A few months ago, I was a game show contestant on Let’s Ask America. Add it to the loooong list of random things that I’ve done!
The show works like this: you skype in from your house and they split screen you with 3 other people. Then, you’re asked Family Feud style polling questions and you earn money for each correct question. At three pre-determined points in the game, the contestant with the least amount of money is kicked off and goes home empty-handed. Not me, my friend. I won!
It didn’t look that way at the beginning. At the first cutoff I was tied for last place and had to do a tiebreaker called “The Dash for Cash!” The host gives you a random assignment like be the first one to go make tinfoil balls and bring them back and juggle them, or fill a soup ladle with something and run back to the camera and drink it. I remember waiting for his instruction, not knowing what in the world awaited me. Mine was the “pajama” episode, and I was decked out in a pink cheetah onesie. The host told us to run and put on another pair of pajamas and come back. Heart racing, I looked down to see the last night’s jammies crumpled up on my bedroom floor. I had never been so stoked to not put away my dirty laundry! I jumped off the bed, thankful for the onesie’s one big long zipper, jumped out, threw on my sweats and whatever shirt was next to it, and ran back onto my bed still getting situated while seeing that I was the first one back.
Our wandering hearts tend to want to keep our dirty laundry nearby in case we need a quick change. We zip up our Christian onesie on Sunday mornings or when the topic comes up in conversation, covering up what’s really underneath. The pink cheetah spotted cover-all looks nothing like the spotless robe of Christ. We are ready, with dirty laundry always near our feet, to change our look quickly depending on whose presence we’re in. One minute we’re Pink Cheetah Christian and the next we’re Sexy Suzy or Clubbin’ Carla or Cussing Carol or Drunkard Danielle or Worried Wilma, or, we just put on our sweatpants and do our best to blend in with everyone else. We are deceived. “The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). The righteousness of Christ isn’t something that can be taken on and off. It comes from our hearts and makes us shine. It’s not something that we have to explain in words. It should be seen in our actions. If someone were to spend 30 minutes with you, would they know you’re in Christ? Or do you look just like the rest of the world? “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing” (2 Cor 2:14-15). What do you smell like?
I love what it says in James. “Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it–he will be blessed in what he does” (James 1:21-25).
When we look intently into God’s word, ingesting His perfect instruction and then actually doing what it says, our reflection becomes genuine, looking more and more like Christ. Putting on a variety of outfits means nothing–God searches our hearts and knows who we really are. We shouldn’t be worrying about what everyone thinks about what we’re wearing, but instead be concerned about what our hearts look like. Where we stand with him. If our lives are a pure reflection of our Creator. We wait for the day when we will see it all clearly, but for now, we look into the mirror of His word and let the Spirit do the sanctifying work needed to see Jesus in our reflection.
“For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.” 1 Cor 13:12