Mirror check before manoeuvre.
“Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.” (1 John 2:6)
Considerable recent reading has been an intellectual and spiritual challenge that should change my lifestyle. I have doubted much I had previously understood of my faith, but he who never doubts has nothing to lose.
My all is in Christ and I must never lose sight of this. In the news recently, one person in a group of homeless people under attack said something subtitled, “We were rich before, but we just did not know it.”
Sometimes we are too comfortably insulated from trouble to connect with reality. Covid has changed this for many.
I occasionally hear young theologians demonstrating extensive knowledge of scripture whilst simultaneously revealing their lack of life experience for self and others.
I’ve come to the view that irrespective of the latest helpful challenging theology, striving to live as Jesus did is the most consistently understandable thing to strive for, even if it’s impossible to do.
God in human form experienced living with struggles, suffering and trouble. He also lived whilst showing the all-encompassing Love of the Father.
“Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Ephesians 5:2)
Jesus used real life examples in parables to help us grasp meaning from his teaching using everyday analogies with considerable depth and impact. We need to be more like Jesus. We can never have his deity, but we should not use this truth to excuse our lack of holiness as we engage with sin.
Paul knew this ongoing battle. “For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; But I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members.” (Romans 7:22-23)
When we look in the mirror do we see God at work within us? Are we willing to walk as Jesus did?
“Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12)
We often remember Jesus walking about with his disciples/friends whilst giving great talks to many followers and crowds. He must have looked impressive performing miracles.
This seems like a good life of leadership with uplifted status. I could aspire for that, but there were also times when he was…
- Persecuted e.g. John 15:20
- Despised, rejected and suffered e.g. Isaiah 53:3
- Unpopular and ignored e.g. John 6:66
- Without honour locally e.g. Mark 6:3-4
- Sacrificial when mediating e.g. 1 Timothy 2:5-6
- Willing to work menially for others e.g. John 13:14-15
- Obedient to Father God before self e.g. Mark 14:36
These are but a few examples of His life, in a frail human body.
Do we see these challenges in our lives when we take an honest look in the mirror? Should we see them? If not, why not?
It’s easy to make excuses. In my case, effects of brain injury do not excuse a lack of trying to improve.
“Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.” (James 1:23-24)
We too should strive to live a holy life if we are to see Jesus.
“Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no-one will see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:14)
God’s spirit is with us to bless us whilst we join with him in the service of His purpose.
“So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.” (Galatians 5:16)
Christian faith is for life and is far more than attendance and shallow presentational acts on a Sunday.
The value and reality of Christian faith is judged by others when they witness the lives led by those that call themselves Christians.
The lived-out example of “everyday” Christians is a more powerful witness to unbelievers than the, often unheard, words of the preacher at the front of a Church or missional event.
Those who proclaim to be Christians can do significant harm as well as marvellous good. Mission and outreach are not the responsibility of the preacher alone! Do we, like Jesus, demonstrate that we have been blessed with something of value, even if we need help to explain it. Does our discipleship stand out for the right reasons? Are we outstanding?
It may be worth a look in the mirror whilst remembering it’s the inside that is most valuable, especially if it is full of loving Godly goodness, lived out evidentially, daily.
A good look at the mirror on the wall may draw us nearer to the one beyond, to the fairest one of all.