Dean Kuest – Glendale Campus Pastor
I don’t know what your experience with mirrors is, but mine has changed over the years. In my youth, I loved to stare deeply into mirrors. They were best used to perfect the faces that I would make at the girls on the playground. In my teens it was to perfect my “look” so that I might somehow attract those same girls. In my 20’s I studied the mirror daily, first from afar, eventually zeroing in on the minutia up close. Decades later, the mirror is no more than a tool to accomplish the necessary pleasantries in order to get out the door. My stare no longer lingers.
It’s funny to think about my changing relationship with mirrors in this way. The mirror hasn’t changed. It simply reflects the truth about myself back to me. What has changed is my attitude toward them as well as my attitude toward the truth in the reflection.
Interestingly, James, the brother of Jesus, writes about mirrors. He says in James 1:19-25 that God’s Word is like a mirror – it reflects back to us the truth about our condition and then gives us action steps to take that will help remedy that condition. If we read it and walk away, doing nothing, I’m much like someone who looks into a mirror and walks away, forgetting what they look like. James also says that if we will take the time to look long into the mirror of God’s Word, doing what it says, God Himself blesses that kind of life.
Whether Jesus and the Bible are completely new to you or whether you have not missed a week of church in your many decades of life, the truth that James is communicating to us is extremely important to grasp. As a new believer, reading Scripture for the first time is much like looking into a mirror from a distance. You can tell that you have a massive case of bedhead and your clothes need to be ironed. If you allow those truths to enact change in you, the next time you look in the mirror, you look really good…then you step closer. A step closer reveals new truths that you didn’t notice in your glance from a greater distance. Drawing closer to the mirror, new “realities” seem to emerge on the screen of the mirror in front of you.
This is at the very heart of what it means to grow as a follower of Jesus. As I draw closer to God through my understanding of Scripture and as I live out that truth, I am, in essence, getting a step closer and closer to the mirror…a step closer to the life God intended for me.
At Central we encourage this type of growth through teaching what is referred to as S.O.A.P. It is a simple Bible study method that anyone can do on a daily basis. Just get out a journal or a sheet of paper and use this acrostic to get you started.
- S – Scripture (Write down the Scripture that you read)
- O – Observations (Write down every thought, idea or question that pops into your head as you read)
- A – Application (How does this apply to you?)
- P – Prayer (Write out a simple prayer that relates to what you just read and the application that you noted)
Why is it then that so many of us stall in our growth? We get complacent in our attitude toward the mirror. There emerge certain realities that we would rather ignore than deal with. Unfortunately, that does not make them less true.
Here is the great news…God never uses Scripture to shame us! Scripture simply gives us a picture of reality that none of us can escape. Part of that reality is a God whose love for us is not measured by our distance from the mirror, nor by the condition of the reflection we see in the mirror. Instead, he loves us enough to tell us the truth and then beckon us to take another step closer to Him.