Ever wished you’d checked the mirror before going out in public? Yep, we’ve all had those moments (or witnessed someone else’s). What about checking the spiritual mirror? James 1:22-25 tells us God’s word is like a mirror. He also says those who look into it and act on what they see, will be blessed in what they do. So, do you want your efforts to be blessed? Here are three scenarios Jesus described for us to consider:
Before going out in public: In Luke 14:7-11 Jesus instructs His listeners to avoid seeking the “best seats” and go for the more “lowly seats”. Part of it is practical wisdom, like avoiding the embarrassment of being asked to move, but I believe it’s much more. He finishes the story with a strong warning:
“For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” -Luke 14:11
So, as we go into public settings, a quick pause to check the mirror may help us avoid some awkward moments and lingering embarrassment. Jesus modeled the life of a servant, not a celebrity and I’m confident His mirror will reflect what he demonstrated.
Before dealing with people: In Luke 16, Jesus told the story of a dishonest steward. The steward was forced to make some quick, seemingly smart deals to ingratiate himself to friends before his termination. The story culminates with instructions to be faithful in the small things, thus avoiding the whole dilemma and later in verse 15 He gives us this “mirror” statement:
“…God knows the heart. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.” -Luke 16:16
Sometimes things acceptable in the eyes of culture aren’t acceptable in the eyes of God. Even though it appears the steward made a savvy adjustment, it’s better to make wise choices in the first place. Whether buying, selling or working; checking the mirror first is a great idea because:
- Motive is always important to God
- God’s value system is different than the world culture
- The truth will eventually come out
Before conversations with God: In Luke 18:9-14, Jesus tells of two men going up to the Temple to pray; one a Pharisee, one a tax collector. The contrast is strong between the two men’s prayer-the Pharisee thankful not be a sinner, the tax collector sorry to be a sinner. Jesus said only one went home justified-the tax collector. Luke tells us in verse 9 that Jesus spoke this parable to some “who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised others”.
The danger of trusting in our own measurement system (like the Pharisees) is the slide into self-deception. We construct our own standard, smile when we meet it, and then form strong opinions of those who don’t. Jesus clearly taught the opposite-coming to God with a contrite heart (Psalm 51:17) and letting Him lift us up.
Over the years, I’ve found myself feeling awkward in all three of these areas at times, but I’m hoping to avoid a repeat. How about you? The mirror can help…
Series: “Thoughts on Luke” Luke 14:7-11, 16:15, 18:9-14