When you look into the mirror, what Image in the Mirror do you see looking back at you? Is that person the real you, or do you somehow distort or even enhance that person? What I would like to do in this series is look at perception, at the way you see yourself and ask the big question…

Do I like what I see? Do I see myself in a true light? What or who am I reflecting, and what is the Image in the Mirror?

1 Corinthians 13:12 (ESV Strong's)

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

 

Ok, we cannot truly see what the Lord wants us to see in ourselves, and we will not know fully until we get to heaven, but we can by faith begin to see things in our lives the way God see, and begin to reflect Him in our lives, not our selfish, self centred, self glorifying selves!

 

So as I share this message, I want you to imagine you are holding a clock up to a mirror...

In other words, it’s time for reflection!

 

Image in the Mirror- WHAT YOU SEE ISN’T WHAT YOU GET

 

As a Behavioural Optometrist, I specialise in visual perception. The thing is, having 20/20 vision really means very little. Sure, you need to see, but just because you physically have the capacity to see something doesn’t mean you understand what you see.

 

Many things in life actually distort or affect what we perceive, especially when I comes to ourselves.

Lenses or glasses can shape your view of the world, but mirrors can likewise distort your view of yourself.

 

The devil does not want you to see yourself properly, he doesn’t want you to see yourself how God sees you. He also doesn’t want you to reflect the image of Jesus Christ, so he does his best to mess up how you see yourself, and who it is your life reflects! What Image in the Mirror Do You See?

 

The purpose of this series is to gain a true reflection of ourselves, undistorted by anything that is not of God!  Let’s let His Spirit guide us into truth. That’s why God’s Word says,

 

John 16:13 (ESV Strong’s)

When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak,

 

So what things distort our reflection in the mirror? What changes how we see ourselves?

 

1.      DISTORTED BY DIRT AND GRIME

 

If a mirror is dirty, you cannot clearly see the image in the surface. It does not mean that the mirror doesn’t work, but rather that the mirror is covered in a substance that is not reflective.

 

Going through your life, you can pick up dirt and grime, which we call sin. Sin separates you from God, covers up the true reflection of yourself, and covers any chance you have of reflecting Jesus to the world. If you constantly live in sin, the dirt and grime builds up until you cannot see God, you are not close to Him and you cannot be the person God wants you to be…

 

Isaiah 59:2 (ESV Strong's)

but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God,

and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.

 

The Hebrew word for hidden is satar, which literally means covered or concealed. A layer of grime or sin conceals the true reflection, and if it is  thick enough or deep enough you cannot see anything!

 

1 John 1:5-7 (ESV Strong's)

God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

 

God is light, and if you are disobedient and wilfully sinning, or tolerate sin in your life, you are misting the mirror, and the light cannot reflect properly off the surface.

 

The Greek word for cleanses is katharizo, which means to purify, wash, to scrub clean.

 

1 John 1:9 (ESV Strong's)

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

 

Harbouring sin in your life, even a hidden sin, tolerating it instead of confessing it covers over the true image you should be. If you are tolerating sin, it’s time to confess it, and allow the blood of Jesus to wash your life clean!

 

2.      DISTORTED BY THE PAST

 

If a mirror gets old, the inner surface of silver nitrate often breaks down, and gets scratchy, and this distorts the image on the front. This is not dirt on the outside, the inner layer is breaking down!

 

So many people including Christians allow their past to distort what they reflect in the present. It might have been words spoken to you, situations you have been through, your upbringing, your fears, your pain. But God says this…

 

Isaiah 43:18-19 (NIV-WS)

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!

Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

 

The Lord is saying, “Stop dwelling on past failures! Don’t you get it… I’m doing a new thing!”it’s time to make the past past at last.

 

When the past quarrels with the present, there can be no future. We all need to learn from our past. But we must also stop living in the past, or letting past failures control us, and move on to God’s new assignments and goals. Spiritual renewal involves letting go of the past so that we can take hold of what is in the present and redirect our course toward a new life for the future.  What Image in the Mirror Do You See?

 

If you had a difficult upbringing, a troubled relationship with your mum or dad, then today is the day you give that to the Lord and let Him carry that burden, not you. If you have something in your past you’re ashamed of, something you still feel guilty for, it’s is time to hand it over to Jesus, not carry the load yourself.

 

So if you have had a divorce or separation, if you’ve been abused or controlled, if you’ve done something you just hate yourself for doing, today is the day to hand it over to Jesus, and let it stop affecting how you see yourself.

 

3.      DISTORTED BY BEING SHATTERED

 

If you drop a hand mirror, any mirror, they don’t bounce too well. They shatter, and you allegedly get 7 years bad luck and a distorted, fractured image.

