The Man in the Mirror

"For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like" - James 1:24.

Our mind being a powerful thing can both be a good or a bad thing. The good happens when we think positively but realistically. The bad happens when we think negatively or unrealistically.

Unrealistic thoughts can invade our assessment of ourselves - who we are, what we are capable of, who we can still become. When we overshoot reality, we can have high dreams but can't accomplish them. For example, a boxer who believes he's as good as Manny Pacquiao may dream of becoming an eight-time world champion too without even bothering to follow Pacquiao's training regimen and discipline. Come match day, this boxer is in for a big disappointment - a victim of over self-assessment.

We may be able to build a big reputation but not all reputations are accurate. We can't actually live on reputation alone. We live by what we are really capable of. Even in the case of profession, this is also true. I have known people with stellar reputation in an industry and yet when put to a big position matching that reputation, the person crumbles. Reputation may get one started at the top but only true capability makes him stay there.

Today's passage talks about looking at ourselves in the mirror and see our true self. This is the real us - stripped of make ups, hairstyles, fashion and what not. Staring back at us is the person without public perception added (or subtracted), without public relations spending raising the bar unrealistically. And we are told that we need to remember that face in the mirror. Because even the way we think today and dream of the future is dependent on that person. Forgetting that man in the mirror can influence us to think that we aren't what we have seen there and begin to act differently and unrealistically. If you are a Christian and a true believer in Jesus, forgetting that true you in the mirror may cause you to blend yourself with the people of the world - thinking the way they do and doing what they do. You are being dishonest about who you are and you end up falling short of your true potential. You are, as a matter of fact, not facing reality.

The bible reminds every true believer that they are different from the world - they are better and are capable of greater. This is not so much a result of a difference in actual skill or talent but a difference in empowerment. Unlike the people of the world, our empowerment comes from the Lord, not from ourselves. The best that an unbeliever can hope for is to do the best that he can and hope that the rest of the circumstances beyond his control will be favorable. The best that a true believer can expects is to do the best that he can and let God make the circumstances be favorable. That's a huge difference. But it only comes into play when we know who we really are. That we are that man in the mirror - that we are a child of God, a part of God's plan and is positioned to be blessed.

Therefore, in spite of what the world tells you based on its perception of you both good and bad, regardless even of your own perception of yourself, you are nothing more and nothing less than that man in the mirror. Remember him always and live honestly.

(Photo credit: comconnections.org)