September 10, 2017


               How do you see yourself, and how do others see you?  Those are the two questions we are going to take a look at today.

          For most people, the mirror is not their friend.  It shows them things about themselves they would rather not think about.  When we are younger we fret about things like acne, and worry that our hair is either too straight or too curly, too long or too short, or not the newest color.  When I was a teenager, we were happy to get a hold of some bleach because blond was in.  Nowadays, to be cool you have to have some pink, purple, or blue.   But fads will come and go, and when you get older, and the grays start coming in, you can either embrace them or turn to Loreal or Miss Clairol to try and look younger.  Men don’t worry so much about the color as they do about that receding hairline.  Their version of Miss Clairol is the ‘combover’.  And while us older generation might not have to deal with acne anymore, our Clearasil has been replaced by whatever is the latest and greatest wrinkle cream on the market.  Isn’t it ironic that when we are young we want to look older, today with girls starting to wear makeup while they are still in grade school (some even earlier than that!), and when we are older, we want to look younger?  Are we ever happy with who we really are? 

          Actually, some are.  At the other end of the spectrum is what psychologists call ‘narcissists’.  They are named this after the Greek God that fell in love with his own reflection in a pool of water.  We would call them egotists, or just conceited “insert your favorite expletive”.  Nobody likes someone who thinks of themselves as ‘all that’.  And neither does God, because they have placed themselves above God in their own hearts and minds, which was Lucifer’s downfall.  But thankfully, most of us do not fall into that classification. 

          And yet how many of us try to maintain a certain image?  Is the person people view on social media the same person they meet in real life?  And what is the image we are trying to maintain?  Cool kid on the block, successful businessman, hot mama?  Or maybe we do come across as a devoted disciple of Christ on facebook, but do we post a Bible verse that we don’t follow in our day to day life?  Do we present ourselves one way in church on Sunday, and another on Monday?  Do we praise God when we get the blessings we want, but curse Him when the trials come?  Do we confess him to our fellow Christians, but deny him both in words and actions when we are in the workplace or with our non-Christian friends?  And yes, I know Peter denied Jesus three times, out of fear, but he repented and was later crucified for his outspoken faith, upside-down by request because he did not feel worthy to be executed in the same manner as our Lord.  Jesus said, “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?”  (Luke 6:45-46)  What is your heart full of?  Is it full of love, not only for your spouse, your children, your parents, and your close friends and relatives – but for all of your Christian brothers and sisters, as well as those who do not yet know Christ, and even those people you might consider your enemies?  If it is, then your life will reflect it.   Your words and actions will prove it.  And when people see you, they WILL see Jesus.  And that is who each of us is called to reflect in our lives.  Not just part of the time, not just one day, or even just one hour, out of the week;  but every hour of every day of every week of every month.  Whether you are at church, at home, at work, or somewhere else.   Even if you are miles away where nobody knows you.  How people view Jesus Christ, Christianity, the Bible, and the church is how they view you.   I’m sure you have heard it said that the only Bible some people may ever read is YOU.  That might seem overwhelming at first, but if you are truly filled with the love of Christ through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, living a life for Jesus should come naturally.  Yes, there are times your flesh will fail you.  There will be times when temptation wins temporarily.  But we have a forgiving God, and a God who will strengthen us and empower us to live a life that glorifies His Son.  So if you find yourself slipping back into old habits, or struggling to forgive someone, or giving in to whatever personal weakness Satan is trying to capitalize on; stop whatever you are doing and pray.  Pray hard.  And then remember that Jesus gave His life for you so that He could make you a part of the family of God, His brother or sister, destined for glory for all of eternity.  He shed His precious blood for that sin that you are considering.  And if you give in to it, it will most assuredly bring grief into your own life; but even more than that, it could cause someone who is seeking something or someone to believe in, seeking salvation and redemption in their lives, to bypass the only true path to both heaven and a life worth living here on earth, which is through Jesus Christ, because what they saw in you was not a reflection of who Jesus is and what He is all about.

          So are you condemning or forgiving, are you loving or are you hateful, are you encouraging or do you belittle, do you put others needs first or yourself first, do you think you are better than others or do you give them the greater honor, do you point others to Jesus or do you cause them to think Christianity is nothing more than a snooty social club - or worse. 

          When people take a hard look at you, what do they see?  I pray they see Jesus.  Amen.