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Consider the Birds: Fighting our Reflection


Originally published as Fighting the Reflection]

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. James 1:23-24

Tufted Titmouse, Baeolophus bicolor, songbird perched in pine tree in Athens, Georgia, USA.

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​Sunday, 12:09 PM – Every Sunday morning for the last few months, a feisty little Tufted Titmouse flies up to the window during the preaching and repeatedly attacks his reflection. He believes the image to be a rival interloper invading his territory. Because the bird doesn’t like what he sees, he decides to fight the reflection.

​While I watched this aggravated avian, my pastor continued to preach from the book of James. In the letter, James describes the Word of God as a mirror that reflects what manner of men we are. We have our own self-image, but it is often very different than how others perceive us. And certainly, our image of ourselves is always quite different than how God sees us. But the Bible has a way of revealing who we really are; a true reflection, as in a mirror.

Often, as the mirror’s image comes into clear focus, we don’t like the image that we see, and like the Titmouse, we fight against that reflection.

  • ​When the mirror of the Word reflects our true, impatient self tufted titmouse flying to peck its reflection, photo credit: William Wise(James 1:4), we fight against the reflection and declare ourselves to have “the patience of Job.”
  • When the mirror reflects our poor decisions and “lack of wisdom” (James 1:5), we fight the reflection and declare the Bible outdated.
  • When the mirror of the Word reflects our true, double-minded nature (James 1:8), we fight the reflection and posit our focused faithfulness to God alone.
  • When the mirror of the Word reflects our own sinful nature as the fault of our falling to temptation (James 1:13), we fight the reflection declaring “this is how God created me.”
  • When the mirror of the Word of God reflects our hot temper (James 1:19), we fight the reflection, take up a rock and smash the mirror!

For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. James 1:23-24 NLT

tufted titmouse on a church window frame, photo credit: William Wise
Creation Speaks

​When we see our true reflection in the mirror of the Word of God, let us not fight against it as the church Titmouse. Let us not walk away and “forget what manner of men we are.” But let us be doers of the Word, and as Today’s English Version translates, let us “submit to God and accept the Word that He plants in our hearts” (James 1:21 TEV).

Another lesson learned if we will listen to what creation speaks!

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Written by William Wise

Hi, I’m wildlife photographer and nature writer William Wise. I was saved under a campus ministry while studying wildlife biology at the University of Georgia. My love of the outdoors quickly turned into a love for the Creator and His works. I’m currently an animal shelter director and live in Athens, Georgia with my wife and two teenage daughters, who are all also actively involved in ministry. Creation Speaks is my teaching ministry that glorifies our Creator and teaches the truth of creation. William Wise Nature Notes is my wildlife and birding photo blog documenting the beauty, design and wonder of God’s creation. I am also a guest author at Lee’s Birdwatching Adventures and The Creation Club . -- "What a wildly wonderful world, God! You made it all, with Wisdom at Your side, made earth overflow with your wonderful creations." Psalms 104, The Message.

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  1. Great article, and a cause for us to consider our own reflection. I like that second photo where the bird sort of looks dejected. “Not sure where that other bird is, I see his reflection, but can’t find it.”
    You need to post that one over on my blog. Hint!

  2. Very insightful. We see in the mirror dimly; how much more dim is a reflection in a pane of glass? However dim it may be, it is still so effective…

    • Thank you for reading and commenting ReverendRV! Even though the reflection in a pane of glass may be dim, it seems the birds take their reflection much more seriously than we do at times! If only we were as diligent at fighting as this titmouse and would respond to God when He reveals those gaps in our character! Thanks again! William

  3. I find myself in this little bird, fighting so hard against something I think I’m so sure about. And on the other side, God is watching me flail about cringing everytime I hit the glass.
    Next time I am just getting nowhere, I may just stop and think about this little bird and what’s really happening from both sides of the glass.

    • That is very true Terilee: we fight and fight and fight because we think we’re right (Proverbs 21:2)! We’re convinced we’re right! We can be so stubborn that we fight until exhaustion. But I think we all know the outcome when we wrestle with God: Genesis 32:24-25 “And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob’s thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him.” Thanks for reading and commenting! William

  4. Seems that the Lord was giving you an illustration to go along with the sermon that morning; thanks so much for sharing! Proverbs 8:1 says, “Wisdom cries out” we just need to listen. Great article!

    • Well, I have to admit, I sit close to the windows on purpose and am often tempted to distraction from the sermon by birds. But yes, this little one played right along with the word being preached! I guess God knows how to get a birders attention! Thanks for reading and commenting! William

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