Monday Morning Devotion-December 26, 2022
A Look in the Mirror
Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us. Romans 12:3
Updated from Dec. 26, 2016
"Mirror, Mirror, on the wall. Who's the fairest of them all?"
Remember that line? In the Fairy Tale: "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," The Evil Queen looked into the magic mirror each morning and asked that question. The mirror was a magic mirror because it never lied.
Each day the reply was the same. "My Queen you are the fairest in the land.' Of course that always pleased the Queen.
Then when Snow White became seven years old, one day, the mirror's answer changed.
The mirror's reply was: My Queen, you are the fairest here so true. But, Snow White is a thousand times more beautiful than you."
Oh boy! That information was not well-received by the Evil Queen. She immediately assigned a huntsman to kill Snow White. We all know how that eventually worked out because in fairy tales they all live happily ever after…well, not all. The Evil Queen did not like her outcome. She died trying to kill Snow White who married the handsome prince and became a princess. Sigh! If things just always worked out that way in real life…
Well, who says they can't. In the morning when you look into the bathroom mirror at your image what do you see? Do you see a frown or a smile? Do you notice the new wrinkles or focus on your beauty or handsomeness? Do you linger there or hurry on past?
Well, not being critical, but women tend to linger longer there generally because they want to put on makeup before they leave home. Maybe, not always, but generally speaking I think we can safely say that is the case most of the time.
Notice I am tap-dancing around that one to make a point and while doing so not wanting to make anybody mad at me. Here's why I am saying that we should linger in front of the mirror for a few minutes. It is a good time for inner reflection.
We've just gone through the Christmas Season with all the joys and happiness attendant therein. Now we are looking ahead for the beginning of a brand new year. What will 2017 hold for us? We don't know. We hope we know but sometimes our hopes and dreams take a hit.
If you are like me you definitely want to think positively in your look ahead. As I was thinking about 2017 this thought occurred to me; Hey that's an odd-numbered year we have coming up and when I stopped to reflect back some of the best things that have happened in my life came about in an odd-numbered year.
I was born in an odd-numbered year. I won't say which one you'll just have to trust me on that. I started school in an odd-numbered year, graduated from high school in an odd-numbered year and graduated from college in January of an odd-numbered year as well.
I met the Lovely Susette in 2001. That was major good.
Of course while good things happen every year in our lives…I have had many wonderful experiences in even-numbered years, too. But life, with its ever changing array of circumstances and challenges, presents sadness and difficulties at times in the off-years, too.
Pop, my dad, who was my best-friend ever, passed away in an odd-numbered year---1987. Ten years later in 1997 my Mom died. Realistically, though, they left behind a multitude of wonderful memories, the legacy of a strong faith walk, and great examples of how to live and love others.
So now as we we go in and take a look in the mirror in the morning let's change the way of thinking a little bit. Here's a suggestion I read in Tony Dungy's, "Uncommon Life."
"As I have grown older and I hope a bit wiser, I have come to realize a mirror's usefulness isn't relegated to showing me whether or not I'm put together on the outside well enough to meet the world. Each morning as I peer into the mirror, I am able to meet myself anew. I am invited to take a long, honest, and introspective look at myself, face-to-face with who I am. To look within and honestly evaluate where I am in the journey toward becoming all that God crated me to be."
When Paul wrote those words in Romans 12 I don't think he wanted us to be discouraged or to beat ourselves down. I believe he wanted us to not only see the good but to be encouraged to think about just how good we can be.
LAB says, " "Healthy self-esteem is important because some of us think too little of ourselves; on the other hand some of us overestimate ourselves. The key to an honest and accurate evaluation is knowing the basis of our self-worth---our identity in Christ. Apart from Him, we aren't capable of very much by eternal standards; in Him, we are valuable and capable of worthy service. Evaluating yourself by the worldly standards of success and achievement can cause you to think too much about your worth in the eyes of others and thus miss your true value in God's eyes."
God did not set us up to fail. Sometimes what we see as failure is not judged that way by Him. The desire to do the right thing, to cultivate goodness in ourselves while reaching out to others is what we want to see when we look in the mirror.
We want to be looking at someone who is doing his/her best to grow in healthy ways. Making positive strides in letting God bring out the best in us so we can, in turn, help to bring out the best in others.
Many will be making New Year's Resolutions as to what they want to achieve in 2017. Some of those will even last through January. Just kidding. I'm sure that by being determined and taking a positive approach the good ones will survive the rigors of everyday living.
That success can all start, as Dungy says, by standing in front of the mirror and not just looking at the reflected face. "Look within. A regular and honest self-examination has the potential of getting and keeping you on track to become all He created you to be."
Prayer: Lord we ask your continued blessings on us in 2023 and seek to find the answers that you provide when we look in the mirror and honestly evaluate our lives. Amen!