Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Today’s Topic: Whose Face Do You See?
Today’s Text: Psalm 119:135 (ESV) Make your face shine upon your servant…
Numbers 6:24-26 (ESV) The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.
Please bear with me as I begin with a rather obvious and somewhat stupid question. When you look in the mirror, whose face do you see? I told you it was obvious and stupid. Of course, we see our own face.
Next question – When you look at someone else, whose face do you see? At first that seems like just as stupid and obvious of a question, but I want you to think about something. I wish to present the possibility that when we look at other people we actually see our own face.
How is that possible? Well, if certain things are true about us, and for most of us they are, then it is not only possible but probable.
Many of us are not yet sure of our true identity. We wonder if we have any intrinsic value. We tend to define ourselves with lists of accomplishments or relationships. We ask others to affirm us based on our abilities, many of which are learned for the specific purpose of impressing people. We seek to affirm ourselves with the approval of people who like us because of our personalities, when even our personality is nothing more than the mimicking of others we define as popular.
In all of these things, people become the idol we choose to bring value to our lives. And there it is – when we see their face we really see our face because we have empowered them to reflect to us our identity. When we see their face, we see what value they bring to us. We use face time with people to enhance our own face, so in essence when we see them we are really seeing only ourselves.
I apologize if this makes sense only to me, but I believe our Enemy the Devil has us in powerful chains of bondage in this area. The bondage is this – we believe that living as Christians is all about doing rather than being. We believe that our identity is determined by our deeds rather than our deeds motivated by our identity.
This morning I was awakened at 4:30 AM with the sound of thunder. That’s pretty rare for January in Wisconsin. I tried to go back to sleep, but events from the day before kept running through my mind. As I prayed about those events, the Lord brought this thought to me – What’s the difference between doing and being?
I thought about that question at great length and don’t have time to share with you all of the ways that the Lord broke my heart and started rebuilding it. Then when I read this verse in today’s section of Psalm 119, I saw the answer. When we focus on doing, we are looking at our own face, but when we focus on being we see only God’s face.
Every one of us will apply this truth to different areas of our lives, but the root cause of the issue is the same in all of us: it is an expression of pride that seeks to earn value and establish identity from some source other than God alone. We all, in some form and to some degree, seek our own face.
The truth of the Gospel is this – the pursuit of our own identity ends in eternal death, but the identity of Christ in us gives us eternal life. It matters not for eternity how other people or my productivity define me, but only how Christ defines me that has bearing on my eternal soul. It is only when we become absolutely content with the Face of our Lord shining on us, in us, and through us that we will find peace.
So it’s a valid question – Whose face do you see? Your answer is evidence of the gods or God you have chosen.