A Little Knowledge – Me and My Mirror
Humanity has been obsessed with appearance from the moment Adam and Eve took a bite of the forbidden fruit. Genesis 3: 10 (NIV) “[Adam] answered, ‘I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid’.” The first sign that what people, or in this case what God sees on the outside matters to us, came three chapters into the Biblical account of the beginning of time. Adam and Eve weren’t hiding because they disobeyed God, although I would suggest part of the naked feeling came from knowing God knew what they did, they hid because they didn’t like the way they looked. They just went against the Creator, the one who only had to speak and it happened, and all they could think about was; don’t look at us we aren’t looking our best.
I would say that most of us would do the same.
Instead of worrying about our sinfulness we would be more concerned about how we looked. It is silly when you think of it. Adam and Eve not only walked around naked until this point, which means God could see what they looked like without clothes, but God made them to look like that. He called what He made “very good” (Genesis 1:31). The all-knowing, all seeing creator of the universe isn’t worried about appearance on the outside, but about who you follow on the inside.
God responds to Adam’s explanation, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” God didn’t say; ‘let’s get you properly covered up and it will be okay’. He didn’t deal with the outward appearance as the issue, although He did address their nakedness later. God, in His perfect wisdom, dealt with the inside issues, their unwillingness to be obedient, to follow Him. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. It usually addresses the most obvious, the easiest to see, leaving the most needed and deepest issue unaddressed.
Fast forward a whole testament…
… we find Jesus calls out the Pharisees over and over again for “staging the house” to make it look good but having no real foundation. They wanted others to think they were Godly and praise them for it. Jesus went as far as to call them “whitewashed tombstones.” Talk about “staging the house”! Paint the marker to look good, but in the end what lies under it is death and decay. Not much of a foundation.
You most likely think, “I’m not like this” and you probably are right.
You would never pray long prayers and take the best seat at the table. You would never live for public recognition, well a little wouldn’t hurt. You try to help the poor and needy and give to the church. You do your devotions in private and pray with your eyes open in the restaurant so no one sees you. You’re pretty sure you look like Jesus intended a Christ follower to look but a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.
If Jesus were to walk the earth today and create a parable to call out those who thought they were Godly, maybe it would go something like this.
A man walks into his doctor’s office weak and short of breath. The doctor starts the appointment with a few questions.
Doctor: “When you look in the mirror what do you see, a healthy man or a sick man?”
Doctor: “even when you have no clothes on?”
Doctor: “how old are you?”
Doctor: “you must be healthy then, when I look at you I see the body of a 30 year old in perfect shape and your face, you look so young.”
Man: “That’s the pluses of having money. Silicone and Botox, hair transplant and liposuction.”
Doctor: “you look so good, what brings you in to my office today?”
Man: “I’m not sure, looking this good I must be fine…”
…The next day he wakes up dead, well you know what I mean. The autopsy is performed and a very familiar phrase is said just before cutting starts, “he looks so good.” Then a new phrase about his looks, “how can someone look so good on the outside and be so full of cancer on the inside?”
The man who looks in the mirror and says, “I look great”, is like the man who builds his house on the sand.
He assumes that if the outside looks great, the inside must be just as great. The man who gets an MRI, looks deeper and addresses his inner issues, he is like the man who builds his house on the rock. The core of who he is, is healthy and strong, able to fight disease… The mirror isn’t enough. It only tells me what others see, revealing only what I need to change to look good. The mirror never looks at my health, just my appearance. When it comes to our faith we can end up using the “Christ follower mirror” to gauge our spiritual health.
We look in the “Christ follower mirror” to see if we look like Jesus instead of looking in the “Christ follower MRI” to see if we are like Jesus.
From time to time my blog will include excerpts from my book “Blueprint.” Like any author/blogger, I find it difficult to leave the words I have written in my computer. As I start to navigate the editing, typesetting, cover design and other aspects of the publishing process I find I am still impatient even though I am getting closer to the finished product. Maybe it’s because someone somewhere needs to read these words now.