Daily Devotion 06 May 2021
James 1: 22-25 ‘A Remarkable Mirror-Image’
22 But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves. 23 For if any are hearers of the word and not doers, they are like those who look at themselves in a mirror; 24 for they look at themselves and, on going away, immediately forget what they were like. 25 But those who look into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and persevere, being not hearers who forget but doers who act—they will be blessed in their doing.
1 Corinthians 13: 11-13
11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known.
2 Corinthians 3:18
18 And all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit.
Mirrors are fascinating objects, and some have believed they have magical properties – you’ll know of Perseus in Greek mythology who defeated the gorgon Medusa using a mirror, and we all remember the talking mirror in Snow White. In James and Paul’s day, they would have been made of brass or some copper alloy, and the reflection would have been of very poor quality. Some folk in those days considered (probably wisely) that looking too long at one’s own image was harmful, possibly because one might end up with delusions of physical beauty. When I was a lad, I never tired of visiting the ‘Hall of Mirrors’ in the fairground – maybe for that very reason!
James says that there must not be a mismatch between our true selves (the people God intended us to be) and the way we behave. Paul uses the image of the mirror in two slightly different ways. In 1 Corinthians he contrasts our inadequate knowledge of God now, with what we shall know in the future. Then in his second letter, Paul talks of us reflecting in some way the glory of God. But if Christ is the ‘image of God’, then isn’t this impossible?
Thankfully, no. Elsewhere in his writings, Paul speaks of Christ as the ‘new Adam’. In other words, in Jesus we see humanity in its perfection. He is our pattern, and as Christians we follow in his footsteps, we carry his name, and we reflect him in our characters and lives, however imperfectly. Perhaps it’s easier to see this in those around us, but if we look into the mirror and not forget what we see – ourselves as God intended us to be – then we shall indeed be ‘transformed into his likeness’, as Paul promises. Then we shall reflect something of his glory and – even though we may find it hard to believe – others will see something of our Lord Jesus Christ in us.
Loving God, help us to see ourselves as you see us –
sinners in need of forgiveness and healing, yet women and men who are made in your image, with the potential for reflecting – however dimly – the image of your blessed Son Jesus Christ. Amen.
Reflection and Prayer © 2021 Barrie Tabraham.
Image freely available online.
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