I am happy to get to share this with you all. Wes has written this devotion and testimony to something he has committed to doing in his life. Wes is the current chairman of the deacons at FBC Buffalo. His desire to better know and serve God is evident in his speech and his life. Whether through Sunday School or Sunday and Wednesday evening services when teaching or through daily conversation, his want to share the love he has for God and His word is always present and he is truly blessed by God with a wonderful family who serves the Lord together and he is a blessing to each of us at FBC Buffalo. I hop that you will take time to read and think on what he has written and reflect on your life as to how you can be a better reflection of God.
The Reflection: Is it you, or God?
As I think upon my own Christianity and the true calling that resides within that claim, I have to ask, “Is my life conformed to me or to God within me?” When you gaze into a mirror do you see a reflection of just you, or can you look deeper into your spirituality and see a reflection of God within and throughout you?
One of my favorite Bible verses stated by the Apostle Paul and found in 1 Corinthians 15:10 says; “By the grace of God I AM WHAT I AM, and His grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is within me.” With that in mind, I pose this question. Do you truly believe that God is who He says He is? And do you see Him within the reflection of yourself when looking into a mirror? After the Apostle Paul encountered his divine meeting with God, the result being his salvation experience, he knew without a doubt that God was who He said He was! Paul then concluded within himself that God was the preeminent One. As a matter of fact, Paul never got past his salvation experience. From that day forward, for the rest of his extremely hard life, Paul lived every single day like he had just met God all over again. Can you say that about your salvation experience and your life since that moment? Do you see the light of that experience in the reflection that is opposite of you in the mirror?
It seems as though our lives get so caught up in our world today that we gradually become morally deceived within our own Christian being. That fiery Christian with which we started out as, seems to take a back seat to the things we want and desire here on this earth. We become spiritually passive, and we don’t see it. That’s how deception works.
It was by all of Paul’s trials in life, the good and the bad, that he came to the conclusion, “I AM WHAT I AM.” He didn’t say, “I am bad, O Lord, therefore I am doomed and cannot be helped.” The revelation of his salvation encounter with the Lord showed him immediately that he was bad, and at the very same time God overwhelmed him with His grace of goodness and mercy. That’s something none of us deserve. And as we should be, Paul was so taken back by this event that his statement in this scripture is that, “His grace toward me was not in vain.” God has an absolute purpose for everything, but we do not have a chance to see it if we do not intentionally look for it. How bad do you want to see God’s grace in your life ? As the reflection here shows, Paul’s brokenness was God’s requirement for maximum usefulness. Now Paul vibrantly sees God in the reflection of the mirror. And now he is useful for the Master’s work.
The crazy thing about this situation is that since we see Paul’s example so clearly, why do we ourselves veer away from his example? Because you know we do. We seem to find that there’s a way around everything. If you really want to do something you will find a way. If you don’t, you will find an excuse. Christian or not, that’s what we do. So the next time you look into that mirror, look with an immense intensity to see past what you are on the surface and ask yourself, “Do I truly see God within me as I study my own reflection?” If not, then you may have discovered that you really don’t know Him. That’s why it is so imperative that you know everything about the reflection of who you see in that mirror before you today.
Someone once said, “It isn’t enough that the Lord gets our attention or that we engage in self-examination. We can see a problem and know ourselves thoroughly, but unless we change our response to God in some way, we will never benefit fully from adversity or grow as a result of it.” Truly changed people are called to live changed lives! And Paul did! It may not have been a mirror. It may have been a clear pool of water. But Paul saw his reflection, and he saw God in it. We all need to get to where we can look in that mirror and ask that important question, “Do I see God”? And be able to conclude with confidence that, yes, I really can see God within that person looking back at me! It will take dedication, perseverance, patience, and just plain hard work in order to see that Godly reflection. But then, as Paul did, you will be able to say, “I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is within me.”
I sincerely hope and pray that you will form that reflection in the mirror to the likeness of Christ and that you will experience the true victory that the Lord has intended for you all along. God’s Word tells us in James 1:22-25, “But be doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the Word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.”
As a challenge, I’m asking you to place a strip of 2″ wide masking tape across the top edge of your bathroom mirror and with a wide tip black marker in large letters write – DO YOU SEE GOD? Seriously, try this for 30 days, Be proactive about this and see if the reflection starts to change. Of course the physical reflection will change with time, but will you see it change spiritually? Keep looking with a Godly intent, be patient, and you just might be surprised.
P.S. After writing this article I wanted to share with you what I’ve personally experienced from this experiment. Like I’ve asked you to try, I wrote “DO YOU SEE GOD?” in big black letters, on 2″ tape, across the top of my bathroom mirror. I thought this would be a good self-examination lesson and maybe even a “feel good” thing. That is, if I could see God in me through the reflection I would surely feel better about myself as a Christian. But it didn’t work that way. It’s extremely hard to relate to someone else a deep emotional thought, or revelation, that you’ve mentally experienced. But the first time that I looked at my reflection, read the words, and then purposely thought about those words, I felt a chill of shame come over me. I saw that I had grieved my God by the sin in my life. I walked away with that thought on my mind.
The next time I gazed at my reflection and read the words on the mirror I felt disappointment with my spiritual walk. I could see that it wasn’t what it should, or could be. The next time, I saw that I could be a better husband, then a better dad, then a better neighbor, and a better servant. At other times I could see anger, aggravation, disobedience, intolerance, wrongful anticipation, worriedness, and at times an uncaring attitude. You get the point. My list concerning the betterment that I could be for God went on and on. And I realized that I want it to go on so that I could see in my reflection and the changes that I must make! Changes that others will see in me as a witness and proclaimer of my Lord and Savior.
Luke 1 :37 promises us that “With God nothing will be impossible”. You need to memorize that. Constantly remind yourself of this: If you are not right with God, you can never turn your mind anywhere but on yourself. Is that where you are? Or are you somewhere in between? I hope and pray that with perseverance you will find a clear reflection of God working within you. He in you, will make an incredible difference to you and everyone around you. And then God gets the glory.
Your reflection in the mirror is a serious one. So please put deep thought to the question it presents, “DO YOU SEE GOD?”