Think about your typical morning. After you roll out of bed, it probably isn't long before you're staring into a mirror. If you're like me, most days your hair looks like an explosion from a mattress factory, your face resembles one of the Seven Dwarfs, and your breath is . . . well, let's just be glad mirrors don't reflect odors.
Let's say you observe all this . . . but you do nothing. You ignore all the mess and just leave the house to start your day. Unthinkable! For most of us, such a scenario would be a crisis. In reality, we all come before the mirrors to do business! We gaze hard in that painfully honest reflection with the purpose of doing something about what we see. We look for what needs correcting, and we don't leave the house until we change what needs changing. Otherwise, why look at a mirror?
The same is true of God's Word. It is a divine mirror that reflects not our outside but our inside. Yet, how often do we read in the Bible, in effect, "You need to pay attention to this area"? Do we then close the book and leave unchanged? The apostle James used this exact analogy to drive home his point: "Don't just listen to God's word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves" (James 1:22 NLT).
So, how can we make the needed changes? How can we reflect the truth?
I have discovered a major part of the answer in the ancient writings of Ezra, the scribe. In the book that bears his name, we read: "Ezra had determined to study and obey the Law of the LORD and to teach those decrees and regulations to the people of Israel" (Ezra 7:10 NLT).
I find in this verse four ways we can reflect the truth.
1. Make a personal commitment.
According to this verse, "Ezra had determined" or, literally, "set his heart" on it. I have never seen anyone make a difference for Christ who didn't begin by making up his or her mind. I urge you to start there. It is your decision to meet with the Lord and get serious about your walk with Christ. Nobody in your family or church can do it for you. The truth will never stick if you do not set your heart on walking with God. That's where it begins.
2. Become a loyal student of the Bible.
Ezra made the commitment "to study . . . the Law of the LORD." As a scribe, Ezra knew the Law. Yet he remained a keen student of the Bible. You must discipline yourself in your own time and in your own way to study God's Word for direction—just like you do in front of your mirror. You come for business. That's the second secret. But don't stop there.
3. Put the truth into action.
Return to verse 10: "Ezra had determined to study and obey the Law of the LORD" (emphasis added). If you want to reflect the truth, you have to practice it . . . you must put the truth into action. Obedience is not inclination but demonstration.
When Ezra set his heart to do what he had learned, surely he came to terms with issues of character, like honesty, kindness, and purity. It's never enough simply to know the truth. You must put the truth into action in order for it to stick. But there's one more step.
4. Share the truth with someone else.
Ezra "determined . . . to teach those decrees and regulations to the people of Israel" (Ezra 7:10). You know who learns the most in a classroom? The teacher. Guess who learns the most from a Sunday morning message? The pastor. You will learn more of the Scriptures than you've ever imagined if you'll commit to sharing the truth you've discovered with someone else.
Stop and think. Chances are good you know more of the Bible than most people will ever learn in their lives! What a tremendous privilege you have had. You have learned enough truth to change the atmosphere of your home by your attitude . . . to impact your social circles with love . . . to be a witness for Christ in your workplace by your integrity. You have all the truth you need right now if you'll just build on it. What a difference it will make!
I urge you to see your true reflection in your Bible. Then, make a personal commitment to become a loyal student of it. Next, put the truth into action. Refuse to keep it theoretical! Once you take that challenge and decide to be a different kind of person, you begin to share what God is teaching you.
It's amazing how much benefit you'll find in the truth you've begun to live.
Best of all, you will genuinely reflect it.