1 Corinthians 13:12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.
Week 3 of Love’s Quiet Storm series. We’re looking back at the infamous Love chapter that Paul so eloquently shared with the church. Today our focus is vs 12 and we’re going to glean from the King of Pop, Michael Jackson. Using one of his greatest hits that will hopefully help us relate to Paul’s lessons from 1 Corinthians chapter 13.
A Mirror is a reflective surface, typically made of glass coated with a metal amalgam, that reflects a clear image. The mirror then is very much like man; a reflective surface that reflects a clear image. The key to the mirror is the image that is being reflected. Man was created to reflect the image of God; but too often we only reflect the image of broken men. Broken by life experiences, past hurts and personal failures. When we’re broken, we view through a dirty lens and often believe that others see us through that exact same lens. So, let’s look at our mirror; and use Michael Jackson’s hit song to help us to deal with the Man in the Mirror.
- Time to Clean Your Mirror: For now we see in a mirror, dimly; my bathroom mirror is large and when we first moved into our house, just walking into the bathroom was remarkable. Between the light from outside and the lights from the overhead the entire room was just illuminated and looking into that pristine mirror made it seem like there were two people in there. However, over time between the daily use, steamy showers, messy shaves, and tooth brushing a film began building up on that mirror. That film would slowly distort what was such a precious view. Paul in the text used these words We see in a mirror, dimly, which I thought was genius. You see the word dimly means faint or weak and is used to express one’s disapproval.
The film building up on my mirror doesn’t block the view or even change it to something different but the film and spots make it so I cannot see myself as clearly as I should; I look just a little off. You cannot quite put your finger on it but you know that something is just not right. This begins to happen now every time you look in the mirror; you don’t feel like yourself. Something negative begins to take over and permeate my thoughts of me and you begin to disapprove of what you see from that mirror. Paul would elaborate on this thought some chapters later:
2 Corinthians 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. The unveiling of a face happens when the covering has been revealed; like when the groom reveals the bride for the first time. Or in my case when the film filled mirror has been cleaned. With a clean mirror, we can again see the real person; the negativity begins to fade and that light that was so prevalent when I first walking into that bathroom is now shinning bright once more. Get out the Windex; it’s time to clean you mirror.
- Take Another Look in the Mirror: but then face to face. Looking again into that mirror will require courage. Now that the mirror is clean; you clearly see your reflection. It’s very difficult to lie to somebody when you’re standing face to face. Over the phone or via text a lie seems to flow a little easier; but staring at another person, eye to eye; nose to nose; lies are tough to form. Yet so often, we look at ourselves face to face in the mirror and lie or even worse we see someone struggling and in trouble but do nothing to help them. James 1:23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. Therefore, it is essential that we get the courage necessary to look again into the newly cleaned mirror.
The thought of looking at someone face to face today is not only extremely challenging, but in this social media age, its highly unlikely. The term face to face describes an interaction that takes place in person, as opposed to texting, emailing or using other online medias. Today we barely talk to each other with more than surface chatter let alone have real intimate conversation. How much more difficult is it for us to be real with ourselves. It is time to get face to face with ourselves, but this time see clearly what we already know about us. Romans 7:15 For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do; acknowledging the truth is the first step to true deliverance and it can only happen when we are willing to get face to face. Michael understood that, which is why he said, “I’m starting with the man in the mirror, I’m asking him to change his ways. And no message could have been any clearer, If you want to make the world a better place. Take a look at yourself, and then make a change.” Are you ready to make a change??
- Who’s Looking at You in the Mirror? Now I know in part, but then I shall know. Have you ever looked at yourself in the mirror not recognizing the person you are looking at? I’ve been there many a day; but what I’ve found since walking with Christ is that who we’re looking at is not as important as who’s looking back at us. What? See, we don’t recognize the man in the mirror because we are only a part of the full story; but that dude in the mirror is the man that God created (Gen 1:26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness) and his story is completed in eternity. Whether we can believe it or not we are still created in God’s image. We know this TRUTH, but we don’t always feel like the image of God. We can know what we know but still see only what we want. Ask anyone in a relationship, who ignored the early Red Flags and is now remembering all the reasons they should have walked away from that person long ago.
God’s image is looking back at us in that mirror, but in order for us to truly see it we have to 1) believe Jesus is God’s Son who died for your sins (John 3:16); 2) Believe that you are the righteousness of God thru Christ (1 Corinthians 5:21). God’s TRUTH overrides our thoughts, feelings and opinions; and His TRUTH looking back at us in the mirror, whether we want it to or not. We are currently only part of God’s story; He has bigger plans for us (Jeremiah 29:11). Plans for us to walk in the Righteousness He died for and the Abundant Life that He has promised us. Stop worrying about the embarrassment of looking into the mirror and not seeing yourself but remember who God created to look back at you. You’re still that person Christ gave His all for, you’re still destined for greatness and you’re still in right standing with God. Change you’re mirror focus, Yeah! Make that change!
- Now, Who Do You See in the Mirror? I shall know just as I also am known. Michael gave us another great nugget when he said, “I’ve been a victim of a selfish kind of love, it’s time that I realize.” We’ve all been victims of that selfish kind of love, but what need realize is that Jesus’s love for us was the most unselfish love we could ever know. Which is why when we accepted Christ as our savior; God can no longer see’s us, our failures, short comings or sin. He ONLY sees Jesus, His loving Son because we’re in the Jesus.
When we look in the mirror now, we need to see us the same way God does. With that newly cleaned mirror; “And no message could have been any clearer, If you want to make the world a better place, Take a look at yourself and then make that Change! The change we must make is looking at ourselves in the mirror but no longer seeing our sin, but only seeing Jesus, His Unselfish LOVE, His Redemption and His Resurrection.
When we look in the mirror and see Jesus; the devil cannot distract us or trick us with his lies and tricks. We will see in ourselves the promises of God, the victory of Jesus and miracles we’ve become. Most importantly; I also am known; when we see Jesus as we look into the mirror, we then realize that we are fully known and loved by God.
Knowing that we are loved can be the difference between victory and defeat. Knowing that the Love of God is on our side and that despite Him knowing everything about us He has plans for us in abundance; we can be confident in Him and in who we see now see in that mirror.