Family picture day has become a tradition for us for the last 10 years. I’ll be honest – when the kids were young it was near hell. Trying to get 3 & 7 year olds to continue to put on their “cheese” and not squirm and keep their eyes open for over an hour required creative language and veiled threats through your own pasted-on smile. But our photographer is a miracle worker! And every year he would produce these amazing memory making shots. “Man, we actually look good!”
I’ll never forget the awakening I received one year. The kids were older, things had gone remarkably well. I was greatly anticipating some stellar family photos. As we were in a bit of a rush to get the annual Christmas card out to the printers our photographer graciously offered to drop off the disc of photos the next day so we could get a jump on things.
Disc goes into computer. Icons of the images begin to load. “Oh these are going to be great!” I muse as I quickly scan through the mini images to find the particular sitting I was hoping to use. “There’s the one.” Click. “Oh this is….YIKES! Oh my! What is wrong with my FACE? Are those wrinkles??? Those are REALLY BAD wrinkles! What happened to the lighting??!” As I was flipping through picture after picture the phone rang. It was our photographer. “I forgot to tell you. These are the none-touched-up ones. I always do a bit of touch up on the finals…” I’ll say! “Do I always look like this?” There was a bit of a pause at the other end. “I only do some VERY MINOR touch ups…”. Yeah.
For the last several years I’d been looking at myself through some nice special effects or filters. And you know what – we’re all prone to look at ourself through filters. However the Bible challenges us to “Put a mirror up to the real you, with no fancy “soul enhancing” lighting FX… (Philippians 2:3, Word on the Street Bible Paraphrase.
How do I see the real me? am I looking at me through the nice ‘fuzzy effects filter’ that reduces all the flaws – eliminates the blemishes, evens out the skin tone, smoothes out the wrinkles? Am I looking a myself through the filter of good works or self-achievement?
There actually IS a filter that isn’t just a nice effect – it literally does away with our flaws, imperfections, & failures. It’s the filter of the life of Christ. When I choose by faith to live according to His identity, it’s not just a nice fuzzy effect – He literally transforms my flawed, sinful, very wrinkled inner man.
Paul worded it this way:
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. And the life that I now live in my body, I live by faith, indeed, by the faithfulness of God’s Son, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20 CEB)
The real me is found in Jesus Christ and the life He made possible. He is the greatest “special effect” you’ll ever need.