Tag Archives: self-image
Ruminating on ROMANS! (Some Thoughts on Paul’s Great Epistle) #32 “Critical Imperatives for the Christ-Follower” (A Study of Romans 12) Part 4
Many of you know that my New Jersey friend Frank and I are reading through God’s Word together (described here). We’re now in the book of Romans and are reading chapter 12 each day this week.
I count 24 injunctions or commands or imperatives for the believer here in Romans 12. I’m aware that the expression “critical imperative” is redundant, but I think it’s useful for what we see here in this great chapter. Let’s continue our multipart study by looking at verses 3-5.
We’ve seen that the believer is to offer his body as a living sacrifice, not to conform to the pattern of this world, and to be transformed by the renewing of his mind.
The fourth critical imperative is —
4. The believer is TO THINK OF ONESELF WITH SOBER JUDGMENT (vv. 3-5)
Someone has defined humility not as thinking less of oneself but of thinking of oneself less. Our self-image is an overused topic today. But I’ve seen the opposite where some Christians act as if they, individually, no longer exist. They are fond of quoting Philippians to the effect that “it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.” Paul is not challenging us to somehow disappear from existence, but to making the Lord Jesus absolutely prominent in our lives.
We are to think of ourselves “with sober judgment.” How we look at ourselves is important, but our judgment is not greater than God’s! We read in I John 3 —
19 This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: 20 If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. 21 Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God 22 and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him.”
Today’s Challenge: Do you need to do a heart check-up this morning? What does your heart say about you? Is it right and biblical in its opinion?
One of the great benefits of being a grandfather is that I can take all the pictures I want of my grandchildren and can find a few to use to make a theological point in this blog!
This is my granddaughter Mary Katherine (a little over four months old) admiring herself in her play mirror. I wonder what she is thinking about? I’m pretty sure it’s “When is my Mommy coming to get me? I’m hungry!”
How we look at ourselves determines so much in life, doesn’t it? If I think I’m visually flawed (and aren’t we all, in so many ways, flawed?), it will impact how I think others see me. If I think, “Lord, you did such a good job in creating me!”, then that kind of boastfulness is bound to come out in my interactions with others.
The Bible speaks of itself as a mirror. We read in James 1:
22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.
A mirror’s purpose is to show us truth. My granddaughter Mary Katherine’s mirror is somewhat warped, kind of like those fun house mirrors that make us look skinny (when we’re not) or fat (when we, uh, might be). An excellent mirror is one which gives us an accurate reflection of exactly what we look like.
God’s Word, the Bible, does precisely that. I completely understand some Christians who don’t get into the Word in a serious way. Why would one want to be reminded day after day after day what one is really like?
If I see myself in a mirror and do nothing to better my physical appearance, one can argue that the mirror served no useful purpose. God’s Word as my mirror confronts me with the truth that I am not all that God wants me to be, that my “appearance” might be fine to other flawed human beings, but I need more than mere cosmetic improvement. I need to look intently into God’s freedom-giving, perfect law — and then act upon what it tells me. How about you?
1. Would you go a full day without looking into any mirror of any kind? Of course not. How is it, then, that followers of Jesus can go a full day (or more) without intensely looking into God’s mirror, His Word? Your thoughts?
2. Truth not obeyed is truth lost. What truth have you learned recently from God’s Word that you know you need to put into practice?