97). Always pray before you read the Bible: “Lord, send thy Holy Spirit to make me aware of my guilt and to lead me in the way everlasting.” May God in His grace bring us to Jesus Christ, “the image of the invisible God” (Col.1:15) and the only Saviour from sin.