What exactly does a Christian look like? Can we assume that someone who is actively involved in a church, reads their Bible, entertains discussions or studies on theology, and openly announces their devotion to Jesus are all necessary ingredients to the recipe for what it is to be considered Christian? True, one can muster up enough stamina in keeping with these standards to maintain the appearance of a Christ follower at first glance; but a deeper look into what we see reflected in the mirror can lead us astray if our sight, or the mirror providing what we see, is blurred.
There are three key aspects to deciphering where we fall in line with the definition of a Christian: our clarity in how we view ourselves, our prioritization in how we appear to those around us, and most importantly, our Savior who defines it all.
Beginning with how we interpret our inner dialogue and whether we’re introspective enough to see and hear clearly the identity we’ve adopted, we can be sorely mistaken many a time. We may enter into situations thinking we’re fully engaged in righteous intentions, with thoughts of our stellar integrity as we proceed, but end up misjudging altogether and wishing we could rewind time to do things a different way. However, when our integrity rests on what we view as the right way, we are mislead by wavering emotions. Obviously, not all situational predicaments are clearly laid out within the 66 books of the Bible, but an overall picture of how to place the piece of any puzzling decision can always be located. Unadulterated integrity rests in His Word and instruction, in which follow through using Scripture as guide will not fail to please the One we aim to glorify most. An essential ingredient of a Christian must be a reverence to the Bible when faced with decisions. Regularity of reading God’s Word doesn’t prove one to be a Christian necessarily, but utter dependence on His Word and Spirit to reflectively wipe away the steam of our fleshly nature reveals that doing things our way is rarely the righteous way.
Now, how we desire for others to see us and where we place those opinions is a stumbling block for most. A deep seated fear of man provokes behaviors that are representative of the misplaced priority when we make man our mirror. Whoever that man is, we are pressured to adhere to their perceived expectations of us: parents, friends, peers, coworkers, fellow church congregants, even perfect strangers in public or private settings. Although our attention to these people can be mentally draining when attempting to appease the faces looking back at your appearance, your choice of words, your demeanor on a daily basis, or the depth of your allegiance to Jesus Christ, this reflection can only be given credence when those judging us come from the heart of someone riding that treacherous road where grace and truth collide. All others opinions of us aren’t worth considering when filtering how our reflection is seen on the outside. Not surprisingly, the Bible gives us insight aplenty as to what character traits a Christ follower ought to be striving towards. Surely we Christians fail miserably at exuding the fruits of the Spirit everyday, but follow up instructions on how to repent, forgive, and reconcile are abundant throughout the Bible.
Above our self perception of ourselves and our attempts to garner acceptance or approval from others, is how our lives reflect for, in, and on Him. How does God see us in His almighty mirror? Our Father who knows our every thought, motivation, and what sin is at the heart of each of our trespasses: how do we look to Him? Are we an ugly mess of a soul, complacent in our hard heartedness, too stubbornly self loving to serve Him? Or are we an ugly mess of a soul, whose Redeemer has opened our eyes to rightly see how our actions, inactions, intentions, and ultimate motivations are grounded in our faulty flesh desperately grasping to hold on to following His directives? How else are we to gauge what we reflect today, tomorrow, and however many more tomorrows He gives us breath? By using only Him as our mirror, trusting only His Words to lead us, and not needlessly investing too much on our independent thought or being too dependent on the thoughts of others. In knowing that He is our mirror, we need to see our reflections not as ugly and messy souls, but the bride of Christ that is worthless to save ourselves, but worthy of His saving.