God Likes What He Sees
God was waiting for me to join Him in a walk. Walks often function as my prayer time. Sometimes I will listen to a podcast as I did on this walk. On this particular podcast, one of the hosts said the following: “God never looks in your mirror and wished He saw someone else”. Now I know what some of you are thinking already – this is a podcast with “me-centered” teaching, a bit of “psycho-babble” that is not at all God-centered. Pastor Bob, are you trying to throw sanctification and becoming more like Jesus out the window? I mean, come on, God is happy with who you are now, the person staring back at you in the mirror? You’re trying to tell me He doesn’t want you to change? I’m only voicing these possible objections because that’s the way I would have responded to such a saying a few years back. But now? Now I see these words as an invitation to give up that nagging sense of shame that often invades and pervades my life. Self-loathing, for me, seems to be often only a step away from where I’m walking. Ray Ortlund, in his book, The Death of Porn, extrapolates a bit on this. He says,
“Maybe you look at your mess and think: If God has any self-respect at all, he must despise me. He’d be wrong not to despise me. But that despairing thought keeps you hanging back from God. Self-punishment doesn’t make you more forgivable. It blocks your way to forgiveness. He is inviting you to come out of hiding and stand tall again. He’s not at war with you. Why? Because you aren’t really all that bad? No. Because in one blinding moment of painful atonement on the cross, the dark energy of your evil forever lost its bid for supremacy. Do you really think, after the cross, your shame drives God away? Nope. Your shame is precisely where he can recreate you the most gloriously. You think you’re disgusting to him? Wrong again. The wrong things about you are where he loves you the most tenderly. God welcomes high-maintenance men who keep coming back to him for more mercy and more mercy and more mercy, multiple times every day. He isn’t tired, and he isn’t tired of you.” (p.34).
Now, perhaps, picture a boxer. Now, imagine this boxer hitting you as you try to enjoy your walk. It’s kind of hard to enjoy your walk when you’re getting hit over and over again. Our walk, our conversation, our listening to, our enjoyment of God is so hindered when we keep hitting ourselves, beating ourselves up over past sins, real or imagined. Let me ask you a simple question related to our opening podcast quote. So, imagine God looking at you right now, as you look in the mirror. What is the expression on His “face”? What if, because you have been looking at Jesus (albeit imperfectly!), He sees the Image of His Son in you? Scripture says this is what our Father sees when He looks at you: The Image of His Son (2 Cor.3:18-4:6). Paul goes on to say the life of Jesus is visible in our body . . . (2 Cor.4:10). Another simple question: Do you know, truly know, not just in your head (because you are supposed to!), but, in your deepest of hearts, that God loves you? The expression on His face as He looks at you is one of pleasure and pride. “This is my beloved son/daughter” (John 17:26).
May I encourage you in your walk? Please, put down the boxing gloves. Stop beating yourself up and keep accepting by faith, that out of love for you, Jesus took the blows from the Father that we deserved and was resurrected as the first fruits of God’s new creation – and He is making us to be a part of that. So, please, go enjoy your walk with God. He’s waiting for you.