(Prov 27:19 NLT) As a face is reflected in water, so the heart reflects the real person.
We continue our “gleanings from the Proverbs. Here Solomon compares our outward man with our inward man. He says that we can see what the outer man looks like by looking into water and seeing the reflection. However, in order to see our inner man, with is our true-self, we must get a reflection of our heart. Let me say how to do that in a minute. But before I do, I want to remind us that there are three parts (or facets) of us. We are our spirit, we possess a soul – which is comprised of the mind (the way we think), our emotions (the way we feel), and our will (the way we make decisions) – and our spirit and soul live in a body (where we are housed for now). When we stop breathing and we say (in earthly terms) that we have died, we did not really die. The real us will live forever.
Getting back then to this text, Solomon’s point is that we have ways of easily getting a reflection of our outer man. We can use the water he suggests, or we can use a mirror, which James (in the New Testament) suggests. James said, “Don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it” (James 1:22-25). Solomon points out that if you look at your outward man in water you are actually not seeing a reflection of your true-self. James points out that no one, in the natural, looks in a mirror (at a reflection of their outward man) and then fails to make the corrections the mirror points out. The mirror is simply a reflection of truth and when you see something in the mirror you don’t like, then you DO something about it. If you walk away from the mirror without making the change, you are only fooling yourself. Just like we can understand that in the natural (with our outward man), James makes the connection with the Word and our inward man.
So what does this mean to us today? A few things:
1. Natural reflection. A mirror (or water) provides a reflection of what you look like on the outside. The mirror is just a reflection of truth. If you don’t like what you see, you don’t get mad at the mirror, you simply make the necessary adjustments.
2. Spiritual reflection. The Word of God is the only mirror that can give you a reflection of what you look like on the inside, which is the real you. When you look into the Word, you see yourself and if you don’t like what you see, you don’t get mad at the Word, you simply make the necessary adjustments.
3. Don’t ignore the reflection. Just like you don’t get up in the morning and ignore the mirror (naturally), please don’t ignore the Word (spiritually). James teaches us that if we look into the Word and we see what we need to change, but we fail to do it, then we are hearers and not doers and we are only fooling ourselves. You will never grow until you look into the Word (the spiritual mirror) with the intent of changing everything that it exposes to you that is not right in your life!