One of the common sights on Facebook is to see your wall packed with quizzes your friends have taken to determine which person/place/thing they are most like. Superhero, Greek philosopher, character on Lost, Protestant Reformer, Care Bear, whatever, people seem to have this need to see themselves reflected in someone or something other.
I suspect the reason for this is that each one of us cannot bear the thought that there is something inherently wrong in each of us that makes us unworthy of acceptance and love. I and only I am the weirdo. Me, myself, and I are the flawed trinity of worthlessness. If I am like Ross on Friends, at least I know I have some value and meaning. Only then do I have some connection to this thing called life.
The Bible says this:
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
—2 Corinthians 3:18
I find it odd then that when many Christians look into the mirror, they immediately rebuff any thought that what they are seeing reflected is Jesus. What strikes me is that people tend only to see what is not Jesus in themselves, almost never what is. In fact, to even say something along the lines of “I serve other people in the same way that Jesus did” comes off as arrogant and smug. The truth is, it is anything but. It’s exactly what we should be saying as a holy people who are becoming more like Him day by day.
Which is better for our souls, to revel in the fact that some made-up quiz said that we are most like Samwise Gamgee or to agree with the Bible that we are like Jesus?
One of those matters. I’m aiming for the latter.
23 thoughts on “Jesus in the Mirror”
There’s a great praise song I remember from my college days:
He changing me,
Turning me round and round.
From glory to glory,
‘Til heaven in me is found.
O, He’s changing me
Into the likeness of His Son;
In glory I’ll be
A reflection of the Perfect One.
I was just thinking how often some Christian preachers, teachers, writers and bloggers remind us of the fact that we are sinners, yet how few take the time to remind us that we are saints. That lack is astonishing to me.
We have been translated from one kingdom to another, yet how often it seems we are reminded of where we came from and not where we are! I think that much hopelessness and resignation are generated by those preachers, teachers, and writers who act as if our birthright is still to come and not something we hold now.
This post has tremendous insight into why people have such a fascination with the “which one are you like” apps on Facebook! The social scientist in me is always wondering why people do the things they do and I had never been able to wrap my mind around that one.
I think you’re on to something, Dan.
The question of identity is not very well explored in American Christianity. I wish we did a better job on this as it would help millions of people.
Has anyone noticed the Bible apps, though? Answer five questions, and you can find out your Christian ministry? (Best I could figure, because I was willing to wear jeans on a Sunday morning, I, too, could be a lead pastor …)
I think I like Facebook to say “Hi” to old friends … and to type messages at 6 am, when my daughter is up far too early.
I am strongly opposed to spiritual gifts inventories. They only confirm in people’s minds what they think their abilities are, not necessarily what genuine spiritual gifts they possess. That labeling of gifts in others really belongs to the elders and leaders of a church body. They should be the ones helping people to discover and understand their giftings. Sadly, that’s just another role many leaders have abandoned.
I’m with you Dan. I skip invites to take all those tests. It may creep with them the thought that you are nobody till you resemble someone who’s pretty, famous, cool, etc….but Christ.
The sources from which we draw our identity are telling.
I’m sure your aware of the studies Dan, that reveal that up to 80% of pastors view porn on a regular basis. It’s most likely about the same percentage among the body also. There is a great deal of brokeness in all of us at some level. If we are honest with ourselves, and others we tend to see the flaws, instead of Jesus in the mirror. Personaly I don’t think that is a bad thing, pride is a stumbling block for so many in the body. Being real about who we are, and working out our salvation daily requires honesty. Truthfully I don’t see a lot of Jesus when I look in the mirror, but it’s something I’m strive for.
Our entire culture is pornographic. For that reason 100 percent of people have viewed porn, no matter what they say.
Looking in the mirror and seeing portions of the reflection of Jesus in ourselves should not automatically lead to pride. Rather it should be the building block of genuinely appropriating a healthy view of who we are as saints of God. Too few Christians get that.
I take those quizzes because they are silly and fun. And have no bearing on reality-proven handily by the fact that one quiz proclaims me most like Aragorn.!
Got nothing at all to do with my real self-view whatsoever.
See my reply to David Knepprath.
I believe the quizzes can be taken and not inflict self harm on your self-view, but there are crazy people in the world (like myself) who still need to ask why. Why do people find enjoyment in said silly activities? However seriously you personally take the results is beside the point, I think Dan is on to something in discovering the root cause.
Yes. All I am asking is why. What is the lure? Why do we like to take these tests?
I think for many of us, we want these tests to reveal that we are like the person/place/thing that we most want to be like. Why not take our identity from Jesus instead of a test like this?
I think I may understand what you mean. Some people rightly come to the understanding that they are sinners when Jesus calls. But then they seem to fall in love with that state of recognition, to fall in love with grace, and then forget to pick up their cross and follow Christ.
Actually, I am saying the opposite. Many Christians look in the mirror and see nothing but a sinner. They need to start seeing saints who look like Jesus.
Good, challenging word, Dan; I linked to it today.
i am thinking
we think too much
You should not be reading Dan’s blog then. 😛