Are You Photoshopped?

22 Feb

Photoshopped_byGail_croppedMy friend Gail Andrews once photoshopped a picture of my my husband and me – switching our heads! We laughed and laughed at the silly photo.

Innumerable photoshopped images draw laughter on the internet. The funniest ones are of animals or inanimate objects. An elephant with zebra stripes. Goldfish jumping out of a snoring man’s mouth. A squirrel brandishing a machine gun. A dandelion:  a flower with a lion’s head in the center. A bowl of potatoes with eyes … real eyes!

And then there are the gorgeous models who are photoshopped to unrealistic extremes (and most of the time I like them better in the before pictures). I laughed out loud to see a model with an obviously-photoshopped bustline, but whoever did the photoshopping forgot to photoshop her image in the mirror! I thought, “Who do they think they’re fooling?”

It may be a stretch of an application, but sometimes I think I try to “photoshop” my character – to look better than I am at any given moment. Call it wanting acceptance, or the need for approval … or pride. It’s a hypocritical picture I give to the world, at that point.

God sees the heart; He searches and knows the truth about us (1 Samuel 16:7; Jeremiah 17:10). So any spiritual “photoshopping” is foolish. As I examine my heart, I wonder how often I have “photoshopped” my spiritual reality.

Why can’t I just be honest and say I’m still “in progress” … broken but partnering with God in my sanctification?

It’s OK to admit I have needs, because I know God will keep working on me until the day I die or Jesus returns for me (Philippians 1:6).

In the meantime, I can best minister when I am authentic, surrendered and obedient.

Ray Stedman wrote about this kind of authenticity in “Living an Authentic Christian Life,” a booklet by RBC Ministries excerpted from the book Authentic Christianity, Discovery House Publishers).

“Authentic Christianity never needs advertisement or publicity,” Stedman said. “It gives off a fragrance and a fascination that attracts people like flies to honey.”

Not everyone will be attracted, obviously. Some people, when face-to-face with authentic Christians, either lash out in hatred or recoil in fear. We shouldn’t be surprised. That’s how some people responded to Jesus.

Stedman says there are five unmistakable marks of authentic Christianity, as described by the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 2:14-16):

  • Unquenchable Optimism
  • Unvarying Success (the triumphing of God’s plan in and through us)
  • Unforgettable Impact
  • Unimpeachable Integrity
  • Undeniable Reality (a lifestyle that validates the life of Christ within us)

Stedman adds:  “After listing those marks of an authentic Christian, Paul asks the reader, ‘And who is equal to such a task?‘ (v. 16).” None of us is a consistent role model of the authentic believer.

Our confidence—the source of our authenticity and our sufficiency—is in Christ (2 Corinthians 3:4-6).

My thought is, how will people in our world see Jesus if we keep photoshopping our faith life instead of allowing the world to see how Jesus changes us, meets our needs, and commissions us for Kingdom duty?

Do you struggle with living an authentic Christian life? Which of the five characteristics of authenticity is weak or missing in your life?

Forget the photoshopping, Friends. Come to Jesus with your needy life and keep it real.

~ Dawn

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