As Christians, we know God has called us to reflect Him to the world and to each other in love, kindness, strength, peace, and so forth. We could say, it’s expected. Not that it’s always easy, but for the most part, we understand these expectations.
So I understand that my decision to choose love, have patience, forgive others (and myself), submit to authority, honor people, and be willing and ready to give to those in need despite my own needs, all reflect Christ.
In fact Colossians 3:12-17, in the God’s Word Translation says:
“As holy people whom God has chosen and loved, be sympathetic, kind, humble, gentle, and patient. Put up with each other, and forgive each other if anyone has a complaint. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Above all, be loving. This ties everything together perfectly.
Also, let Christ’s perfect peace control you. God has called you into this peace by bringing you into one body. Be thankful. Let Christ’s word with all its wisdom and richness live in you. Use psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to teach and instruct yourselves about God’s kindness. Sing to God in your hearts. Everything you say or do should be done in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”
These are all great reminders (or instructions if you’re learning them for the first time). But I think sometimes we look at these backwards. What I mean is, we read passages like this and automatically think of others–how we’re supposed to treat them in order to reflect Christ to them. But really, the opposite is true: these instructions apply to YOUR mirror first.[Tweet “Before you can ever truly reflect Christ toward others, you must first see Christ in you.”]
In other words, you need to:
Be kind, humble, gentle, and patient with yourself
Forgive yourself as the Lord has forgiven you
Love yourself, and let His peace control you
Be thankful and let God reveal His kindness to you
As Christians, we know these should be our actions toward others, but what does it say about God’s Word when we withhold these same actions toward ourselves?
I like the Message Translation also:
“So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.
Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other—None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing… sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.”
So my prayer for all of us today is that we would learn to apply God’s Word toward the friend in our mirror. (Notice I didn’t say enemy.) Never forget, you are made in the image of God and as a believer, you ARE the righteousness of God in Christ.