It is a beautiful Saturday morning. Sunny, but the ground is a bit wet from the morning showers. I am seated by the pond near my home and am taking in the waterscape as part of my personal time of reflection. I usually pray and reflect in my living room, but today I am venturing outside to find out what God may be speaking to me through nature.
As I settle into my spot on the grass, my eyes are instantly drawn to the beauty of the reflection in the pond. It is a perfectly inverted image of everything surrounding it–the trees, the buildings and even the sky. It seems as if it could be an upside-down city, a whole other world, unto itself. It seems that way, but something is missing.
As I return to the right-side up world around me, I not only see the true beauty in its existence, but I am able to experience it through my other senses as well, something that is lacking in the “reflected” view. In the real world, I hear the birds chirping, feel the wet grass beneath me and I even think I smell the hint of more rain to come. Thankfully, there is nothing that I can taste in the air!
In that moment, I recognize that there is yet even more to experience in the real world surrounding me—the scent of the summertime flowers, the sound of the baby’s cry coming from someone’s window, the ripple of the water as something plops into it, the movement of the leaves as the wind blows softly. The pond reflection is quite nice, but the real thing, with all its living, breathing, moving parts, is so much better. I could really spend my whole day here if time would allow.
As I continue to ponder, I imagine that perhaps we, as Christians, are like the reflection in the pond. After all, we were made in God’s image and are meant to live our lives as a picture of Christ to the world. Matthew 5:16 says “ … let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Indeed, for some, we may be the only example of Christ that they see, so we strive to live by His example.
But, should we be content to mirror only that which we can see, such as His actions or His moral character? Or are we to totally embrace the very essence of Christ’s full being including that which we can’t visibly see—the beauty of His holiness, His bold confidence in His father, His submissiveness and obedience to His Father’s will, His perseverance through suffering and persecution, His compassion and unconditional love for others? These certainly seem like characteristics we should want to emulate.
But how can we even come close? We are not Christ. No, we are not Christ, and yes, we do often fall short as we try to live our lives. But through our Christian journey, we are becoming more and more like Him each day. The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 3:18, “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.”
Yet, despite this and other verses that speak of our spiritual transformation, many of us still seem to have trouble believing that we could achieve such a drastic change in our characters. To understand why we struggle with this concept, let’s think back to the pond for a moment. When we look into a pond, we can’t always see what’s underneath the surface. Isn’t it that same way with us? We may have some things in our lives hidden deep beneath the surface, and we can’t seem to break free from them. But let’s remember that God knows what is hidden there and He wants to use us anyway.
God doesn’t want us to stay there stuck in the mire. He made us alive through Christ, so that we can now rejoice knowing that God has removed the debris and remembers it no more. We can boldly proclaim, as it says in Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me.” If we could recognize Christ living in ourselves, then we would understand that we are meant to live a more victorious existence, conquering all and being filled with all the life, breath and movement of the risen Lord. We could break free from the hindrances that bind us and threaten to keep us from our true identity.
Yes, our God desires for us to live above the surface and experience all that He has to offer us. He wants us to taste and see His goodness. He invites us to smell His fragrance, feel His presence and hear His voice. He wants us to live a life that truly demonstrates to others His grace, mercy and glory. God ultimately wants us to “…walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Ephesians 5:2)
When Christ walked this earth, He came as a shining example for us of how to live, not only morally but spiritually as well. Through His ministry, He strongly impacted all whom He touched and many others who had only heard of Him. And as we reflect on the impact that He continues to have on us today, we should desire to live in the beauty of His presence and to thus inspire others to want to experience Him fully, in every way. So together, let’s reflect awhile, and then determine with conviction to rise up and live above the surface to impact the world around us for Christ!