You Look Terrible
And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Galatians 5:24
I love looking through old photos of my family and I enjoy reminiscing about my kid’s childhoods. They’re both in college now, and so, looking at old photos always brings a smile to my face . . . except when it reminds me of where I was at with my drug addiction back then. I’m not sure if others saw it, but when I see old photos of myself, I can’t help but notice that I did not look healthy. I may not remember exactly what was going on, but when I see my face, I can tell that I was either using or withdrawing. I remember looking at myself in the mirror back then, thinking, You look terrible. No matter how hard I tried to appear that I had it all together, my drug use wasn’t hidable. It showed in my face and eventually, it blew up my life for everyone to witness.
We often try to put on a good facade for others. Whatever we’re struggling with, we’re ashamed of it, so we try to hide it and put on a good show. We’d prefer that everyone think we’re good Christians who have it all together, so we dress up on Sunday and try to look perfect.
Our life struggles and failures though, have a way of becoming visible whether we want them to or not. Even if our life never falls apart in a disaster like mine in my drug addiction, our true nature is frequently revealed to those around us, no matter how much we may try to hide it. Others know what our life is about by the fruit that we bear.
In today’s passage, Paul described what a follower of Christ looks like. He detailed the works of the flesh in contrast to the fruits of the Spirit. He said the life of one filled by God’s Spirit is marked by love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Those who truly follow God will look like it.
What do others see in us? Does our life bear the fruit that one would expect from a follower of Christ? Or, when others look at us, do they see a life of following self? Paul didn’t say we’d be made perfect in our faith, but if our faith is real, it must affect the way we live, which will inherently have some outward manifestation that others will notice. If no one ever notices that we follow Christ, it’s very possible that we’re not following him at all.