I was talking with a friend about a lunch meeting I had with someone else. “Do you know who that is?” I asked after saying the name of the person I was to be meeting up with.
“Oh yeah,” she said confidently. “Is he the one with the really smooth skin?”
I would have described my lunch acquaintance in a lot of ways. I would have used his job title, interests, even his height and weight perhaps. But it had never occurred to me to describe him based on the quality of his skin—apparently silky smooth.
That only pops into my head because it makes me think about Heaven and how perhaps there are times that God is having a similar conversation with angels about me. The angels are trying to reason through and recall who I am, and then God chimes in with some describer that is nothing like what they were considering, and is likely a far cry from how I would describe myself.
And I know this fictional conversation doesn’t really occur in Heaven, but I do think God often sees me in ways I don’t see myself—some good and some not so good. I make light of my sin, and I know God doesn’t, so there’s that. But I think part of even that assessment doesn’t say so much about how filthy a character I am, as much about how God sees so much potential in me. He looks at me and sees His power. He sees the potential to love sort of like He loves. He sees the untapped kindness and gratitude and compassion. Somehow, He looks at me and He sees Jesus–despite all the ways I am not like Jesus at all.
I think if I looked at myself this way, I might actually begin to grow. I am a sinner, and I know this, but if that is the only way I ever see myself, well, what chance is there of change? In Junior High School I always saw myself as a kid who couldn’t dance. Over and over again I would remind myself that I didn’t know where to put my arms and that I had no rhythm. In some ways it became a self-fulfilling prophecy that ruined many a school dance. But the truth of it was, sure, I was no Usher, but I could dance—everyone can! Mostly it is just having fun and spazzing out—at least at the rural Junior High School level. But I saw myself as worthless on the dance floor, so worthless on the dance floor is what I became.
There is this passage in Scripture when some Israelite spies strike out into the land they are seeking to conquer, the land God had promised them. They came back to report like to the people and said this: “We were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and became so in theirs!” How astounding is that! Perception became reality and filled the people with self-made fear.
I do this far too often, and I would wager you do too. I see myself as dirty, as a sinner, as wrong, as incapable, as lackluster, as a lousy husband, as bad at living out my faith and even worse at evangelism. But God’s Word doesn’t say only that. Yes, it says that I am a sinner and was once estranged from God, but it also says that in Him I have abundant life and power. It says that God’s Spirit lives in me. It says I am more than a conqueror, that I am an overcomer. It says I’m a co-heir with Christ, that I am a son of the Living God. It says I am adopted by God, that I am His child, that I am His ambassador—His CHOSEN representative.
I think, at times, if I begin humbly living more in line with how God sees me and less in light of how I assess and depreciate myself, I may just become the very things His Word promises, by His power.
And I think that is something worth dancing about.