"Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like." James 1:23-24
Mirrors have something in common with truth. Can you guess what it is?
Both can be very cruel.
Sometimes I don't like what I see when I look in the mirror. But, if I want to know how I look I need to do it. The only way I can improve how I look is to get a realistic view of myself so that I can repair the damage.
My alternative is to try to image how I look or to wish I looked a certain way and let that fanatasy guide how I view myself. While I might fool myself with those false notions I would not fool anyone else. They would honestly see what I refuse to see.
Anyone who really cares about their appearance will stand before the mirror to get the truth and then adjust to that reality. Healthy well-adjusted people do that.
If that makes sense to you then you will understand what James is saying when he compares the Word of God to a mirror. Not a mirror to reflect our outward appearance but a mirror to reflect the condition of our spirit. That is not any easier. But, it is necessary for spiritual health.
Mirrors and Bibles are necessary tools for anyone who wants to live a healthy and successful life. The reason that is true is because each of them keep us in touch with reality. That is the purpose of faith. Faith brings us in touch with what is real in life - and beyond. The great irony here is that in order for us to connect with the spiritual and eternal reality that is God, we must be willing to deal with the truths that we can see and know.
I think the struggle is being willing to move into God's reality rather than stubbornly trying to shape God around our notions of what it real.
God is the Arbiter of what it real and what is true. He reveals that to us through His Word, the Bible. And that requires us to daily present ourselves before His Word to allow it to reflect our weakness or sins.
Each of us have a choice. We can live in the ugly fantasy world of our foolish pride and rebellion. Or we can humble ourselves before the truth of His Word and make the hard adjustments required to align with His eternal realities.
What is real to you depends on what you decide is true. If God is true then He should determine what is real in your life. If He isn't, then it is up to you to shape your own reality. The only way to really know is to a hard look in the mirror of His Word.