 

In the same way, hurt and pain that has affected your life, that has damaged or even shattered your life, destroys the image in your mirror. Pain affects how you see yourself, so whether it’s physical pain from sickness or disease, or emotional pain from someone betraying you or letting you down, pain affects how you see and value yourself, and how you reflect God.

 

It also affects people around you, because hurt people hurt people. You don’t mean to be like this, but that hurt inside you causes you to lash out and hurt the ones you love. What Image in the Mirror Do You See?

 

But the Bible says this…

 

Psalms 34:18 (ESV Strong's)

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.

 

Are you crushed today, are you shattered today? How long have you carried that pain deep inside you? God loves you, God can heal that pain and today, He is willing if you will trust Him. Don’t let bitterness ruin how you see yourself or how you reflect Christ.  What Image in the Mirror Do You See?

 

Hebrews 12:15 (ESV Strong's)

See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled

 

If you have been hurt and you haven’t given it over to God, which involves forgiving other people, then it is like drinking poison hoping the other guys dies! Holding onto hurt shatters the image of God in you, and distorts how you see yourself. Today is the day to forgive and give your hurt to God.

 

Forgiving someone who hurt you dies not legitimise or condone what they did, it simply releases the hold they have on you, and set you free to see yourself as God sees you!

 

4.      DISTORTED BY SURROUNDING REFLECTIONS

 

The image in the mirror can be affected by external things surrounding the mirror, such as reflections, lights or other images.

 

In the same way your imagein the mirror of yourself can be affected, even destroyed but the opinions of others.

 

“Sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me!” Is not true.

 

James 3:8-9 (ESV Strong's)

but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God.

 

Your value doesn’t decrease based on someone else’s inability to see your worth. What Image in the Mirror Do You See, not them?

 

If you have had someone speaking negative words over your life, whether now or sometime in the past, you need to recognise that someone else’s opinion is just that. Opinions are like noses… everybody has one, and most of them smell!

 

Don’t let your Image in the Mirror of who you truly are be distorted or sometimes even destroyed by the word of others. Their words only have power if you let them, if you give them permission to affect your life.

 

Proverbs 15:4 (NIV-WS)

 

The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.

 

In the Message Bible it says this…

Proverbs 15:4 (MSG)

Kind words heal and help; cutting words wound and maim.

 

If someone has or is speaking negatives over your life, today is the day we break those curses and they fall to the ground dead, lifeless and powerless. Some of you will need prayer to break this power, but it can and indeed must be done for you to begin to see the image of yourself correctly.  What Image in the Mirror Do You See?

 

Proverbs 26:2 (ESV Strong's)

Like a sparrow in its flitting, like a swallow in its flying,

a curse that is causeless does not alight.

 

5.      DISTORTED BY UNEVEN LAYERING

 

If a mirror has uneven layers of silver nitrate, thin spots appear and these are not as reflective. This can cause distortions or warping in the image. In the same way if our relationship with God is patchy, if we only connect with Him once a week at church, if we skip services or skip quiet times, we will not reflect the Lord the way we should, and this will affect even how we view ourselves.

 

James 4:8 (ESV Strong's)

Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

 

God longs to be close to you, and all it takes is your saying yes, I want to spend time with you, Lord.  Spending time every day with the Lord, reading His Word and praying, causes layer upon layer to be painted on the glass, and this makes you more and more reflective, more and more like Jesus!  What Image in the Mirror Do You See?

 

WHOSE IMAGE DO YOU REFLECT?

 

The thing is, mirrors do not create images, they reflect them. They can be distorted by sin, pain, your past, the words of others and stepping away from God. When you look in the mirror, do you see the real you? Do you see the person you are destined to be? Do you see Jesus reflected in your life.

 

Romans 8:29 (ESV Strong's)

For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

 

God has a plan for your life, and His plan is that you reflect His Son! As you read His Word , as you pray, as you surrender your life to His will, and His care, as you give Him your burdens, you will reflect Jesus, and your life will move into His destiny for you! What Image in the Mirror Do You See?

 

A mirror differs from a pane of glass in that it is painted by several layers of silver nitrate. But where does refined silver come from? It is not mined as pure silver, but dug out of the ground…

 

Psalms 66:10 (ESV Strong's)

For you, O God, have tested us; you have tried us as silver is tried.

 

Let me finish by taking you through the ancient process of refining silver, and in this is a great lesson for all of us who want to be true mirrors, seeing ourselves as a reflection of Christ…

 

As people, we want a great life, we want to be success, we want a great family, people who love us, we want health, wealth, wisdom and blessing. That’s what we want from God, isn’t it? It’s what we pray for, work for and believe for. But the fact is, many of us face tests, trials and hardship.

