May 18, 2016

Seeing Jesus in His People

Becky Pippert, author of “Out of the Salt Shaker and into the World” said in a video: “When I try to be like Jesus, all people see is me, but when I am just myself, people say that they see Jesus in me.”

Think of it this way: Jesus lives in His people. If He were salt in a salt shaker, the only way He could be seen is if the shaker is completely transparent. Any kind of surface covering or coloring, or a change in the composition of the shaker, and the salt cannot be seen. Since most people adjust their persona supposedly to be accepted by those around them, they hide what they really are. If Jesus is in their lives, He becomes hidden too, maybe not completely, but nonetheless blurred.

Chambers points to the birds and flowers as illustrations of the same principle . . .

Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, (Matthew 6:26–28)

Birds and flowers simply are; they exist without any sort of effort to be anything other than what they are. They never stress about their lives and make no self-conscious effort to be consistent and useful. They just allow their source of life to be their source of life.

I’m thinking of the Christians that have had the biggest impact on my spiritual life. Like Pippert, they are just themselves and usually unconscious of the way they convey Christ to others. In fact, they would likely deny that is happening. When they look in the mirror, they see a flawed person, so they put their focus on Jesus Christ and because of that, when I look in that same mirror, I see Jesus shining through their lack of pretense and their openness.

How does this happen? Chambers says to focus on God. Do not bother about being of use to others, but believe in Him, paying attention to the Source of life, and out of you will flow rivers of living water. Looking at myself and my weaknesses usually produces dismay, and I become self-centered and self-protective, but looking at Jesus produces radiant hope. I become like Him by seeing Him.

Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. (1 John 3:2)

The people who influence me the most are those who let everyone see them as they are. This transparency may reveal some inner ugliness too, but in exposing that, we are more apt to confess it and have God forgive and cleanse it. Not only that, others will identify with those ugly parts. Revealed weakness draws us together and we are far more able to overcome the ‘uglies’ when others know about them, and can pray for us, giving encouragement and support.

But transparent people also reveal the Lord Jesus Christ who lives in them. There is a child-like quality in their simplicity, yet Jesus shines and I can see Him in them. Those are the people who shape my life.

Also, as Chambers says, if I want to be of use to God, transparency keeps me rightly related to Jesus Christ too. This is vital because He is then free to use me — unconsciously and in the daily stuff of life.

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