I grow a beard every winter. This is partly because the cold weather (with a scrawny body hypothermia is never that far away). Plus it convinces folks they did hire an adult as pastor. And this week, though the weather is still in the 60’s, my face started the growth process.
Already my mirror image looks different. Not just that I am growing a beard, but new gray has been sprinkled in this year. I could blame the gray on pastoring or maybe three little girls… but my mirror image looks strange.
Last night I stayed up late reading and came across this passage: “Those who listen to the word but do not do what it says are like people who look at their faces in a mirror and, after looking at themselves, go away and immediately forget what they look like.” (James 1:23-4)
I read the scripture. I hear things from God – challenges to be a better person. To love my wife more. To become selfless. But I receive these things as though they are describing who I am not. But what if these descriptions are describing who I am? What if the revelation reveals how God made me?
So what I hear are not challenges to become, but a mirror reminding me of who I am.
I am not scared or angry or prideful or… I am brave and kind and humble… And Christ came to redeem this life for us. To remind us of our true image. I need only follow Him into the life God created me to live.
Following Christ occasionally brings forward strange illustrations. But we do not need to be homeless, attract following crowds, while walking on water – this seems the prescription for a cult. More importantly, Christ has already won the victory through the cross – we need to live into that victory. Each of us have a different life to lead and we are called to live in God’s vision for our life. This happens as we become Christ’s disciples, his followers, as Dallas Willard wrote,
I am learning from Jesus to live my life as he would live life if he were I. I am not necessarily learning to do everything he did, but I am learning how to do everything I do in the manner in which he did all that he did.