Saturday, September 12, 2015

What You See Isn’t Always What You Get (Revisit)

The image illustrating today’s post is by Dru Stefan Stone.  When you get a chance, hop over to Google+ and check out her work.  As for this picture,  I’ll say more about it as we go along, but we're glad we had permission to use it for this post, the first time we shared it.  It illustrates today’s thought very well.  Think about this as we begin:


1 Corinthians 13:12 (KJV)  For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

Most of us are familiar with what a mirage is.  We’ve either seen them ourselves or seen them depicted in movies.  That shimmering hot air that looks like there’s water in a place where it really isn’t.  Most of us have seen other optical illusions – things hidden by the surrounding elements of the image, things that look like one thing, but seen in the right way show something else, etc.  And that’s where the picture that begins this post comes in.

Dru’s picture is called “Autumn Palette”.  I didn’t mention the title before because that might have given away what it is before we got to discussing it.  When I first saw it, I only quickly glanced at it.  The immediate impression is of a brightly colored abstract painting.  A closer look reveals that it’s really a close up photograph of layers of fallen autumn leaves.  Damp ones, at that.  But the soft focus and layering of the leaves makes it appear otherwise – at least till you start noticing the veins in some of the leaves and the shapes of the leaves.  It made me think of some spiritual parallels.

The verse in Corinthians talks about our limited capacity to absorb spiritual content.  Thanks to Adam and Eve making wrong choices, we all have spiritual limitations that weren’t originally intended.  That’s part of the issue.  But there’s more.  If we’ve accepted salvation and what Jesus did at the Cross in our stead, we’re seen by God as being perfect.  However, our experience isn’t always getting the same perception. 

We may see the mirage of unforgiven sin instead of the underlying grace and mercy that took that away.  Our limited “sight” gives us the perception of our Old Sin Nature blending together with what’s good to make our lives seem abstract and appear disconnected from any possibility of being restored by God.  Or there’s the flip side of the coin.  We can see our missteps as excused from accountability by covering them with a false veneer of respectability.  We just see a different mirage.

1 John 3:7 (KJV)  Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.
1 John 1:8 (KJV)  If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

Just like “Autumn Palette”, it takes a longer, clearer look to focus on the reality instead of the illusion.  We use God’s Word to define our perception of reality.  We rest in God’s nature to see His grace and mercy.  When the Bible talks about confession, there are only a few instances where it refers to telling others anything.  For the most part, that confession is between us and God, and it speaks of agreeing with Him about the sinfulness of specifics in our lives.  Indeed, part of our righteousness is the admission of our sinfulness and the willingness to cast it off.  So, we’re also given a way to be accountable without fear.

2 Timothy 1:7 (KJV)  For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
Hebrews 2:17 (KJV)  Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.

God’s love casts out the fears, mirages and illusions.  He gives us sound mind and sound perception.  We can have that spiritual clarity, just by accepting Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins.  And, no, there’s nothing wrong with the potential abstractness of Dru’s photograph.  It’s a favorite.  But there can be wrong potential to mirages, illusions, and deception, in the wrong circumstances.  Are we letting God deal with our mirages so we can experience spiritual glory?

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