 

So instead of blaming God for not giving you what you ordered Him to bless you with, why not step back and see things from His point of view, His Holy perspective?

 

God tests every believer, both to reveal the character of his or her heart and to lead him or her into a deeper relationship with Himself. We tend to learn more in the valley than on the mountaintop.

 

Isaiah 48:10 (ESV Strong's)

Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried you in the furnace of affliction.

 

God refines us with the trials, tests and hardships of life, because He wants us to be refined and pure. So what was the process of refining silver in Biblical times?

 

Stage I: The Breaking —The refiner breaks up the natural ore.

 

In biblical times, a refiner began by breaking up rough ore—hardened rock encased with common minerals such as tin, copper, and zinc. But sometimes, somewhere in that rock was precious metals like silver. He has to break the rock to expose the metals to heat.

 

Jeremiah 23:29 (ESV Strong's)

Is not my word like fire, declares the Lord, and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?

 

Perhaps you feel broken today, maybe shattered by a family breakup or a business collapse. If you have been broken you are ready for the next step in refinement…

 

Stage II: The Crucible —The refiner places unrefined silver into a crucible.

 

The crucible is a special metal pot able to withstand extreme heat. The refiner then places the crucible into the furnace at the precise temperature which separates the metals.

 

Proverbs 17:3 (ESV Strong's)

The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and the Lord tests hearts.

 

Stage III: The Dross —The refiner places the crucible in the heated furnace to remove dross.

 

As the ore melts in the crucible under the watchful eye of the refiner, a layer of impurities called “dross” eventually bubbles to the top and forms on the surface.

 

Proverbs 25:4 (ESV Strong's)

Take away the dross from the silver, and the smith has material for a vessel;

 

For us individually, dross represents any sin mixed into our life—any wrong motive, wrong attitude, wrong action, and unforgiveness, unrepentance, or disobedience—anything that keeps us from being all that God wants us to be.

 

Stage IV: The Heat —The refiner raises the temperature again and again.

 

The refiner painstakingly skims off the dross or impurities. Then he then turns up the heat and places the crucible back into the furnace, skimming off more dross each time.  Ancient literature tells us he does this up to 7 times. He knows that only certain impurities are released at certain temperatures.

 

Psalms 12:6 (ESV Strong's)

The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times.

 

This process continues and each time the silver is more and more refined. In your life you may find yourself facing trial after trial, pain after pain, and wonder why your testing seems endless. Yet each time a little more dross, a little more impurity is removed. Multiple trials are often necessary to clean out the dross.

 

So when does the refiner know that the process is complete?

 

Stage V: The Reflection —The refiner sees a clear image of himself.

 

The refiner knows the process is complete, and you need to get this, when he looks into the crucible as sees his reflection clearly. When He looks at you, What Image in the Mirror does He See?

 

Isaiah 48:10 (ESV Strong's)

Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried you in the furnace of affliction.

 

When the refiner looks at your life, does He see His own image reflected back? When you look at yourself in the mirror, do you see the Master reflected in your image?

 

Today is the day we start refining your life. Today is the day we clean out those words spoken over you, the times you were told you’re useless and will amount to nothing. Today is the day we begin to  break their power, we forget the things past and we press on towards the future God has for you.

 

If you’ve had something in your past that you are ashamed of, or have had negative or hurtful words spoken over your life, even if they were said in jest, let’s start freeing you right now. Let’s stop this distortion of your image in the mirror, and let’s start reflecting Jesus.

 

Some years ago I was told by another pastor still on the Coast that I would never be a leader, never be a pastor and never have an impact for God. I knew immediately when said that he was wrong, so Fiona and I took that to the Lord, prayed it through and committed ourselves to follow Him into our destinies. I still meet this guy at pastor’s meetings. He doesn’t talk to me, and I don’t care… his words have no power over me! I don’t have to fight him, because God has vindicated me!

 

If words have been spoken over you in the past, distorting the image of the refiner in your life, stand up.

 

Proverbs 26:2 (ESV Strong's)

Like a sparrow in its flitting, like a swallow in its flying,

a curse that is causeless does not alight.

 

Also, if you have resented the tests that have allowed the Lord to refine your life, it is time to repent and rejoice in the character He is building as He makes you into the image of His Son. What Image in the Mirror Do You See?

About Darin

Pastor Darin Browne is the Senior Pastor of Coast Church in Woombye, Queensland. He is an international speaker and worship leader and has toured all over the world, produced 8 albums and authored several books.

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