Broken Mirrors: Confidence In Christ
Kyle Davies

The following post is a teaching manuscript delivered to Generations Church on April 11, 2021, by Pastor Kyle Davies.

At Georgia Tech a professor put a challenge in front of the students. The professor said, “You had to sort marbles as fast as you can, using gravity as the power.” So it was a top to bottom kind of thing. Many students created all of these complicated chutes and a scoring system. One student created a single tube and a plate. He dumped all his marbles into the chute and then removed the plate. The marbles all went down in .01 seconds or something like that. He won the competition because he realized that the greatest score maximizer was speed. The rest of the stuff really didn’t matter. Everyone was of course frustrated. Insert collective groan.

Some of you are tired, anxious, frustrated because you’re doing so many activities to keep up, to get success, to eliminate stress, yet becoming more stressed because you haven’t considered the scorecard.

Do you even know the rubric? Have you even checked what you’re scored on?

Let me give you another example. There was an article in the NY Times called, “Why didn’t Kodak create Instagram?” The whole point of the article was that because of their corporate culture no one could walk and go, “Hey, I have this crazy idea.” Because Kodak already had success. There is a great danger when you move from innovation mode to protection mode. What happens is that there is a level of success that got you to where you are, so you stop looking forward, thus stop meeting the evolving needs of people. In fact, one person wrote a whole thesis on Kodak’s failure. Do you know what Kodak invested in during the digital revolution?

Paper quality. At a time when people were spending less money on printing out photos. Kodak was thinking… “hmmm what if the paper was really good and expensive?” A possible moment of innovation was exchanged for protection.

We have a tendency to fixate on what we can see and stick to a visible scorecard we know. Every area of life. Parenting. Life stage. Work. Friendships. Hobbies. Side hustles. Income stream. Leisure. I call this our success scorecard. Whatever it is. At some level, we all have one and we should have one. Just like the marble competition, we have a tendency to miss the real score maximizer.

Now, this isn’t a unique challenge for us today. The apostle Paul wrote a letter, in fact, he wrote several to a church in Corinth. By the time we get to his, what we have, as his second letter, the church is struggling to determine the success scorecard. They had rejected Paul and his authority to identity competing and incompatible scorecards in their lives.

Here’s the rundown. Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians. Even though it’s called Second or 2 Corinthians in our bibles, there are clues within this letter that it’s not the second thing he ever wrote to the Corinthian church. Paul started the church in Corinth during one of his journeys around the ancient world. You can read the story in the book of Acts in chapter eighteen.  After moving on, he got a report that they were some problems in the church. So He wrote his first letter to address these problems. It appears that many in the church rejected Paul’s teaching in that letter and rebelled against his authority. Paul then visits Corinth in what he calls his painful visit. Leaving once again, he follows up with a letter written in anguish and with tears. After all of these measures, most of the Corinthians realized their arrogance and apologized to Paul and let him know that they wanted to reconcile. So, Paul writes to them this letter to assure them of his love and commitment for them despite their continued struggles.

Every day we are embattled with faulty scorecards just like the Corinthian Church. Paul is going to challenge that notion. he’s going to exchange the scorecard mentality with another image—that of a mirror. The apostle Paul is writing to the Corinthian Church. They are failing to accurately represent God within the world. All people are like broken mirrors. The potential to fully and accurately reflect God in all areas of life is present, however, sin has caused the mirror to break. We don’t see God accurately and others don’t see God accurately in us. It is the Holy Spirit that repairs the mirrors through our faith in Christ. All who have the Spirit gaze with unveiled face on the face of Christ (v. 18). Believers are transformed into Christ’s likeness by gazing intently on him. They are transformed into his image, from glory to glory, just as he bears the very image of God, being God’s mirror, God’s Wisdom. Believers are called to be the mirror of Christ to the world. 

Together, for the next three weeks, that is the issue we will tackle together.

They are trying to utilize the scorecard of their culture. If they can measure up. If Paul measures up, then they can have confidence in a world that possesses conflicting character and priorities with that of Jesus. The whole misstep here is one of preservation than prioritization. 

They are trying to check their own life with something else that’s fractured. Where is our confidence?

In verses one thru six, Paul will set up this idea. Beginning in verse four, Paul writes, “Such this is the confidence we have before God.” The “such” he’s referring to is the Corinthians’ lives changing our Christ’s letters. The competing value system went so deep that the Corinthians had asked for letters of recommendation to prove his authority and credentials. This is ridiculous to Paul. Their church wouldn’t even exist if he hadn’t started it. He says, “they are his proof of recommendation written by the spirit.” Paul cleverly quotes from the prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel, where the Spirit has written a letter of recommendation on their hearts. The Corinthians shouldn’t need any more proof than that. Their confidence MUST be in Christ and not some scorecard.

