Written by David Lenehan
The high school students walking into the auditorium didn’t realize that they were being set up. I had been invited to speak at a Christian high school in Bennington, VT. Prior to the kids walking in, I placed a full length mirror just inside the entrance, aimed to face them as they entered. As they came in, I stood off to the side to watch their interactions with the mirror. Some simply walked by. Others stepped up to it to check their hair or makeup or clothes. Some stopped for a minute and pointed and smiled as if they were going to take a selfie (in the days before phone selfies).
The students sat down and the school’s headmaster got them settled, delivered a few announcements, and then introduced me. After a few interactions with the kids, I revealed my scheme.
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 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” (James 1:22-25, NIV).
I told them that I set up the mirror partly for fun – to see what they would do – and partly to make a spiritual point. We use a mirror so we know what we look like: hair, teeth, clothes, food stains on the corner of our mouth. But what use is a mirror if you walk away from it and immediately forget everything you just saw? You had the experience of seeing yourself in the mirror, then instantly it slips from your mind.
Jesus saw that lived out when he healed ten guys from the dreaded disease of leprosy.
“Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan” (Luke 17:11-15).
Nine of the former lepers were healed and then went on their merry way – overjoyed that they had been healed, but all too quickly forgetting the source of the healing. But one guy caught himself and ran back and worshipped Jesus, thanking him likely over and over. He remembered who he was just a few minutes before that: diseased, rejected, cast out of society, declared unclean. AND he remembered who it was that had done an incredible miracle in his life.
How often do I do that? How often do I forget who I am in Christ? How often do I go through a day, only giving Christ maybe a passing thought or short prayer. What about those days when I forget who I am and act or speak in a way that is completely out of character for someone who claims to have Jesus living in him?
Jesus is the standard. He is the mirror, if you will, that I must see myself in all the time, every moment of every day. I should do all I can NEVER to forget that. And yes, the more I read His Word, worship, pray, and seek His will, the more I will see of Him in the mirror and less of myself (John 3:30).
What about you? Have you taken a good look in your mirror lately? Who do you see?