Introduction

In our previous post, we have looked at two metaphors that describe the word of God.

In Part 1: The word of God is like Fire and Hammer

Let us continue our next metaphor

Word Of God Is Like A Mirror

“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;
  for he observes himself, goes away,
  and immediately forgets what kind of
  man he was. But he who looks into the
  perfect law of liberty and continues in it,
  and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of
  the work, this one will be blessed in what
  he does.” – James (Jas 1:23-25)

Here Elder James describes the word of God like a mirror. A man can never see himself, that is why we have mirrors. The purpose of the mirror is to show us our reflection. The mirror will reflect how we look accurately.  If the mirror does not produce a good reflection  we cannot push the blame to the mirror.

Likewise the Word of God is like a mirror, it reveals our true character.  It reflected our weakness and the ugliness that is within us. When we look at this reflection of our weakness and ugliness, should we be angry with the mirror?  Will we choose to get up and walk away from it?

Whenever we observe our reflection on the mirror, if we notice that our hair is messy or dirt on our faces. We would comb our hair and clean our faces. Though some may decide to clean the mirror for they think that it was the mirror that was dirty. It would be bad to choose to ignore it and walk away.

If our face is dirty, can we blame the mirror for reflecting the dirt? Sadly this is the attitude of some Christians whenever they gather to listen to the word of God.  They would rather wish that the mirror to be quiet and not point out their mistakes. What is worst is when they push the blame to the mirror for being dirty. 

The “Holy” Bible

Once an atheist asked “Why is the bible called the Holy Bible when it records of so many unholy things?”

Indeed there were stories of rape, incest, murder and genocide within the records of the scripture.  There are also stories that are scandalous and could ruin the reputation of Kings. For the bible recorded how King David peeped at Bathsheba bathing and how it led him to become an adulterer, a murderer as well as a covetous man who lusted for his subordinate’s wife. 

That is why many atheist insist that the bible is an evil book and is not fit to be called the Holy Bible.

But how should we react to such criticism? We know from James that the word of God is like a mirror. It is able to reflect our sin, our pettiness and ugliness within our heart. It testifies of evil that is around us. Only a mirror that is clean could show our reflection faithfully. It would be ironic not to notice the dirt on our faces and to clean the mirror instead.

Indeed there are many books and chronicles that beautify and glorify things that are evil and dirty. They hide the ugliness of man so that no one can see it. This is why they cannot be a true mirror , only the word of God is a mirror.  If we observe the reflection carefully we will know that it is talking about us. 

The reason for the bible to keep such record is to tell us a few things. Firstly it allow us to re-examine ourselves to see if we need to repent.  Secondly it is a record telling us that no an could remain righteous by their own power. Which is why God need to intervene in order to save man from sin.

The Mirror That Reveals The Ugliness Of Men

Interestingly, both western and eastern culture contained stories and folklore regarding magic mirrors.

Among the Chinese legend, there was a mirror that is able to revealed goblins who disguised themselves as humans.The Chinese called it 照妖镜 (zhào​ yāo​ jìng)​. The term is now used to describe the ability to see through a conspiracy.

But in that legend. The mirror is able to reveal the true reflection of the demons even if he is disguised as a common man.  In the same way, the word of God is able to discern if we are good or evil. Jesus once used the word of God to reflect the ugliness and hypocrisy of the Pharisees of his days. 

(Extracted from Jn 8:40-44 )

Jesus : “But now you seek to kill Me, a Man 
                who has told you the truth which I
                heard from God. Abraham did not 
                do this. You do the deeds of your father.”

Pharisees : “We were not born of fornication;
                          we have one Father—God.”

Jesus :   “If God were your Father, you
                  would love Me, for I proceeded
                  forth and came from God; nor have 
                  I come of Myself, but He sent Me. 
                 Why do you not understand My speech?
                 Because you are not able to listen to My word.

                 You are of your father the devil, and the
                 desires of your father you want to do. 
                 He was a murderer from the beginning,
                 and does not stand in the truth, because
                 there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie,
                 he speaks from his own resources,
                 for he is a liar and the father of it”

The Pharisees appear to be God fearing before everyone, but when Jesus uses the truth as a mirror on them. The mirror reflected that they were not of God but were of the devil. For their thoughts and their actions are similar to the devil, who is the father of lies and a murderer from the beginning . When Jesus told them the truth, they wanted to kill him.

