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What do you see?

None of us really likes for anyone to compare what we have, or what we have done, with what another has or has done. What we have doesn't really matter, but try to tell that to some people. What we have done isn't all that important, but some amass credentials like they were something to be coveted. We don't really want anyone else assessing us, do we? There are times when an honest assessment of who we are and what we are doing is something we'd rather avoid. Facing the fact we might not be moving in the best direction at the moment is sort of intimidating, if not downright humbling! Yet, the beginning of any real change in our lives begins with the first step - the step we take to the mirror of God's Word!

Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don't be impressed with yourself. Don't compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life. (Galatians 6:4-5)

There is a natural progression from examining our "true identity", seeing clearly how we "fit" into the placement we have in this life, and how "committed" we are to fulfilling the mission to which we are called. Until we begin to understand the "truth" of our identity, we will either live way below our potential, or live with too high of an inflated impression of ourselves! Both are a problem! Scripture clearly defines our identity when we are without Christ - sinners (Romans 3:23). This pretty well discourages us from living with an inflated image of our self-worth when it comes right down to it. In fact, self-worth is really not worth much! Just as clearly, scripture defines who we are with Christ in our lives - redeemed, holy, and new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17). Sometimes we live far below our potential simply because we don't really understand what it entails to be a new creation in Christ!

When we are finally looking into the face of Jesus - seeing our identity in him - we begin to open up to the possibilities this newness of life produces. The "fruit" of our lives begins to change from decaying, worthless, or destructive activities, and we find ourselves moving toward activities which produce the evidence of the new creation we have become. As with any fruit, these changes in our character are produced through growth - dead trees don't produce good fruit. Fruit begins in our lives with a bud of faith - faith that making the right choices will produce what is promised. In time, the fruit we feed is what we develop! It isn't the 'high associations' we make in life, but rather being embraced with the love of God and his intense grace.

There is a great deal that goes into "sinking ourselves into the work we have been given". When we begin to take responsibility for the image we allow ourselves to behold (the image of Christ vs. our own self-image of importance), we begin to find our true "fit" in life. It is in the discovery of what God has declared "true" about us that we begin to walk free of the bondage of our past. We behold many a false image of ourselves throughout our lives - what others declare about us, what we tell ourselves about our insignificance, who we believe society wants us to be, or what books tell us we need to become in order to have 'arrived' in life. Isn't it time we begin to take a fresh look into the mirror of God's face?

It is in the eyes of Jesus we behold the perfection he declares over our lives. The depth of his love expressed in those eyes of grace speak more truth about us than any other image we could behold. When we finally see ourselves as he does, we have no problems with being "on mission" with Jesus! In fact, we actually begin to get excited about the possibilities Christ produces by his presence in us! So, look deeply into his eyes of grace, my friends! He declares you lovely, perfect, and whole! Now, begin to reflect THAT image to the world today! Just sayin!

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