Monday, March 7, 2011

I Am What I Am

“For by the grace of God I am what I am…” (1 Corinthians 15:10)

Someone has said, you can tell a woman is truly confident when she stops changing her hairstyle; but one could argue, I suppose, this is actually just an indication that she has run out of ideas! I once saw a woman I had not seen for a long while and failed to recognize, because I had known her as an attractive grey-haired lady, and now she was a striking ash-blonde. I smiled and asked, “Who are you hiding from?” “Me,” came the quick reply.

The truth is, it takes more than a cosmetic makeover to camouflage the person living within. Piety or perverseness is not attire; it’s an attitude. And a change of hairstyle doesn’t change your thought processes. You and I must live with the person within. As the poet, Edgar Guest, has written, “I have to live with myself, and so I want to be fit for myself to know.” This is why the greater part of our personal preparation for the day should center on the “inward man,” that is being renewed day by day,” instead of the “outward man,” which is perishing (2 Cor. 4:16). As you apply foundation, blush, lipstick, or any beauty aid you may employ, remember that He is “the health of [your] countenance” (Psl. 42:11). Sin ruins the prettiest of faces, while godliness adds beauty and charm to the commonest of features.

I think the root of all dissatisfaction with what we have, where we are, or with whom we live, is our displeasure with who we are. Make no mistake; I’m not just trying to “affirm your self-esteem,” a much overworked, but lucrative, philosophy. For myself, I estimate my own worth from the fact that God loved me enough to sacrifice the dearest thing to His heart—His Son—in order to have me with Him for all eternity. And if that doesn’t give you confidence, nothing will. I mean that.

Paul said of himself in 1 Corinthians 15:9, “For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church or God.” If anyone had an excuse for self-loathing, this man who had cruelly tormented the people of God, did. Yet we find him acknowledging who and what he was, on the basis of His standing in God. “But by the grace of God I am what I am.” To deny himself would have been to deny the grace of God.

We should remember it was God who made us for Himself—the way we are; and it’s He who offers to make any changes. To bemoan our looks, our personality, or our physical limitations is to question His creativity. He wants our wills, not our wailing. As we surrender ourselves to His probing, but loving, hand, He will make any necessary alterations. Until then, know that the reflection you see in the mirror is a reflection of His handiwork. Cherish it, for His sake....and yours.

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