Do you ever see pictures of yourself and think “Well, poop.”?
Ben and I both have mirrors over our dressers and of course over the sink in the bathroom, but the woman I see in family photos recently looks more like a “before” picture than an “after”. It’s easy to forget and think it’s not that bad when you aren’t confronted by those images daily, but yesterday we did the unthinkable.
We bought a full length mirror to hang on the backside of the door in our room. Speaking of backsides…y’all.
Being able to see the full extent of my choices over the past year is no small (pun intended) reality check. I’m thinking of suing the mirror guy for emotional damages.
So, my little brain started chugging as it does sometimes and I began thinking how the Christian walk can be oh-so similar.
God’s word is much like my new mirror, although it shows us infinitely more.
The Bible tells us the truth about where we come from, why we’re here, and where we’re going.
It also tells us exactly who God is and what he is like. It lets us know what he expects from us and what we can expect from him.
When there are things in the Bible we don’t agree with or understand, some of us do what any sensible ostrich does: we stick our heads in Matthew 7:1 and ignore them. We accentuate the more palatable passages and chalk up the rest to “less important” or “outdated” and sometimes even “mistranslated.”
But God takes his Word seriously. All of it.
I have been guilty of blissfully ignoring convicting or uncomfortable parts of Scripture in the past and I’m sure I will be guilty of it again in the future. The important thing is to stay in the full counsel of God so I can recognize when I’m off track and do some course-correction. Having other solid believers around doesn’t hurt, either. Actually, it’s kind of vital to the Christian walk.
So what does it look like to submit to the full counsel of God? It’s us taking God’s word seriously. Again, all of it. Some of y’all hate this idea. You’re not alone. I’ve had some pretty disheartening conversations with people recently who seem determined to jam their stepsister theology into Cinderella’s shoe. Spoiler alert: not gonna fit.
One very kind woman said she just couldn’t reconcile the “vengeful” God of the Old Testament with Jesus, who condemned the religious leaders of the day and hung with sinners. The problem with this is that Jesus is the God of the Old Testament. He and the Father are one, and he says if you’ve seen him (Jesus), you have, in fact, seen the Father. The love, grace, and kindness we see in the man hanging on the cross reflects the heart of the very same God who wiped out wicked nations and flooded the earth. He is one and the same. Holy and loving. Just and merciful. That is our God. Jesus washed feet, but he also talked about hell quite a bit. No one embroiders those verses on pillows for some reason.
Another slightly less personable lady argued that what God defines as “sin” isn’t made clear in the Bible. Ummm…wrong. Also, she vehemently stated we can’t know what God really said (sound familiar?) because of what has been lost in translation.
I shared with this woman the error of her misconception regarding translation, and then I told her another truth:
The problem isn’t in the translation.
The problem is that people don’t like what God has to say.
God’s word shows us our true selves and sometimes it’s not a pretty picture. It steps on our toes. It reveals our sin. It calls us up and out. God loves us and he invites us to a life of self-denial and obedience. It is beautiful and it is hard. And it is clear.
Here’s the deal. If we just stay in the parts of Scripture we affirm and ignore the rest we are not only skewing the image of God in our own minds, but reflecting an incomplete, inaccurate representation of God and his Word to the world around us.
Much like my dresser-top mirror, when we can’t see the full picture it’s hard to know what’s true and even harder to find and sustain motivation to change. We can’t see the full beauty of the gospel as it stretches from Genesis to Revelation if we only read the book of Matthew. Don’t leave any of God’s love, rebuke, warning, wisdom, or grace unexplored! He is speaking to you through those words you don’t make time to read. And to me.
I can ignore my weight, but it won’t lower my chances of health risks. We can ignore parts of the Bible, but it won’t excuse us from the consequences of our sin. Reality isn’t popular these days, but that doesn’t make lies any more true.
Be a full-picture person. If you’re a Christian, be a Christian who accepts the full counsel of God.
Love you guys.