The Pharisees understood the truth spoken by Jesus and they are unable to accept it, when the words of Christ reflected the fault that is in their hearts . They wanted to silence Jesus by killing him. For no one dares to speak against the Pharisees so far. The truth reflected the ugliness within their hearts .

The Mirror That Reveals What Is Beauty In The Eyes Of God

In the west there mentioned another magic mirror. This mirror tells us who is the prettiest in the land. The queen  who stood before it often ask “Mirror mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?"

The mirror will always reply "My queen, you are the fairest in the land." The answer remain constant until the day Snow White was born. This time the mirror replied “My queen, you are the fairest here so true. But Snow White is a thousand times more beautiful than you.” The queen was unable to accept the truth.

The word of God is like a mirror, it reflected what is beautiful in the eyes of God. In real life, we often use the mirror to help us groom ourselves and to make ourselves look presentable. But sometimes beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder.

But have we wonder what is beautiful in the eyes of God? That is the beauty we ought to pursue after. Sometimes we feel that God is unfair, for he had made some beautiful and some less beautiful. Sometimes we murmur against God and ask why are we not as intelligent as our friends.

Even though it is not our fault, but people give us different treatments according to how intelligent we are and how pretty we are.

But whenever we read the bible, it tells us of what is beautiful and valuable in the eyes of God. It point us to the right direction to the qualities we ought to pursue. For everything on earth is temporary, it is vanity and its glory will soon pass away. The things that are beautiful in the eyes of God are eternal and they last forever.

So will we pursue the beauty of the world or the beauty of the kingdom of God?

If we want to pursue after what is beautiful in God’s eye, we need to have the courage to stand before this mirror and check our reflection.  Then when Jesus come again we would be like the bride ready for the bridegroom. If we fail to prepare ourselves and we allow our filthiness to remain on us. How can we be fit to enter the kingdom of heaven?

Let us remember that the word of God is like a mirror, and most importantly let us use it regularly to examine ourselves for dirt For we need to cleanse ourselves in order to enter the kingdom of God.

Let us examine another metaphor

Word Of God Is Like A Rain

“For as the rain comes down,
  and the snow from heaven,
  And do not return there,
  But water the earth,
  And make it bring forth and bud,
  That it may give seed to the sower
  And bread to the eater,

  So shall My word be that goes forth
  from My mouth;
  It shall not return to Me void,
  But it shall accomplish what I please,
  And it shall prosper in the thing for which 
  I sent it.”- YHWH (Is 55:10-11)

Here the book of Isaiah describes the word of God as rainwater. Water is essential for life, without water the land will not give its produce. No matter how good the seed or how fertile the land is, without rain there will be no harvest.

The word of God is like rain, it is one that had the strength and the power of life. It can nurture life and help plants grow. That is why we need to get the water from God. For God spoke through Isaiah saying 

“Ho! Everyone who thirsts,
  Come to the waters;
  And you who have no money,
  Come, buy and eat.
  Yes, come, buy wine and milk
  Without money and without price.
  Why do you spend money for what is not bread,
  And your wages for what does not satisfy?
  Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good,
  And let your soul delight itself in abundance.
  Incline your ear, and come to Me.
  Hear, and your soul shall live;
  And I will make an everlasting covenant with you—
  The sure mercies of David.” – YHWH (Is 55:1-3)

Let us not buy the waters from the world, for the things of earth can satisfy us temporarily. It may be able to satisfy us materially, it may be able to satisfy the lust of our eyes. But it cannot satisfy the void that is in our heart.

Why should we spend so much effort and money on things that can never truly satisfy?  Whenever we get a new car, a new house, we would feel elated upon receiving them. But how long will that happiness last? When we see other having something better, it robs us of our happiness.

We would desire something better a larger house, a cooler car  when will we ever be happy and satisfied? If we can be contented that easily, we would not have the rich committing suicide.

