Most of my daily struggles with sin boil down to this: I’m a larger “blip” on my internal radar screen than God is.
It’s a lot easier to think about myself, my problems, my weaknesses, my sins, why I haven’t made more progress in dealing with my sins, others’ sins against me, etc., than it is to be caught up in contemplation of God and His purposes for the world. I even catch myself turning my devotional time in God’s Word into something that’s about me, opening Scripture in the mornings primarily to get the insight I need to fix my problems for the day. I come to Scripture like it’s a mirror, a place where I can learn more about my favorite subject: me.
Now don’t get me wrong. We do face genuine struggles, and God is wonderfully gracious to meet us exactly where we’re at, to enter our world at street level and do renovation in the mess of our lives. Scripture is a mirror. It exposes our faults and helps us see the grace of God at work in our lives. But too often, particularly for those of us with an introspective, analytical turn of mind, we approach Scripture as only a mirror – but it is also a window. As we read the word of God we are being given a front-row seat to something much bigger than ourselves.
What will you see when you look out this window? The view begins all the way in eternity past, when in wisdom and love the triune God chose to create the world and then enter that world to redeem his fallen image-bearers. “God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world”(Ephesians 1:4). If you let your eyes drift a little closer from those majestic peaks, you’ll see generations of ordinary, sinful people just like you caught up in the story of redemption, people waiting for a coming Messiah who would set all aright. And there in the foreground, the most dazzling scene in the whole panorama, is the Savior himself, Jesus the Son of God, dying in atonement for sins and rising from the dead in glorious victory. The creation stands on tiptoes waiting for this King of kings to return and consummate his victory. It’s quite a view.
And you know what? You and I need to look out that window far more than we need to look in the mirror. Left with just a mirror, we’re vulnerable to the lie that this world really does revolve around us, that our problems and our sins and our struggles are the most important thing about us. They’re not. The most important thing about us is that we’re united to the One who stands at the center of the story. Our lives are bound up with his. Our stories are caught up in his story – not the other way around.
So what have you been standing in front of today or this week: the mirror or the window? Yes, you probably need to glance in the mirror from time to time – but then God is well capable of bringing you the mirror when he knows you need it. Until then, come away from the mirror for a while and gaze out the window at a glorious story, a story that’s much bigger than any of us but that gives meaning to every part of our story. Come to the window and behold the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. Come to the window and be transformed!