Daily we may ask ourselves the same question, How do I look? And if there is nobody who can help, then the full length mirror is good enough. “Almost all of us will get up in the morning and look in the mirror and see something in our appearance we may not like or wish looked different,” said a clinical psychologist. No wonder that many people think critically regarding external parts of their bodies, but an exception to the rule is also possible. Here is another saying, ”I get up in the morning, take a look in the mirror and I’m very comfortable with what I see,” said a former athlete at the Winter Olympics. Even though there is a minority who like their appearance when looking in the mirror, we shouldn’t overlook their rights. But the interesting thing about people’s “like and dislike” of themselves is that the discrepancy is caused not by the quality of the mirror, but most likely by the state of men’s deficiency.
When we look at ourselves in the flat mirror, we engage in a self-evaluation of our physical appearance. But today, unlike being engaged in such an ordinary evaluation, we offer you something extraordinary. First, think about this. If Christians are not neutral on how they look before others, then how much more should they be aware of how they look at the sight of the Holy God! And if they are really aware, God helps by giving to his people a “Supernatural Mirror.” As you might guess, it is not an optical device that can be qualified for this purpose, it is the Word of God and particularly the words of God’s law. Our theologians teach that one of the usages of God’s law functions as a mirror reflecting back our imperfection in the light of the moral standard given in the law. Such a mirror shows our shortcomings each time when we have fallen in thought, word and deed. It doesn’t matter what we can think about ourselves, this mirror always reflects back upon our imperfection; it says, all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (Rom 3:23).
We wish you to look in that “Supernatural Mirror” in order to be sure that there is no exception but only needs for changing. With this intention in mind, let’s look in the “Supernatural Mirror,” namely the two stories based on (Josh 2:1-24) and (Acts 8:26-40). On hearing these stories, we ask you to evaluate yourselves objectively in the presence of the Eternal Light. Now, please open your Bibles to Joshua chapter 2:1-24 and read it.
While reading we noted that the most prominent character of this story is a prostitute Rahab. What is wonderful about her is that she became an ancestress of King David mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus (Mt 1:5). Yet she had behaved in opposite to her loyal citizens, says our text. Just think over what she did. She provided a shelter for the spies, (v.1); misled the police, (vv.4,5); disclosed a military secret, (vv.9-11); and made a covenant with the enemy of her citizens in return for her life and the lives of her relatives, (vv. 12-14). From a certain perspective, Rahab is a betrayer, a woman who deserved a death penalty without delay. Meantime the people of Jericho seem to be the patriots of their country. As it can be seen, by all possible means they tried to do their best searching for Jewish spies and preventing Jericho from the impending threat.
But how about us? Are we patriots? I bet we are! Then, we must act accordingly. And here is the problem because on that specific occasion we might be found among God’s enemies. A little more and the walls of Jericho would fall, a little more and all the loyalists would be blotted out by the sword. Now, how are we perceived while looking in the supernatural mirror? Do we perceive ourselves as God’s friends or as his opponents?
When you might ponder the woman’s unusual behavior, please focus on her amazing faith and fear of God. These virtues were based on the knowledge of the military success of Israel and the work of the Holy Spirit in her heart. From the preceding context it says that the Gentiles knew about Israel’s triumph; yet, they refused to believe in the God of Israel who was the cause of those victories. Unlike the citizens of Jericho, Rahab is only an example of the faith in the God of Israel, (Heb.11: 31). Her faith was empowered with love toward God in doing good to His people and in resisting the enemies of the Lord.” That is what the woman did. Then, after hearing the Rahab’s story, we shouldn’t be surprised or wonder about seeing our need for changing.
Now, please open your Bibles at Acts 8:26-40 and let’s read it. While we were reading, we noted another prominent figure along with Philip – an Ethiopian man, a eunuch. He was an officer of Queen Candace, a secretary of the state treasury. The tradition says that the queen was herself converted to Christianity by this man on his return. The Church recognized him as the apostle in that whole region who also carried the message into Abyssinia, Arabia and in Ceylon, where he suffered martyrdom.
As you can, imagine yourselves among the heroes of faith in Christ as you would suffer the loss of your possessions, or endure reproaches, or pass through many dangers of body and life. Actually many of us have not endured much in the name of Christ. Meanwhile, with our true conversion, we should deny all pleasures of this world for Christ’s sake and his Gospel as the Ethiopian secretary did. Some of us may say that we live in the so-called post-modern world. And so far, we’ve not heard in our State that there has been anyone who was burned at the stake as John Huss, for example, or was executed with the wild beasts as Ignatius. That is true, but there are still some other striking characteristics of the Ethiopian man that are relevant to us.
Our text narrates the episode where on returning home, the eunuch was employing his time in the best possible manner. Sitting in his chariot he was looking in the “Supernatural Mirror,” – the book of the Prophet Isaiah – and he read it aloud, (v.30). Meantime some Christians of our days, read the Bible neither at home nor anywhere else, if not to mention the reading aloud as the Ethiopian did. This man of faith was an excellent student of his own Bible Class. The next great characteristic of the man is his impulsive and positive response on hearing the gospel. As he had known that a conversion should be accomplished with baptism, and when he perceived water, he didn’t miss the very first opportunity to obey the Word of God. This man is an excellent example to all of us in terms of how quickly we need to reflect upon God’s words whereas they ought to be observed immediately. On our hearing about this character, we may be surprised or wonder about seeing our needs for changing.
In the process of our personal evaluation we may ask ourselves, What do we think of our inner appearance? Do we like to change something in us? Do we long for being changed for the better? What may God think of us? As our conscious posts such questions, we may not ready to answer them at this time. Then, whenever it is convenient for you, think over the two great characters taken from real life of the real characters, and do your best trying to be like them.
The important thing to meditate we do by a simple illustration. It says about a short man who wanted to drive a nail into a wall to carry a big picture. He stood on a chair, but it was not high enough. Then his wife set out a small box. Balancing himself unstably, the husband began to give the nail hesitating taps with the hammer. His wife said, “Why don’t you give a brave blow or two, and settle it?” The man replied, “How can I give a brave blow or two when I am standing on such a foundation?” Similarly, our effort to be changed for the better raises the question of uncertainty when we strive but it doesn’t settle. In this instance, we draw the inevitable connection to Christ who is the unshakable foundation, the source of our growth in the spiritual prettiness. With his coming in our lives, we’ve already been changed in mind (Rom 7:25) receiving the ability to see our spiritual imperfection and our need for Christ’s mercy and redeeming grace. Here we praise the Lord in Christ Jesus for his goodness to us. We praise the Lord for He loves us even despite of our imperfection; yet, giving us the very opportunity to see ourselves critically and be changed for better.
In the process of our personal evaluation we may ask ourselves, What do we think of our inner appearance? Do we like to change something in us? Do we long for being changed for the better? What may God think of us? As our conscious posts such questions, we may not ready to answer them at this time. Then, whenever it is convenient for you, think over the two great characters taken from real life, and do your best trying to be like them.