Evidence in the Mirror

For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. (Psalm 51:3)

Taking the up-close look in the mirror is not easy. Every wrinkle is exposed in the bright light. The imperfections are perceived with greater clarity. It’s easier to just back away … dim the lights … divert attention elsewhere. But the evidence is in the mirror, and we can either deceive ourselves or face the truth.

I would like to think that I could just make up my mind and be a better person. After all, the will to do good is strong within me. I’m sure God will help me. The key to stopping sin is to stop sinning, right? So I’ll just do better. Oprah’s Secret is to just imagine myself as I would like to be and I can become. This all sounds really good early in the morning before I ever eat the first bite or face the first stressful situation or have the first urge to do something wrong. Grit. Resolve. Passion. You’ve got what it takes. You can do it! I can coach myself into the hype … rah!

Hasn’t anyone else approached their problems this way? So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! (1 Corinthians 10:12). What does the Bible know that we do not acknowledge? You can’t do it. Really, if you could get your life together on your own do you think Jesus would have carried that cross up the hill to be nailed to it? Do you really think that God would have endured the sacrifice of his unique Son so that you could be redeemed … if you could redeem yourself?

The evidence in the mirror is: I Can’t. How many times have I started Weight Watchers? A few years ago I paid up ten weeks in advance. Do you think that was enough motivation for me? I never went to the second meeting. After decades of struggling with my eating patterns, could I dare to look in the mirror and say, “I can do it“? And what is it for you? Do you think you could never drink alcohol again? Perhaps you will never look at porn again? Maybe it’s that you will never waste your money on junk again? Next time you want to use drugs, will you just say no? Will you promise never to lose your temper again? So you are just going to set those ciggarettes down and never puff again? How about those words coming out of your mouth … are you going to stop that? How many times have you looked in the mirror and against all the evidence of a lifetime said, “I can do it”?

Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up (James 4:9-10).

I believe there is victory to be had. Overcoming the dreadful habits of our lives is a part of God’s work on the heart. But we will never let Him do it if we think we can do it. We will never fall into the natural rhythms of his grace if we cannot begin where He wants us to begin. The evidence is in the mirror. Do you believe it? Will you accept your own inability to win and achieve on your own?

We admitted we were powerless over alcohol — that our lives had become unmanageable.  (The first of twelve steps of Alcoholics Anonymous)  The first step forward is to begin at the bottom. Why three posts on looking in the mirror? Because we resist it so strongly … and you’ll never know the power of recovery without starting at the right place.  More later.

I’m only posting two links today in hopes that you will read them.

Bobby Valentine demonstrates what happens when churches band together to feed the poor.

Larry James demonstrates what happens when professionals use their talents to actually help people outside the system.

Thanks for reading.


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