Men had a void in their heart, it is something nothing in the world can truly satisfy.  You may be a CEO with with a grand house and a luxury car. But our hearts would still be troubled we will find it hard to feel happiness. The void in man is the result of a life cut off from God. There is no hope of eternal life and eternal rest.  That is why only by returning to God can this void be filled up

Filling The Void In The Heart

Jesus had once said

“Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again,
  
but whoever drinks of the water that I shall
   give him will never thirst. But the water that
   I shall give him will become in him a fountain 
  of water springing up into everlasting life.”- Jesus (Jn 4:13-14)

You may have a lot of water in this life, but you will experience thirst again.  For there will not be everlasting joy and peace.  Our world is never had a lack of  good food and good  enjoyment . Every culture regard their food as the best in the world.

But is there something that is so delicious yet the hardest to swallow?

It can be found in all cultures and we all have problems eating it. It is called “The Last Morsel”

It is the last bit of the most delicious food that will give us fond memories. But when we arrive at the last morsel, we would admire it for a long time and we will find it hard to swallow . It is not that this last morsel taste awful. But we all know that sadness of not being able to eat it for some time. 

That is why we would take a long time to eat it, we would nibble on it slowly and keep it for as long as we can. 

Under normal circumstances, we are able to enjoy our food because we know that we can try it again if we want to. That is the reason why we can enjoy without worries, for we know we can still eat it again. 

Therefore let u consider “Can enjoyment and sin satisfy forever?”

Let us consider this from some real life examples.

Suppose if a man were to spend his days living in sin, he may be happy during that moment of sin. But when he returns home and he knows that he have to account for his action before his wife and his family. Will that joy satisfy him forever?

Suppose if a man is able to enjoy everything that money has to offer. He is happy and contented with all that he had. But if one day his life is threatened by terminal illness and he would pass away anytime. Can he still remain happy? Will he be able to face death with courage?

The two examples above tells us that man needs the assurance to be able to face God and to have his sin forgiven. He need to know that when he dies, he is able to enter heaven and enter that eternal life. A man who is sure of that can face death without an issue. At the same time he will learn to enjoy every moment he had on earth. For he knows that he only live once, and after that he will enter a better place. 

Only the words of God can give us this eternal life and peace. It can satisfy us allowing us  not to thirst again. It is able to give us peace and allow us to be truly satisfied.  It can help us remain joyful. That is why the word of God is indeed the water of eternal life. It points us back to God and it lead us to eternal life

Let us not waste our time pursuing the waters of the world. Let us seek out the water of eternal life that God wanted us to have. Let us focus on what is everlasting and not the temporary things on earth.

The Cleansing Rain

There is another aspect of rain that we should consider. For many things on earth is cleanse with water. 

“that He might sanctify and cleanse
  her with the washing of water by
  the word, that He might present
  her to Himself a glorious church,
  not having spot or wrinkle or any
  such thing, but that she should be
  holy and without blemish. “ – Paul (Eph 5:26-27)

God demands his church to be a glorious church. But how do we define “a glorious church”?

Many regard a glorious church to be grand and clean, without a spot or wrinkle. That is why they built grand looking cathedrals and majestic church halls. They have the state of the art sound system with excellent indoor acoustics. They decorate the hall with stained glass, crystal lamps so as to give it a grand and majestic look. But does that make it a glorious church?

The church is not the building but the people who gathers and worship in it. They are the ones washed by the blood of Jesus. At the moment of baptism, , we are part of this church. Since we are part of this church we need to strive to be the Christian that are spotless and without wrinkle.

To help us achieve that, Jesus had used his blood to wash away our sins.  He had also given us his words to cleanse us. We need to understand the will of God and accept the cleansing of his blood. At the same time we need to listen to the words of God and allow it to clean us. We need to change our lives and repent before God, allowing his words to remove the uncleanness that is in our hearts.

Whenever we gather in church to listen to the words of God. It will remind us of our sins and sometimes rebuke us. There will also be time when the words of God can bring comfort and refresh us in our times of disappointment. If we do not listen to the words of God, we will not know of our own uncleanness.  We would think that everyone around us is as bad as us. 

