Have you ever tried to put on makeup in a hotel bathroom? It never fails. You think your face looks just right only to go outside in the sunlight, see your reflection in your rear view mirror, and discover that you don’t quite look like you thought you did. The lighting in the bathroom fooled you into thinking that you had achieved that soft, natural look and now you see the truth for what it is. You either resemble a harlot with your overly bright lipstick and bold eye color, or you look pale and sickly because the sunlight has a different hue than the fluorescent lighting in the hotel bathroom. We’ve all been there.
I experienced this recently and it occurred to me that there are times when I think I appear better to God and to others than I actually do. I’m not referring to makeup and hair this time. I compare my actions and behavior to others and to the standards of the world and I feel like I’m measuring up. In actuality, I’m just standing in poor lighting. Then I step into the light of God’s Word and it reveals a whole other set of standards that are a bit higher than mine. I start to see myself as God sees me. I see the way I treated that person at work, how I yelled at my children, or how I was selfish with my spouse, and suddenly I am not looking so good anymore.
Praise God that He doesn’t let me go around wearing blinders. Instead, He shines His light right on my heart and opens my eyes to the real me that He, and surely others, must see. The question then becomes: how do I respond? Do I walk away from the mirror and do nothing about my hideous appearance? This is the very scenario that James addressed in James 1:22-25.“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it 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. 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.”
My prayer today:
Lord, open my eyes to my true appearance and help me not to walk away forgetting what I have seen. Instead, help me respond in obedience so that I can become a true reflection of You.