This past Sunday I preached at Chapelwood (2nd time in a month, crazy). Over the last several days I’ve posted parts of that sermon. (So as not to be cruel to the readers attention span…trust me its more entertaining when I’m making facial expressions). So far we’ve talked about not getting so wrapped up in yourself (even your own faith) that you miss the doing part of faith. There is actually a great freedom in being yourself, and when Christians move out of the mirror and into the world, amazing things happen.
James says,” Forget the mirror stuff. It’s not real. It’s make up and hair gel. Look Underneath. Try to see yourself as God sees.”
You’ll find, before anything we make or build or craft, our lives are a gift. Born in flesh and word, you are good and perfect and loved. You are first fruits, a holy offering. Strip everything else away and what you see is that you are Imago Dei, the Image of God.
You always have been. And that is all you ever have to be.
That is true freedom, Freedom to step away from the mirror and into the better part of life. You don’t have to focus on yourself, because you know God has that covered. You can listen more than you speak, because you don’t have to justify yourself to anyone. You can be humble and slow to anger because nothing Someone else says or does can ever threaten who You are. Don’t get stuck in the mirror, just be yourself. And when the people of God do that…
When Christians live as the people God created them to be, the world is changed.
When we are as God created us to be, children are cared for.
When we are as God created us, widows and the elderly are looked after.
When we are as we’re created the hungry are fed and the thirsty drink.
The sick are healed and the imprisoned comforted.
When we are as we’re created the homeless find shelter
the blind find sight
the dead find life
When we are as we’re created the powerful are brought down to listen and the powerless raised up to speak.
When Christians are as we’re created, the world is changed
And our calling is nothing less than to be the kingdom God created us to be.
Study, devotion, Self reflection are all important but they should play out in our lives. If faith makes us constantly fixate on ourselves, we risk missing the best part of Life.
We risk building a faith that is only a mirror image, too insubstantial to survive the real world. We risk teaching a faith that looks great on Sunday morning but is forgotten the moment we step away.
Don’t be only hearers, but also doers of the word–Don’t get stuck in the mirror, just be the Image of God you were created to be.
See the funny thing about the Image of God is, it works best when you don’t stare directly at it. N.T. Wright, an Anglian theologian, uses a beautiful image in some of his lectures. He says the Image of God is not such that you can stare directly at yourself in a mirror and find it. Rather it is as if the mirror is tilted so that our reflection is lifted up to God And God is reflected out into the world.
Don’t worry about who you’re going to be, or how others see you. Just be who God created you to be because there are a lot of people out there who need to see God.
This is the full life of discipleship. Be doers of the Word. Check in with the mirror, but then more on to the other 6 days of faith. Carry it out to the world, because when the people of God live as they are created to be–day by day, moment by moment– that is how the world is changed for the glory of God.
Just be yourself… and dare to watch God do the rest.