Summary: An Introduction to a series on the Ten Commandments: The Scriptures show us who we really are, that God might transform us.
Intro – Mirrors, Morning Rituals
What’s the first thing you do when you get up in the morning? Whatever it is, it’s probably the same thing every day. Everybody seems to have their own morning rituals to get them going.
Maybe you have to have a cup of coffee before you can do anything.
Maybe you make your bed as soon as you get out of it, or you jump right into the shower.
I have to brush my teeth before I can stand to do anything else.
Some of you may start getting yourself ready for morning the night before
My brother puts coffee & water in his coffee maker every night so that in the morning, all he has to do is flip the switch
But some part of everybody’s morning ritual is coming face to face with the mirror.
Most of us probably get our first look at ourselves while we’re still pretty scary looking.
Our eyes have that bleary, dazed look
Our hair is sticking out in strange places,
Normally clean-shaven guys have some scruffy overnight growth of beards to deal with.
Facing our mirrors first thing in the morning is NOT that pleasant an experience.
Mirrors are very honest little things.
They don’t compromise.
They don’t gloss over our defects and tell us we’re better-looking than we really are.
They show us every wart, wrinkle, gray hair & zit.
In fact, the better the mirror, the more flaws we see.
So why do we all have mirrors in our bathrooms?
Well, because as unpleasant as it may be to confront our own faces first thing in the morning, we that if we don’t take a look at ourselves, and make some major adjustments, the rest of the world is going to see that morning face!
So we figure, it’s better to “face” the truth, so we can make the changes we think are necessary to make ourselves presentable to the rest of the world.
Of course, there are mirrors that don’t give us an accurate picture of what we look like.
If you’ve ever been to a fun house, you’ve seen how a distorted mirror can give you a distorted picture of yourself.
There are mirrors that can make you look tall and skinny or short and fat;
They can flip you upside down or twist your image until it’s unrecognizable.
If I had the engineering skills, I could make myself a mirror that would reflect an image a lot closer to the one I’d like to see.
I’d get one of the ones that would make me look tall and skinny!
Wouldn’t that be great?
If I did that, it would be easy to tell myself I’m the perfect weight!
But what’s the problem with that?
Well, obviously, the problem is that looking into a distorted mirror doesn’t change the reality of who I am.
The only person I would be fooling with that mirror is myself.
The passage I read this morning says that God’s Law is like a mirror.
Think about that picture for a minute:
You’re you, standing in front of a mirror
The mirror itself is God’s Law
And I believe that when the New Testament refers to “The Law” as James does here, we can include all of God’s commands found in Scripture.
So it includes “Thou shalt not kill”
And it includes “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
It includes, “Thou shalt not commit adultery”
And it includes “Go and make disciples of all nations…”
And we’re told that God’s Law – all of his requirements and his commands to us – are like a mirror
What do you see when you look in a mirror?
You see YOU
So James is saying that when we look into God’s Law, we see ourselves.
In what way do you see yourself when you look into God’s commands?
I see something that looks like that creature that appears in my bathroom mirror first thing in the morning!!
I don’t always like looking at what the mirror of God’s Law shows me of myself
But the only way that scary person in the mirror can be transformed by God’s grace and power is by first admitting “That’s me.”
What would you think of me if I took a look in the mirror after my lunch, realized I had 23 poppy seeds stuck in my teeth, and then just walked away
You’d probably think, “Well why did she look in the mirror if she was just going to walk away with all those black seeds in her teeth?
What you would’ve expected me to do would be to start picking the seeds out of my teeth until I could see in the mirror that they were all gone.
James says that when we read the Bible and don’t apply it to our lives, it’s just like seeing a bunch of poppy seeds stuck in our teeth and just leaving them there.