Second, Paul writes in verse five, “our adequacy is from God.” Meaning, you aren’t pointing to yourself as the reason for the change. Paul does not seek credit because of Jesus Christ. When we share our stories….”Well I just.” We use the word “i.” Rather, seek to point out God’s activity. We should connect the dots between the sin and the change.

Lastly, Paul writes in verse six, “for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” Next week I’ll develop this a little bit further as we compare and contrast what called the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. Here’s a simple example that I think will prepare us for that and give us a real good point of application today. Here’s why the letter kills and the Spirit gives life: it’s like the difference between a statement and a question. It’s the “just tell me what to do.” Even if we don’t like something, then we can rebel or reject it. However, when it’s a question that we have to answer for ourselves and then act upon. We are the responsible party.

The letter is the law in its outward sense, written on tablets of stone. The letter of the law came by the old covenant. It was good in itself, but it gave us no power to serve God, and it did not change our hearts; it simply told us what to do. Paul can say the letter kills because the law, exposing our guilt, “kills” us before God. The law thoroughly and completely establishes our guilt. The indwelling Spirit then becomes for us a law written on our hearts. He is in us to guide us and be our “law.” It isn’t that the Holy Spirit replaces the written law, but completes and fulfills the work of the written law in our hearts. The Spirit gives life, and with this spiritual life, we can live out the law of God. We also shouldn’t think this is permission to live our Christian life on experiences or mystical interpretations of the Bible. Experiences and allegories must be proved true and supported by studying the meaning of the Bible in context. The Spirit and the letter are not enemies, but friends. They don’t work against each other.

We are so used to playing with a scorecard we can see that to do the work of a relationship feels like death rather than life. Our personal coach is the Holy Spirit. Take the principles of Scripture and apply them to our unique circumstances.

If every Jesus follower is supposed to reflect Jesus to the world, then we can’t check our reflection in something else that’s broken. Start our process of reflecting Jesus’ character and priorities to the world by identifying that the mirror is broken. We know the mirror is broken when we look at Jesus. 

Here’s the beauty of what Paul is saying. Set the scorecard aside. The rubric is not what you can do, but the work of Christ within you. This will challenge our values. This will challenge our way of thinking again and again. God values humility and weakness because his love and power were made known through the death and resurrection of Jesus. When you realize this the transforming power of the Spirit makes the way of Jesus our own.

{Insert our typical objections by the voices in our heads} “But Paul…they way you do things does look like _________ .  But how will we KNOW…”

As a church, this is why we have a value called Spirit over Self. It’s to remind each other when we say or act certain ways that are contrary to the way of Jesus, we can humbly ask — way of spirit or way of self. Starts with taking thoughts captive and examine them closely. Here are the types of things you may say, post, or seek to actualize by your behavior. Here are the types of things you may say, post, or seek to actualize by your behavior.


  • “Life only has meaning/I only have worth if…I have influence over others.”
  • “Life only has meaning/I only have worth if…I am loved and respected by _____.
  • “Life only has meaning/I only have worth if…I have this type of experience or quality of life.”
  • “Life only has meaning/I only have worth if…I have a certain level of wealth, financial freedom, and very nice possessions.”
  • “Life only has meaning/I only have worth if…my political or social cause is making progress and ascending in influence or power.”
  • “Life only has meaning/I only have worth if…my children and/or my parents are happy and happy with me.”1

We must then bring them into submission and consider the fruit. I want to give you a quick visual 2 that may help you identify which visual scorecard you are playing by. This is not original to me. It’s put together by a couple of different sources. I don’t expect this to be exhaustive, but this will help us start our journey over the next three weeks.

In what areas of your life are you seeking to preserve your way do life over prioritizing the way of Jesus?

Finally, we must fight with the truth. In essence, fighting with gospel truths is trusting in and putting on ourselves all that is true of Jesus, and therefore also true of us in Jesus. Every week we try to help you do that was a church through communion. Every day you have the opportunity to fight a faulty scorecard with the real scorecard as you look to Jesus. As we prepare to take communion together as a family we reflect on God’s value system in contrast to our own, consider praying one of these prayers.

  • “Lord, these are the things I have built my life and heart around….”
  • “Lord, this is a good thing, yet why have I made it so absolute? This cannot give me what I desire most. This cannot help me and love me as you do.”

  1. Keller, Timothy. The Gospel In Life.
  2. Kalinoski, Colin. The Gospel Primer.