Everyone has mirrors. Some stay in our rooms, bathrooms, offices, cars, etc. Physical mirrors reflect back to us what we look like and what is around us. Rearview mirrors in cars show us what’s behind us. This is obvious, but one thing that has changed the way that I look at things is by imagining a spiritual mirror in front of me.
Theoretically, a spiritual mirror would be exactly what it sounds like- identifying and focusing on yourself and your surroundings spiritually. Some of the questions that a spiritual mirror would answer would be:
What or who do you look like spiritually?
What or who are you reflecting spiritually?
What or who are you surrounded by?
What do you want to change?
What do you want to keep the same?
What are you reflecting?
This is similar to what we find when we look into a physical mirror- what do we look like, what do we like and dislike, what do we change or keep the same, and so on.
Checking on yourself with the analogy of looking in a spiritual mirror is one way that Jesus has shown me a reflection of my spiritual life to myself. It's made me realize that I often forget to look at my spiritual life.
Although it's important to be aware of how you're doing spiritually, It's also true that we can't clean our spiritual selves up without God. If we ask ourselves all of these questions and we try to become better on our own, it will never be successful. The best way for us to do this is to be mindful of our spiritual place and ask for God's leadership and help every step of the way. We're trying to look more like Jesus, so we need Him in order to do that.
The first step in trying to reflect Jesus in your spiritual life is to keep your eyes fixated on what you want to look like and reflect. What do you want to see in your spiritual mirror?
If you’re a follower of Jesus, hopefully that goal is to look like and reflect Jesus and his love. Thankfully, we have the Bible to help us understand and work towards knowing what Jesus wants us to look like. God's words pierce through our soul and show us what we can’t see. It shows us what we need to see, and what might be around us.
Just how the mirror in your room shows you your appearance, the Bible is like a spiritual mirror that reflects back to you your spiritual place- what you look like, what you sound like, and who you look like. The Bible lovingly discliplines and corrects our spiritual appearance.
Not every day in the christian life is perfect, and Jesus knows that. He has eternal love and grace for you, so it's important to not beat yourself up (like me) over the days where you didn't look like Jesus.
Just like physical mirrors, spiritually, sometimes we can focus on the wrong things, just like how we sometimes look at ourselves in the mirror and pick out the small details about ourselves that we don’t like. Often times, when we do this, we’re blinded to the full picture.
Jesus doesn’t want us to focus on the one tiny thing that we don’t like about ourselves and forget what He is doing in our lives. Maybe right now, you’re feeling defeated mentally and you’re focusing on that one flaw that seems to eat at you all the time. I’ve been there, and I I’m here to tell you that Jesus has shown me that I’m focusing on one small part of my picture- and that it’s not my entire picture. I’ve felt him tell me that it’s ok to not be perfect. He’s shown me that I need to keep my focus on him and what he did for me.
The fact is, Jesus paid for your sins on the cross 2,000 years ago and paid the penalty for your death that you deserved. Jesus stands in between you and your previous eternity to hell and has invited you to join him in heaven for eternity, if you confess that you believe in him as your Lord.
Not only that, but Jesus wants to lead you to become more like him- more like your shepherd. He wants you to reflect and look like Him! I know that those flaws, mistakes, and shortcomings eat at you and can be so annoying to experience- but remember who wants you to follow in his footsteps: Jesus.
When you feel weak, he declares that his power will be made perfect in that situation (2 Corinthians 12:9). When you feel dirty, Jesus declares that he can and will cleanse you (Psalm 51:10). When you feel small, Jesus declares to you to be strong- that He himself will walk with you, holding your hand (Psalm 23:4; Psalm 139:10).
My dad gave me a great analogy that I've memorized: If you just look in the rearview mirrors of your car instead of straight ahead, you’re going to end up crashing- and that in life, the same thing will happen if we become too focused on the wrong things or our past. It makes us lose focus on the road right in front of us- what God has for us today (Matthew 6:34). Instead of focusing on those things (not ignoring or dismissing them completely), we can study Bible verses and passages that we want to look like and reflect.
Passages for spiritual reflection
“Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.” -Galatians 5:19-26 ESV
In this passage, God is telling us as followers of Jesus what traits we should strive to become more like, and reflect in our lives. It’s way easier said than done, but by studying these fruits of the spirit and by walking with Jesus, we will start to reflect these traits instead of worldly traits.
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.” - 1 Corinthians 13:1-8 ESV
Love is one of the central traits of Jesus and should be at the center of our spiritual lives as well; the first few verses of this passage explain just how important it is to have the love of Jesus. 'We can be as faithful as we want, but if we don't have love, then we're nothing.'
I've heard a lot of people replace the word love in the verses 4-7 with their own name, and I love that idea. I also love to replace the word love with Jesus (He is love, after all), and in doing this, it makes it easier for me to follow these verses in my day to day life and practically apply them.
““You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." - Matthew 5:13-16 ESV
I love this passage because Jesus is giving us an analogy of what we should look like in the world. He wants us to show the people around us that we're following Him and what that looks like. Jesus wants us to be the salt and light of the world so that others will see that and give glory to God.
““You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.” - Matthew 5:21-22 ESV
Anger is a topic that God talks about all throughout the Bible through stories and application verses like this one. God wants us to practice patience and self-control with our anger because it doesn't reflect Him, but evil instead (James 1:20; Psalm 37:8; Ephesians 4:26-27). When you look in the "spiritual mirror" at yourself, do you see more anger or gentleness?
““You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” - Matthew 5:43-48 ESV
Another central part of God's heart is loving not just his children, but those who hate him. It can only take the love of God to truly love your enemies. People that don't know Jesus physically cannot do this on their own. People that anger you, ridicule you, bully you, hurt you, etc. can all be an enemy, so a trait of God that he wants us to follow includes loving all of these types of people. Another aspect of this passage that can be pulled out is to greet everyone- not just your brothers, or other Jesus followers that you know. It's natural for us to focus on ourselves and how we can better ourselves on our own, but Jesus wants us to lean on him daily. What an amazing person to follow.
I hope that this helps you lean on Jesus more today and remember that he wants you to look like Him. Thank you for reading, and all glory to Jesus!
"My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you. Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths." - Proverbs 3: 1-6