the weblog of Alan Knox

Scripture as a mirror – a glimpse into love or a lack of love

Posted by on May 23, 2012 in discipleship, scripture | 9 comments

Scripture as a mirror – a glimpse into love or a lack of love

This week, I’ve been asking questions about how God gets the attention of one of his children when that person is not listening to him or following him. If that person is reading Scripture, then the Holy Spirit can use that Scripture like a mirror to help the child of God to examine her life to determine whether or not she is following Jesus.

For example, consider the characteristic of love. We know that Jesus said that the greatest commandment is to love God and love others. We know that love is a product of the Holy Spirit dwelling in us.

Scripture cannot produce love. We do not love because we read Scripture, memorize Scripture, or meditate on Scripture. We only love because of the power of God working through us as we yield ourselves to his will.

However, Scripture can help us recognize whether or not we are loving – that is, whether or not we are yielding ourselves to the will of God and allowing the power of God to be demonstrated through love. If we approach Scripture as a mirror, God can use those writing to show us how we are currently living compared to how we live when we are submitting to him.

For example, even a cursory reading of 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 can reflect how loving (or not) we are. Are we impatient? Then we are not demonstrating the love of God. Are we unkind? Not loving. Are envious, boastful, arrogant, or rude? Then we are hindering the work of God in loving others through us. Do we insist on having things our way? Are we easily annoyed or irritated? Do we enjoy it when others fail? Then we are not loving.

1 John is another letter that when read like a mirror can demonstrate whether or not we are hindering the love of God. Are we causing others to stumble? Do we prefer the things of the world instead of God? Do we love the other children of God around us? Are we willing to give up our lives for others? Do we share what we have with our brothers and sisters who are in need? If these things are not reflected in our lives, then according to John, we are neither loving God nor others – that is, we are not allowing God to produce love within us (regardless of what we think about ourselves).

Obviously, we can read these passages and miss what God is showing us. However, it’s also possible that God can use these passages (and others) to show us what is in our heart and lives.

And, Scripture is not only a mirror of the love (or lack of love) in our lives. That’s one important aspect of our life with Christ, however.

Has God ever used Scripture as a mirror to show you something about yourself (perhaps an area of disobedience)?


9 Comments

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  1. 5-23-2012

    Oh yeah, Even though I would not understand it at the time and at first would only understand in the flesh thinking part. Yet God would always patiently get me to understand in the Spirit of love. Seeing things from God’s vantage point of love is incredible to me.
    Howard

  2. 5-23-2012

    In the area of disobedience no. But I sure have done this myself. so probably no need for God to do this, since I did a good job at that myself
    When i used to go to God for forgiveness, because of what I did, feeling guilty, God would point me to scripture that says I already am forgiven. Eventually I learned to not ask for anymore forgiveness and started saying thank you I am forgiven, So Father could you now then teach me to say no to unrighteousness. why yes my Son now that you are finally over being forgiven, and the onion started peeling away layer by layer. Our souls are like mirrors and will reflect back whatever is in there
    Howard

  3. 5-23-2012

    Good writing Alan! I am speaking on guidance this weekend with the saints and I may use this to show how the Spirit uses scripture for guidance. This reminds me of a quote by George MacDonald–

    “The Son of God is the Teacher of men,giving to them of his Spirit–that Spirit which manifests the deep things of God, being to a man the mind of Christ.

    The great heresy of the church in the present day is unbelief in this Spirit. The mass of the church does not believe that the Spirit has a revelation for every man individually . If we were once filled with the mind of Christ, we would know that the Bible had done its work and was fulfilled, that thereby the Word of our God might abide forever. The one use of the Bible is to make us look at Jesus, that through him we might know his Father and our Father, his God and our God. Till we thus know God, let us hold the Bible dear as the moon of our darkness, by which we travel toward the east; not dear as the sun whence her light comes, and toward which we haste, that, walking in the Sun himself, we may no more need the mirror that reflected his absent brightness.”

    By the way,I do still use the bible as a mirror and Holy Spirit directed guidance through it, however, like you said I don’t feel that it produces the love or my relationship with Jesus.

  4. 5-24-2012

    The Holy Spirit does not speak at all of himself, rather of Christ, the finished work and of the ressurection, finally the ascension, where we get to receive our true guidance unto the salvation that can never be broken, for we are sealed with this promise Ephesians 1:13 and this guide (Holy GUide)reports to the Father with you present, for we know not what to pray or even how. This is what is so amazing about Our Father through Christ. For it is the Holy Ghost that reveals the love of God to each person
    Howard

  5. 5-24-2012

    Howard,

    I’m glad that God taught you that you were forgiven. That’s a lesson that many never learn.

    Rod,

    I think I agree with that quote, as long as this statement doesn’t get individualistic: “the Spirit has a revelation for every man individually.” God definitely reveals individually, but he also reveals consistently.

    -Alan

  6. 5-24-2012

    Thank you Alan, crossing over the picket line is very difficult, for flesh never wanted to give up and still tries, so now when it succeeds it is a messenger of Satan to buffet me for I know in my weakness God’s strength is perfect as Paul exclaimed I think 2 Cor 12
    Also Brother, I found when I understood I was already forgiven back at the cross. That is when God opened my eyes and I saw the ressurection and became ressurected to God in my Spirit, as Christ has already also been. No proudness or boastfulness for it is the operation of God growing me up, as well as all believers such as yourself. All Glory and praise to God
    Howard

  7. 5-24-2012

    Yes Alan I agree that corporate revelation needs to be included along with individual. George MacDonald is a very interesting writer and he broke through a lot of institutional stuff about 150 years ago. I don’t think he had many fellow believers to walk along side of him in his new revelations. I think his revelation of the indwelling Christ was more individualistic than corporate body life. He also had tendencies towards universalism that I wouldn’t agree with as well. C. S. Lewis attributes MacDonald’s writings to leading him out of the road of atheism towards Christ.

  8. 5-25-2012

    Rod,

    I don’t think I’ve read anything about or by George MacDonald. Thanks for mentioning him.

    -Alan

  9. 5-25-2012

    Alan- To get a good overview of George MacDonald I would recommend Discovering the Character of God-Profound Spiritual Insight Into God’s Wondrously Loving Character compiled by Michael Phillips. This book pulls excerpts from all his literature without having to read the whole 30 something or more novels he wrote, although his stories are very interesting. GMD wrote alot of fiction novels with his preaching spoken by the characters. His novels are great for people who can’t stand non fiction theological books. Oswald Chambers, C. S. Lewis, G. K Chesterton, Madeleine L’ Engle all point to GMD as having a profound influence on there lives