What Do You Reflect?
By Courtney Couch
Do you remember the beginning of the Disney film, Mulan? She sings dramatically into a pond, “When will my reflection show who I am inside?” As difficult as it may be to admit, I’m willing to bet we have all had moments like this in our lifetime. We ask ourselves why we were created and what we were meant to do with our lives.
As Christians who believe in the inerrant word of God, we believe that the Bible is like a mirror we can look into and discover our created purpose.
“You will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendour.”
I look at this verse so often and I always focus on the “oak of righteousness” part. I want so badly to be there: to be a strong, sturdy person who glorifies God in all my oaky majesty. In reality, I’m probably more like a struggling sapling.
So often, I make my hard work and my creativity about building up my “brand” and making my name great. I attempt to reflect my own greatness. It’s the human problem with grace: we either work hard because we feel we need to earn God’s grace or we accept God’s grace too lightly because pride blinds us to the knowledge of how desperately we need it.
Our own reflection is shiny and distracting. I need to remember two things very clearly to combat my performance mentality:
1. Salvation is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise, grace would not be grace (Romans 11:6).
God created us for a relationship with Him – not to earn our relationship or right-standing with Him. He knew that would be impossible. It isn’t my to-do list that glorifies Jesus.
I can’t earn the grace I’ve already been given. I can’t repay a debt I don’t owe. I can’t ‘clean the mirror.’ I’m not the one supporting the church; that’s Jesus’ job. He’s building His church with me because He’s that good to me.
2. “It is not you who supports the root, but the root that supports you” (Romans 11:18).
This verse was written for believers who were judging the actions of God’s chosen people. I think I compare myself a lot, too. I like to look sideways at other people and compare the work of my hands to theirs and subtly think to myself, “Well, I’m doing more.”
The root of that attitude is pride, which isn’t just something God dislikes–it’s something God opposes (James 4:6). Fight that prideful false identity with truth! I’m not supporting God; God is supporting me. I’m not supporting the church; the church is supporting me.
So, cut back to Mulan singing, ‘When will my reflection show who I am inside?’ I doubt any of us have taken a trip to our local duck pond to sing a similar song; however, we have struggled with the same question. Who am I? Why was I created? Why am I here?
We were created in God’s image to bring Him glory by reflecting Him into our world (Genesis 1:26, 2 Corinthians 3:18). “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into His image with intensifying glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)
Odds are, you are not perfect at reflecting Jesus to this world. Neither am I. There will be hard days, distracting promotions at work, and unexpected financial difficulty. But where is your focus?
You will reflect what you focus on.
It is imperative that we focus on Jesus – not on the distractions and empty things of this world – and join with the rest of creation in the work of what we were made to do: glorify God in any and everything. “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.” (Luke 19:40)
If that resonates with you, then we’d love to pray with you. Our prayer centre is open for your calls between 08:00-10:00, 13:30-15:00, and 17:30-19:30 from Monday-Friday. Why not call us on 0300 561 0700?