Friday, October 27, 2006

The Mirror

I sit here at the computer with a mirror in front of me and as I look directly into it you may think I see myself. Sadly, that is not what I see, at least not this time. I see what I have been taught to see. I see misplaced hairs, blemishes, acne, gray hairs that peek out from my beard like flags of conquest and the redness of tired eyes. Then there have been other times after a good bit of primping and touch-up work to my face and hair, a hero appears in my mirror and he has it all together. He has the coolness of Shaft, the integrity of Superman, the intelligence of Einstein and the wit of your favorite talk show host. Yet this picture is still not me. Why is that I (and maybe others of you who are reading this) have so many differing views of the same person that I see in the mirror everyday? Maybe it is because we have been taught a faulty way to look in the mirror and see ourselves.

Let me explain with a story. I once saw a yard that was filled with wild flowers. When I looked, I saw what looked like just a bunch a blossoming weeds that had completely swallowed up this yard, especially when seen next to one of those subdivision manicured "yard of the month" lawns. Now, If my daughter were to lay eyes on that wild flower monstrosity. She would say something like, 'Look at the pretty flowers, Daddy.' My daughter sees the beauty in the wild flowers because she has not received the Homeowners Associations letters that say you can not let your yard grow wildly. I, on the other hand, have learned very well what a good yard looks like. It is one that doesn't embarrass the neighbors or make other people fear the loss of value to their homes. It has evenly cut yards with beautiful symmetrical flower beds and absolutely no weeds. Can you see where I am headed? I have been taught to look at yards based on a communal standard. The home owners, neighbors, parents, and even I have set the standard. So now I look with a comparative lens at each yard I see, as opposed to taking the yard for what it is.

In the same way I believe that, at times, I see myself through a comparative lens, comparing myself to one person or another and I thereby judge myself based on this standard that has been handed down to me. This leaves me feeling at times like I am on the top of the world and other times like I am on the bottom of the manure pile.

So what do I do? Do I just accept this standard that leaves me feeling up or down at any given moment, do I just chunk the mirror to never consider what I look like or could there be another standard?

I want to explore that latter option. Let's look at this other standard. My Father (I mean my heavenly one) says he doesn't see people like we do. He looks at the heart. When he described David he described him as a "man after his own heart." Was David perfect? No. But he was seeking to know God and striving to be like him. We are made in God's image. I believe God sees us as that. Yet, we have blemishes, faults or sin (to use more religious language) that taints the image that we have been made in. Here is the thing about a blemish. It may change my appearance but it doesn't change me.

So here is what I am suggesting, when we look at ourselves we should look through the lens of how God has created us. This means when I look in that mirror again I will see myself ... but I will still see blemishes. Remember Isaiah in Chapter 6 of his book, he sees God (the standard) and says, 'Whoa, I am unraveled because I have unclean lips.' Our natural response in the face of perfection is to recognize our imperfections. You may say, "Well, how does that help? We are in the same position we were in when we had the communal standard." Then I would reply, 'Not exactly.' If we look at the mirror through God's standard then we see the image of God in us. Yes, it has blemishes but we see the image of God instead of just seeing the blemishes. Then a beautiful thing occurs when we realize that we were meant to be blemish free. We turn to God (we confess our sin) and he begins to give us a complete makeover. Isaiah's makeover came when a hot coal from God's altar was placed on his lips to clean them. After we recognize our blemishes and turn to God, then as time passes and we allow God to work he removes our blemishes and we begin to experience who we were created to be. We experience the fullness of God dwelling in us.

Don't get rid of the mirror. Get a new standard so you can see clearly into it. Then turn to Jesus and enjoy becoming who you are.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The whole earth is full of His glory

"Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty;
the whole earth is full of his glory." Isaiah

I was reading in a book by Rob Bell last night and he brought up the idea that God is always around and we are the ones that are missing him at times. So I read the passage in Isaiah 6 and here is the imagery....

God, himself, is seated high and exalted on his throne. There are six winged creatures that with four of the wings they shield their eyes and their feet and with other two they fly. Then as they speak their voices shake the doorpost and the threshold of the very temple of God. Isaiah is taken back at the scene and assumes he is toast because his imperfections are being consumed by the perfection the Lord of host who is right in front of him. While all of this great scene is going on, the seraphs (the six winged creatures) say, "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory." How do these beings who are in the very prescence of God, in their praise, leave this temple and the Most Holy place where God would dwell and speak of the whole earth? I suppose that they can say, " the whole earth" because they have eyes to see, with great clarity, how God's glory burst past the walls of the Most Holy Place, past outer courts of the temple, through Jerusalem, beyond Judah, out of the middle east, past the oceans and engulfs the world,

They see it as clearly as I can see my hands typing this blog. I want eyes like that. Eyes that can recognize everywhere God's glory is. How peaceful a person can be when they see the glory of the Lord everywhere. I want eyes like that.

I want to see His glory in the homeless man who is bothering people for change. I want see him in the storm before the rainbow. I want to recognize him in the beautiful and the ugly. I want to see like Jesus did when the town whore came and interrupted a highly respectful meal with her tears and perfume. (see Luke 7) The Pharisees saw a whore, an inconvenience, and shame. Jesus saw a woman created in the image of God and living it out by placing perfume on him and cleaning his feet with her tears. How beautiful God's glory is.

I want to see clearly , like Jesus did. I want my vision to be swallowed up in God glory.

Give us sight Lord

In the name of Jesus