Butterfly Sparks Designs

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall.

If you know my story, then you know that my early years in the church were like many of yours may have been. I was taught sound doctrine based firmly in Truth, and for that, I am so grateful. But I also picked up some other things…some things that I wish I hadn’t.

I am not computer savvy enough to draw a circle below. But in your mind’s eye, picture a circle. In the center, write “Truth”. The diameter of the circle, though, should be labeled “religion” or even more accurately, “legalism”. I was taught Truth through the lenses of legalism.

Hold that thought for a second.

I have given much thought lately to the idea of spiritual discipline. Not long ago, I found myself the nastiest form of spiritual warfare I’ve ever experienced. So I’ve been checking myself … taking a self-inventory, if you will.

How do I relate to God?
Am I placing Him above all else?
Am I seeking Him?
Is there an area of unrepented sin in my life?
Am I consistent in my spiritual disciplines?

Most of us know what the components of spiritual discipline are. To name a few…fasting, prayer, quiet time with God daily, and so on. You know the drill.

My humbling exercise soon revealed that I have a serious problem with self-image. I wasn’t expecting that. I’m not talking about the outer image that I see when I look in the mirror. I already knew I had issues there. But like the outer shell of the circle I asked you to draw in your head, how I see my outer shell is merely a refraction of the lens upon how I see myself in the shadow of God.

There is an inherent “default” where my mind goes when I read about God and His instructions and commands to us. My faith, from the time I comprehended it, was grounded in an idea of performance and both subtly and blatantly, I was taught that my holiness was dependent on my performance and what I had achieved. Most often, those words were not spoken to me in a Sunday School class or sermon but instead were spoken – loudly -- through the actions and responses of the church in the face of someone’s spiritual fall. Those who did not perform well were not welcome. As a young kid, it framed my view of God. That stuff sticks and is really hard to wipe off.

OK, here’s where those two concepts come together. I understand, and have for some time, that discipline is a means of seeking God and receiving Him. I understand and firmly believe in the importance of “doing the things” necessary to keep me grounded in my faith. They are necessary. Period. Not because they area list of rules to follow but because they drive me closer to my Abba Father. As a matter of fact, I have often said to others that I do not look upon the list of spiritual disciplines as merely a set of rules to be graded against. I say that a lot.

But do I really believe that? We live what we believe. Do I really live that?


When I meet someone who is more spiritually mature than me (i.e., more “holy”), I don’t see their holiness first. I see my unholiness. It is my focal point when placed in the shadow of holiness. When I read, think on, and meditate upon the attributes of God, I don’t see his worthiness first. I see my own unworthiness. My unworthiness is my focal point, not God’s worthiness. I am centered on my “uns”…which means my focus is on myself.

While the awareness of my unholiness and unworthiness is the very thing that humbles me before God (a healthy thing, by the way), shouldn’t my focus be on HIS holiness and HIS worthiness? If I am focused on my “uns” then the enemy has already stolen my thoughts by directing them toward the lie I am unworthy of God’s love, grace, and redemption. And guess what that probably means? That when I look upon others, I probably do/see the same thing. Ouch, ouch, ouch.

God, you see the image of your holiness and worthiness in me. You do not see my unholiness or unworthiness first. You call me worthy. You call me redeemed. You call me into your holiness. May I see myself and others the way that you do, through your eyes, and through your promise.

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