The Mirror Does Not Lie Pt. 1: The Mirror Image
The Image We Behold
But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.
The Mirror Image: Natural vs Spiritual
The Word of God (the mirror) is rich with liberating truth, meat for the hungry student of scripture. In the book of James, we are introduced to two distinctively different men. One is described as a hearer only, while the other is considered to be a hearer and a doer of the Word of God. The word of God is clear to define for us the following type of men. One is “natural” while the other is spiritual.
If we dive deeper into the understanding surrounding both; we will understand that the “natural man,” is defined as a non-spiritual man. A man that does not accept, welcome, or admits into his heart God’s truth. “But the natural, non spiritual man does not accept or welcome or admit into his heart the gifts and teachings and revelations of the Spirit of God, for they are folly (meaningless nonsense) to him; and he is incapable of knowing them [of progressively recognizing, understanding, and becoming better acquainted with them] because they are spiritually discerned and estimated and appreciated” (I Corinthinians 2:14 - Amplified). When we look at James 1:22-25, in its proper context, we are immediately introduced to the two types of men that grace the earthly stage. The Natural Man is a man given to H-I-M-S-E-L-F, his way and surely captivated by his own image to the point that the image that he was is forgotten.
The Bible is a book of mystery given to the believer to awaken them as to what their true inheritance is in the kingdom of God. The Bible contains metaphors, figurative and allegorical language that points to the true intended purpose that God has for His great masterpiece; man is to rule over the earth, in the earth and on the earth (Psalms 115:16). Which means, even as sojourners upon this earth, we must take a serious look at how influenced by the world we as believers have become. Credit cards, pay check to pay check living, and circumstance driven giving has crippled our effectiveness to move freely in the Kingdom of God; because as “natural men” we are beholden to our image and not the image of the Christ.
We have been duped by “this world” into operating under the premise of making a living, when in fact living should flow out of our life.
“Natural men” who see themselves as less than and not equal to their Creator clearly misunderstand this ruling aspect. Remember the words of Paul when He described our Elder Brother, the Christ. “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Phil.2:5-8). Christ is the example of what God intends for his creation (the sons of God) – individuals that make the connection to be as God is in this present world; ruling and reigning in life; laying to rest the duality within.
The second man is the man of spirit, the man that is empowered to hear and to do the word.
This is the man that takes the word of God to heart, he loves not his life unto death, for he has sold out to the word. Seeing it take full effect in the life, becoming an influence in the earth; transformed by the renewing of the mind to be shaped, squeezed, hammered, fired, cut, pruned, sifted, until Christ is formed within and released within, manifesting in visible expression.
The true context of the spiritual man is not in his ability to talk deep, look deep, walk deep, or speak affluent Greek, and Hebrew, the spiritual man is characterized by his ability and his willingness to hear and do the word of God.
Spirituality is not screaming and hollering to the top of your lungs. Spirituality is the avid ability to hear (tap into the voice of God) and to do (be activated to perform his word), becoming the living, walking, breathing, extension of God in the earth (see Col.1:15 Amplified) – “Now He is the exact likeness of the unseen God (the visible representation of the invisible); He is the Firstborn of all creation.”
Note what Paul teaches in Philippians 2:9 – “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name (a nature, an image) which is above every name (a nature, an image): That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth.
Natural men compare and measure themselves by themselves,…of which Paul says is not wise. We must look unto Jesus, the Author and the Finisher of our faith to be the conclusion of what we are to be, not when we get to heaven, but here in this present world. True spirituality beckons us to be changed from glory to glory, even as by the glory of the Lord that we behold.
The word of the Lord defines these two men (natural and spiritual) in a different light, one is called Adam and the other is called Christ. The Bible teaches us that in Adam ALL DIE, all are alienated from God’s life, God’s abundance, God’s substance…but in Christ, ALL who adhere to the call ARE MADE ALIVE UNTO GOD (see 1 Corinthians 15:22).
Spiritual men/women understand that man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. Remember when Christ was tempted in the wilderness of the devil (Matt.4:1-10), that temptation revealed the image that God wishes to destroy in all of us…The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life (1 John 2:16). Which leads us to this understanding, the natural man is a devil influenced man, while the spiritual man is influenced by God.
Herein lies the mystery of the two men; they both exist within us; wrestling for the right to exist. This is why Paul declares, “…I die daily…;” you and I are dealing with two men everyday of our lives, and it is through the processing that we will see mortality swallowed up of immortality. Many of us wrestle with things in our flesh day in and day out, but yet, deep down on the inside of us is a desire to praise, to worship, to love God, but in our flesh there dwells nothing of worth; thus, the reason why the Adamic “natural man” must be snuffed out. Like two men in a boxing match, each jetting from their corner to meet in the middle, eye to eye, face to face, hands raised, each observing the other, anticipating the right hook of the natural man, being engaged by the upper cut of the spiritual man. Round after round, persevering in the fight, knocked down, but not knocked out, rises the spiritual man again and again, challenging the constant attacks of the old adamic nature, until the match comes to an end in that solemn assembly of faith is the substance of things hoped for.
There have always existed two men, two cities, two realms, two trees; because God has designated that we choose one over the other; until the law of duality be stifled within us. Paul says that the man that has no appreciation for the gift of God is the natural man, and yet, everyday men strive to make their “natural man” appear to be good in the presence of the Lord, but this man has no appetite for the things of God because he is too stuck on his own image. He is immersed in self, seeing his good, over the good of the Father.
There is a way that seems right unto the “natural man” but the end speaks of death, alienation from God, because the “nature man” is found operating apart from the will of God. When Christ was taken into the wilderness, to be tempted of the devil, He was taken there to put one man to death the man that said, “…take this cup from me…” While the spiritual man said, “…nevertheless…” – for each and everyday as we go through this wilderness of the earthly experience, God is wanting a “…nevertheless…” out of us, for when this occurs, the Christ will come forth in a ray of radiance, breaking through our flesh in majesty and great splendor.
The Bible poses a question, found in James 4:1, “From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?” There is a war raging on the inside of each of us, a battle for territory, a battle for expression, a battle for dominance. The “natural man” is at war with the “spiritual man” and the “spiritual man” is at war with the “natural man” constantly; Ishmael against Isaac, Cain against Abel, Moses against Christ.
The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions (New Living Translation – Galatians 5:17).
When we gain clarity about these two men, we gain a greater appreciation for the grace of God that abides on the inside of us. Grace empowers us to do the will of God, not our ability to make our flesh or our “nature man” appear as good: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:8-10). In ourselves there is no ability to be righteous, to be holy, to be blameless…it is through grace that we get there. When you look at Paul an apostle by the will of God, it is clearly understood that he did not get there because he was so great a man: “For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me” (I Corinthians 15:9-10).
Our image we hold may have us appearing as weak, looking like paupers, but God calls us sons (mature ones) because that is the call he has placed on our life, and He will have what He has called.