The mirror does not show you what is wrong with you. Read carefully, James tells us it is when we leave the mirror, we do what is wrong. He says this is due to the fact that we forgot how we look like. In other words we do the wrong because we forgot who we are, not what we should do. So what does the mirror in James 1:23 mean?
Firstly Jesus said the Spirit would lead us to all truth.
John 16:13 (New International Version)
13But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.
In James 1 we are told “23Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.” It must be said:
1. He forgets what he looks like. This clearly implies when he looked at the mirror, he saw perfection. When he leaves the mirror he forgets what he looks like and thus does something wrong. Note here if the mirror refers to the Mosiac Law, he should be doing what is right. James says he does something wrong because he forgot who he is!
2. Further note that the “word” does not refer to the Law but the word “planted” in you. This clearly refers to the Gospel of Jesus. When we forget what the Gospel did for us we forget how we actually look like.
This is consistent with 2 Corin 3:18. 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.
2 Corinthians 3:18 (New King James Version)
18 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.
In 2nd Samuel Chapter 9 we read of the story of King David and Mephibosheth. Mephibosheth was the son of Jonathan and the grandson of the first king of Israel, King Saul. After Jonathan’s death, David went forth to show kindness to Saul’s house.
Mephibosheth had become lame at the young age of five — he had lived his entire life as a cripple. When David calls him forth, Mephibosheth replies “What is thy servant, that thou shouldest look upon such a dead dog as I am?” His identity was completely based on his disability, when in fact he was the grandson of a king!
He had forgotten his royal lineage and was wallowing in self pity. Yet David looked beyond his disability and recognizing who he was, offered him a place at the King’s table.
How much time do we spend wallowing in our own self pity, groaning about things with which we struggle daily…so much so that it becomes who we are! The enemy would love nothing more than to keep us focused on our disabilities so that we are distracted from the calling of God on our lives. He wants us to have a “victim mentality”.
Are you looking at your weakness? When you look into the mirror who do you see? Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 3:18 (NKJV) “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.” It says WE are the glory of the Lord. In Jesus we are a chosen generation, part of a royal priesthood and the glory of the Lord, and the King has offered us a place at His table! We are heirs of His great throne!!
In Him, we should have a victor mentality! Press forward — know who you are in Him and take your rightful seat at the King’s Table.
What we see in the mirror is not the Law but the Lord. We do not compare ourselves to the Mosiac Law, we compare ourselves to the Lord. In fact we are transformed by beholding the glory of the Lord.
So go ahead… have a good look at the mirror. Take a good look at Jesus. That is how you look like now.