As we’ve been utilizing online services and teaching these days I recall how my first venture into a video upload brought a surprise. I looked SO OLD!
Of course there’s a perfectly good reason for this: I’m old. — Old happens, doesn’t it?
Then I noticed all the other little unconscious bits that a soul misses as it tries to express itself from the inside through a body which is all that is seen by others from the outside. My hair was untidy, I could have shaved better, I had a home-made bandaid on an index finger, I should have smiled more — and, despite being well aware of all the exhortations not to, I continually and unconsciously kept touching my face!
Yes, it can be disappointing to see oneself as one truly is. I remember my mother often citing with mock Scottish accent* this line from a peom by Robert Burns
O wad some Power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!
It wad frae mony a blunder free us
Roughly translated he says, What a wonderful power and gift it would be if God enabled us to see ourselves as others see us! It would prevent us from making many social blunders.
We’re all seeing ourselves in new ways these days as we live in social distancing and self-isolation. Like astronauts in training we are forced to live with ourselves… in some cases with ourselves only.
There’s an old Seinfeld episode where Jerry thinks he’s met the girl of his dreams; they have so many things in common! When it gets to the point of the similarities being so minute as to be ridiculous Jerry realizes the relationship just can’t work. “I’m in love with myself,” he sputters. “I can’t live with myself! I’d go crazy!”
James writes about a man who looks at himself in a mirror. He says,
“Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone 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).
It does no good looking at yourself periodically, straightening up this or that bit. Sooner or later you will end your looking and go right back to living from the habits you’ve built into yourself.
But real change is possible as we “put on Christ,” as we surrender to Him and obey Him as we ought. Then, the Holy Spirit of God transforms us from the inside out.
“But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.” (v. 25)
He goes on to tell us what that sort of living looks like. He states two points (v.27):
- Look after orphans and widows in their distress.
- Keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
What is it that God is calling you to do today? It is in just such very practical aspects of daily living that “The Fire of God” seeks entry into your being! What is God calling you to do today? As also one of our SermonIndex conference speakers challenged us: go now and do it. It may even make living with yourself a lot easier!
* Though my mother truly was of Scottish ancestry she did not naturally speak with Scottish brogue.