Growth and Change

As in water face reflects face, so a man’s heart reveals the man.”—Proverbs 27:19 (NKJV)

While shopping for a gift, a plaque caught my attention. It was printed with these words: “Don’t look back. You’re not going that way.” It made sense because life naturally moves forward, but my mind couldn’t help silently respond with, Yes, but those who do not remember the past are doomed to repeat it. I paused and wondered, Don’t look back . . . or don’t take time to reflect? 

Granted, at this time of year it’s traditional, especially for Christians, to reflect on the past twelve months to ascertain some level of growth or change. We desire to grow in Christ and “bear good fruit,” meaning we want our choices and lives to mirror that of our Lord Jesus. Jesus calls this “abiding in Him,” and when we do this, our lives bear fruit (John 15:1-8). 

Yet, as I reflect on today’s verse, I must confess to a great deal of conviction. What this proverb implies is that just like water can reflect a face, so our words and actions reveal our character. Personally speaking, if I have the character of Christ, how is that presenting itself? Am I bearing good fruit? These are challenging questions, but sometimes serious spiritual reflection and conviction must take place to reveal Jesus’ work in us. Reflection should help guide us fruitfully forward.

In what is commonly referred to as the “Sermon on the Plain,” Jesus spoke to His followers about the characteristics of a disciple (Luke 6:17-49). In verse 45 (NKJV), Jesus touched on the same principle Solomon did in today’s verse. Jesus said, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” Essentially, our words reveal our hearts. Evidently, God wants to reinforce this “character reflection” from the Old Testament to the New. 

So, as we move from the old year to the new, a challenge for you and me is to use the Sermon on the Plain as a reflection of the fruit we are bearing. If you know Jesus, remember that God asks us to walk circumspectly and to examine ourselves (Ephesians 5:15; 2 Corinthians 13:5). And if you would like to know Jesus, consider the life that lies before you—a life with Jesus Christ—for it offers a reflection of God’s immense love and a revelation of His immeasurable grace. 

Dig: Pray for wisdom and an open heart; then read Luke 6:17-49.

Discover: Reflect on each command Jesus gives in this section of Scripture.

Display: Use Jesus’ words here as a pool of water to reflect your character as a parent, a child, a spouse, a friend, a sibling . . . as a child of God. Are there areas where you feel God is encouraging growth or change?