The Inner Mirror
A little while back, as I was wrestling with what the Lord was calling us to do, He spoke this to me:
“My expectation is that you would be you. I expect you to be the you I created you to be.”
When God created you, He had an idea in mind. In Psalm 139, David claims that before he was ever formed, God knew him. And furthermore, when David was formed, God knit him together in his mother’s womb. Psalm 139 carried one of the most significant insights into the heart of God David was ever given. God knows me and has formed me.
Most of our lives are spent on two questions: “Who am I?” and “Who is God?” Those two questions become the driving force of our lives. Who has God created you to become?
Most of us can define ourselves very quickly by what we do not like about ourselves, or what we would change about ourselves. But I don’t think that is what God had in mind when he formed you. He wasn’t considering all the things you were going to get wrong, rather, he was considering all the things that stirred his heart about the glorious being he had just fashioned (you).
Abba Isaac the Syrian, one of the Desert Fathers, said that when you embark on the spiritual life with Christ you are given an inner mirror:
“…having within themselves a holy mirror, in which they look carefully at themselves, lest they find any stain in the animate image of God and not be pleasing to their Bridegroom. In this mirror they unceasingly behold the reflection of the glory of the Bridegroom…”
He was commenting on two verses, 1 Corinthians 13:12 and 2 Corinthians 3:18:
For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. 1 Corinthians 13:12
But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. 2 Corinthians 3:18
According to Abba Isaac, this interior mirror reflects back to us the stain upon the image of God within our inner life. But that mirror wasn't about navel-gazing and self-reflection upon all our interior problems, it was looking upon the inner beauty of the risen Christ. The focus of the interior gaze is the glorious figure of Jesus in the inner man. As we gaze, we are transformed into his glory.
To Abba Isaac, this happens because what is not him becomes apparent in the face of His glory. By gazing at His beauty, what is not in line with His beauty becomes very apparent. Note that 2 Corinthians 3:18 does not say we are transformed by looking at all the ways we do not reflect him, we are transformed by beholding His glory.
The disciplines of the spiritual life help to crystalize this interior mirror. The interior peace the Holy Spirit brings is like water that has been calmed. Our tumultuous thought life agitates the waters and distorts the reflection. The more time we spend in anger, bitterness, and judgement, the less lucid the water becomes. The more we stand in the peace that is offered through communion with the Spirit, the greater the stilling of the lake inside of you. As that lake is stilled, the reflection becomes clear. And the focal point of the reflection is the beauty of Christ, especially that of his humanity and self-sacrificial nature. The longer I gaze, the more I see him, and the more I see what is not like him.
The Beatitudes of Jesus from Matthew 5 can aid in this interior gazing greatly.
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
In what ways am I poor? What do I lack? What does He add to me? Blessed am I when I recognize my lack and my need of You, God, it is then that I inherit Your goodness.
"Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” - What have I lost? Or what do I fear losing?
Blessed am I when grieve. What do I grieve? My lack of You, O God. My distance from You. My inability to remain committed to You. What is the greatest thing I can lose? You, You are the greatest thing I can lose. When I mourn my distance from You, You draw near and comfort me.
"Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. - In what ways am I hard-hearted? How do I invalidate meekness by my actions?
Blessed I am when I think little of myself and more of others, especially as it pertains to You. When I make myself small and needy, You grant me great grace.
"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. - What do I hunger and thirst for? What is my desire set upon? What brings me pleasure/satiates my appetite?
Blessed am I when I acknowledge my need for Your in filling. I have no righteousness of my own. Within me is no good thing, my thirst is for Your righteousness. As I hunger for You, I will be filled.
"Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. - In what ways have I extended mercy? In what ways have I denied mercy?
Blessed am I when I extend mercy, love, care, and tenderness to others. In extending to others what I myself desperately need, You come in the quiet moments and flood my heart with Your tender Mercy. O Lord, grant me great grace to extend Your Mercy.
"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. - What are the thoughts, wants, attitudes, and opinions that destroy the purity of my heart?
Blessed am I when my heart is pure. The only possible purity I have in my heart is in You, O God. When I look to You, I find Your purity overflowing. Thus, my heart is transformed and purified, and I am able to see You more clearly. In finding Your purity within, I see Your heart, and therefore find even greater purity.
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. - What do I do that causes quarrels and fights? How am I actively a peacemaker, both within my heart and without by making peace with my fellow mankind?
Blessed am I when, in spite of all that is going on around me, within me, and happening to me, I extend Your olive branch of peace to others. In finding peace towards others; in the midst of accusation, offense, anger, and pain, I find the greatest blessing: the peace of being Your son.
When meekness is the mirror that reflects back to me the nature of Christ, the ways in which I am not meek are obvious. Practically speaking, this mirror then gives me something to aim for, the meekness of Christ within my heart. The more I see Him within, the more I am transformed into Him. This is the aim of the spiritual life, to continually make space for my inner life to conform to the life of Christ.
We have recently put out some devotionals based upon the Desert Fathers with more to come. You can purchase them through the Wind Ministries webstore. However, if you have considered partnering with Wind Ministries on an ongoing basis, we would be happy to gift these devotionals to you.
We pray for everyone one of you. Your support makes a huge difference.
Please continue to pray for:
Favor and open doors
Continued clarity and wisdom
Finances to fund ongoing projects
That God would continue to move in eastern countries to equip people for prophetic ministry
Joshua and Erin Hoffert