Let us examine and probe our ways, Lamentations 3:40a (NASB)
“Ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, sixty, seventy, eighty, ninety, one hundred. That should be enough.” Harold thought out loud, “With this many petition sheets, there is no way Dad and Mom can say no to me getting a pet rat. Now to go and get some signatures.” and with those words, Harold headed to the mall, the busiest place he could think of.
When Harold got to the mall he found that it was indeed very busy. “I'll have these pages full in no time.” he thought but getting signatures turned out to be harder than he thought. First, nobody wanted to stop to talk to him. Second, when they did they were either against rats or for parents. After two hours he was only able to get three signatures.
After a couple more hours and only one more signature, Harold headed to the food court to give his feet a rest. As he sat at one of the tables chowing down a chili dog and some fires, Tracy sneaked up behind him and poke him in the ribs. “I thought you hated malls, Harold, what are you doing here?” she asked.
After Harold explained everything to Tracy, he was sure she would sign his petition because she loved animals and he knew she had several pets and when Tracy asked to see one of the petition papers he got all excited but instead of signing it, Tracy ripped it into little tiny pieces. With a look of horror on his face, Harold gasped, choking on the bite of burger he had in his mouth. As he coughed and sputtered he said one word, “Why.”
“I live on a farm, Harold.” Tracy snorted, “And anyone who lives on a farm around here knows a rat is nothing but a nightmare. Why would I sing a petition for more rats? I just signed one to get rid of rats two days ago.” “Why is everybody against me.” Harold complained when he heard that. “Maybe it's because you're not much different than a rat your self.” Tracy told him, “If you really want to be around a rat just go stand next to a mirror.”
Not wanting to hear anymore about Tracy's dislike for rats, Harold took off for the rest room. When he was sure she was gone he started to head back out to the mall floor but as he did, he caught a glimpse of himself in a mirror. “I don't see a rat in the mirror.” Harold said out loud. From behind one of the stall doors, someone yelled out, “You're the rat she was talking about.”
As Harold stood in front of the mirror, he started making faces at it. Finally, he said, “I don't look like a rat, I just look like me, perfect me. Too bad there isn't more of me” As Harold headed out of the rest room he decided to give up on his petition and headed home. As he walked home, he thought about himself in the mirror and started to wonder where he could find another self.
I have a mirror in my bathroom over the vanity. I sort of use it once in awhile when I'm shaving in the early hours of the morning – when my eyes are only half open. It sort of helps me to see what I'm doing. Once in awhile I'll actually look in the mirror to see what I look like and once in awhile I'll make funny faces at myself.
Unless a mirror has been rigged, it does a good job of letting you see you as you are and that can be a good thing for sometimes we need to see ourselves for who, or what we are.
Several time in the Bible we are reminded, encouraged, commanded to examine ourselves, to take a look at who we are, to see what kind of “dirt” we might be covered with.
- 2 Corinthians 13:5a Look closely at yourselves. Test yourselves to see if you are living in the faith. (NCV)
- Lamentations 3:40a Let us examine and probe our ways, (NASB)
When we examine ourselves, we need to look at more than just our outward appearance for outward appearances can be deceiving.
- Matthew 23:27 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people's bones and all uncleanness. (ESV)
- 1 Samuel 16:7 But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart." (ESV)
When we look at ourselves we have a mirror with which to look in, a mirror that does not lie, it's God's word. Hebrews 4:12 tells us For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (ESV) To this we can add 2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is given by God and is useful for teaching, for showing people what is wrong in their lives, for correcting faults, and for teaching how to live right. (NCV)
God's word can have a big impact on ones life when it is read. Look at King Josiah.
In Josiah’s eighteenth year as king, he made Judah and the Temple pure again. He sent Shaphan son of Azaliah, Maaseiah the city leader, and Joah son of Joahaz the recorder to repair the Temple of the LORD, the God of Josiah....The Levites brought out the money that was in the Temple of the LORD. As they were doing this, Hilkiah the priest found the Book of the LORD’S Teachings that had been given through Moses. Hilkiah said to Shaphan the royal secretary, “I’ve found the Book of the Teachings in the Temple of the LORD!“ Then he gave it to Shaphan. Shaphan took the book to the king and reported to Josiah, “Your officers are doing everything you told them to do. They have paid out the money that was in the Temple of the LORD and have given it to the supervisors and the workers.“ Then Shaphan the royal secretary told the king, “Hilkiah the priest has given me a book.“ And Shaphan read from the book to the king. When the king heard the words of the Teachings, he tore his clothes to show how upset he was.
2 Chronicles 34:8,14-19 (NCV)
Once we have looked at our selves we need to be careful not to forget what we saw, be careful not to make necessary changes. - Do not deceive yourselves by just listening to his word; instead, put it into practice. If you listen to the word, but do not put it into practice you are like people who look in a mirror and see themselves as they are. They take a good look at themselves and then go away and at once forget what they look like. James 1:22-24 (TEV)
Here's Something To Ponder
- Have you examined yourself in the mirror of God's word lately?
- What do you look like compared to God's word?