Only by listening to the word of God we can see our actual situation. It can help us discover our weakness, sadness and our areas that require improvement.  As long as we come before God with a heart of repentance and to obey him, the word of God will be like rain water, giving us comfort and strength to change and to return to God. 

Let us esteem the word of God and allow it to cleanse us and help us.

Relationship Between Repentance And Resolve

Some of us may observe, “We have see many Christians coming to church and hearing the word of God. But they remain weak and unclean, it seems as though the word of God is powerless against sin.”

Such observation worries speakers as well. We sometimes question if we  should continue to speak the words of God. We wonder if there is a need to change our tones or to speak with tears.  Sometimes we wonder if we should speak with more zest and vigour. Especially when we look from the pulpit and it looks as though the word of God had no effect.

But Jesus once said that his words are life and they are spirit. They do have their power and effect. If not why do we receive testimonies of how the word of God changes the life of sinners.

The reason why many lives remain unchanged is because the hearers refuse to allow it to change their hearts. It is not that the word of God is without power and is not able to change life. For many of these Christians did experience changes, but their change impacted only for a moment.  Peter describes this aptly in his letter.

“For if, after they have escaped the
  pollutions of the world through the
  knowledge of the Lord and Saviour
  Jesus Christ, they are again entangled
  in them and overcome, the latter end
  is worse for them than the beginning.

  For it would have been better for them
  not to have known the way of righteousness,
  than having known it, to turn from the holy
  commandment delivered to them.

  But  it has happened to them according to
  the true proverb: “A dog returns to his own
  vomit,” and, “a sow, having washed, to
  her wallowing in the mire.”- Peter (2 Pet 2:20-22)

In the old testament, the dogs and pigs are considered unclean animals. For dogs ate their own vomit and the pig is unable to chew the curd, they  will also wallow in the mire. You may be able to give them a bath but they will return to their habits after that.

Some Christian have the same problem, they repented when they heard the teaching of Jesus. Their repentance is true and they began on their journey of faith.   But after a while they became estranged by the wickedness in the world again.

They do know the way of God, but they are unable to continue in that path.  They knew that it is wrong to visit  Casinos and Brothels and they know how it would bring harm to their life. But they choose to walk towards it.

These are the believers that Peter was talking about in his letter. That is why we see Christian lusting after the things of the world and leaving the church. They have stopped following Christ. They may be believers or even disciples in the past. They were the ones who left everything to follow Christ. But today they are no longer walking on the path of God.

That is why we need to understand that faith is not just about repenting with sincerity.  We need to have the resolve to follow Christ all the days of our lives. If we choose to  continue walking the path of wickedness we will fall away from God eventually.

A Concluding Story

There was a mental patient who felt that he had recovered and wanted to go home. So he approached the doctor to ask for his discharge. The doctor replied him with a challenge

“Let me give you a test,
  if you pass the test, I would 
  approve your discharge and 
  you can return home as you
  wish.”

The doctor went forward and turn on a tap, and the water was flowing into a pail. The doctor gave the patient a scope, and gave him his instruction.

“If you are able to scoop out 
  all the water from the pail,
  you can be discharged.”

So the patient was happy and replied “This is so easy” and he began scooping the water out. After some time,  there is still water in the pail. He wondered why it is not empty. So he told the doctor “There is something wrong with the pail, it is not normal”

So the doctor said “That is why you cannot go home”

A normal person will know that he need to close the tap before scooping out the water.

This same principle applies when we are trying to maintain holiness. A man can only be holy when he had decided to stop sinning. He needs to turn off the tap. We need to stop walking on the path of the wicked. We need to stop entertaining the thoughts of sinning. That is the only way to stop wickedness.

The Psalmist once said 

“Blessed is the man 
Who walks not in the
counsel of the ungodly, 
Nor stands in the path 
of sinners, Nor sits in the
  seat of the scornful;” – Psalmist (Ps 1:1)

We know the path of the righteous and the path of wickedness. We are aware of the end of both the sinner and the righteous. Let us use the word of God to cleanse and preserve our faith, When Christ come again we will receive blessing.  Let us make this decision to follow Jesus and never turn back. 

Advertisements