Mirror, Mirror on the wall
Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who’s the Fairest one of all?
So what about vanity? What’s so bad about looking in the mirror at yourself to enjoy or judge? What’s the problem with comparing yourself to others, or trying to be noticed and thought to be cute or smart or clever or funny or powerful or beautiful?
Mirrors of speculum metal or any precious metal were hard to produce and were only owned by the wealthy. These stone and metal mirrors could be made in very large sizes, but were difficult to polish and get perfectly flat; a process that became more difficult with increased size; so they often produced warped or blurred images. Stone mirrors often had poor reflectivity compared to metals, yet metals scratch or tarnish easily, so they frequently needed polishing. Depending upon the color, both often yielded reflections with poor color rendering. The poor image quality of ancient mirrors explains 1 Corinthians 13’s reference to seeing “as in a mirror, darkly.”
Glass was a desirable material for mirrors. Because the surface of glass is naturally smooth, it produces reflections with very little blur. In addition, glass is very hard and scratch resistant. However, glass by itself has little reflectivity, so people began coating it with metals to increase the reflectivity. Metal-coated glass mirrors are said by the Roman scholar Pliny the Elder to have been invented in Sidon (modern-day Lebanon) in the first century AD, although no archeological evidence of them date from before the third century.
Constantine’s generation invented the mirror—that finally replaced the “dim mirror” of a puddle of water or polished metal? Now that figures.
We sure do neeeeeeeed to see our hair and bodies and faces—so we can compare or try harder to gain attention, don’t we?!
Perhaps few, if any, “inventions” have done so much harm to humans, unleashing an avalanche of vain and selfish and judgmental emotions and pursuits and television commercials and pharmaceuticals and textiles.
“Yeah, but” .... What’s wrong with posing, posturing, preening, comparing, judging, or drooling?
It misses the whole point of our nature here on this planet. It puts emphasis and energy into “cocoon analysis,” rather than the Butterfly of the second birth—and that inner beauty that God sees—all that God cares about.
What else should we care about than what HE cares about? Duh. :) The Billion Year Plan—like the Rich Man and Lazarus—let’s get on the right side of THAT.
And, besides. Vanity and self-promotion, posing and preening not only miss the spiritual nature in which God is solely interested, but vanity and self-promoting behavior also are attempts to play God. Vanity and posing are idolatry because they are attempts to sway people’s feelings or affections or impressions, when God alone has that power and right to sway such things.
God can make the most beautiful person repulsive to everyone around her, or the ugliest man to be the most popular and appreciated. Who knows but God how to promote and advance? Who but God alone can build and protect relationships and impressions?
All of our vanity is simply an attempt in vain to play God and control our environment—though God can change our appearance by a seizure or a stroke, or by an accident, or simply just change everyone’s impression of us, for better or worse. Think imprisoned convict Joseph, to Prime Minister and hero. Mordecai. Consider how He made thousands on the day of Pentecost to hear the words of Peter and the others in their own multitude of languages, simultaneously. GOD controls impressions, perceptions, victories, failures, and all such things. Not lil ole us.
All of that to say: give it up. :-) Let God be God, and you quit messing around trying to be what you cannot be. Be beautiful on the inside—that is a real choice. Make your heart a garden and your life a testimony to Jesus’ kindness to you. Gratitude, self-sacrifice, love and obedience, worship and caring about the little details of serving others.
Vanity is not only an energy leak, but it opens the door to satanic power that Satan has no right to—without your permission. Just pass the mirror without paying attention to yourself. Don’t play the game of “people watching”—but rather pray for souls and authorities and Jesus’ Coming now in “fullness of stature” in His Body, and “greater Works”—and then on the Clouds. :) There is no time or need for putting lipstick on a pig and thinking we are controlling or helping our future. That can be handled by God alone. It IS safe in His hands. Let it go.