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When You See Yourself on Camera

When You See Yourself on Camera

Now when all the people saw the thunder and the flashes of lightning and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking, the people were afraid and trembled, and they stood far off and said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, lest we die.” Exodus 20:18-19

As I’ve previously mentioned, we’re in the middle of our months-long competition season at our gym. During each phase of the competition, I do several prescribed workouts over the course of the week, recording them, and then comparing my score to others in my age group around the world. Like most of us, I think I know what I look like. When I walk by the mirror in the bathroom with my shirt off and I stand just right, sucking in my belly, I look like I’m in pretty good shape. The camera though, doesn’t lie. In watching the video, I see what everyone else sees and it’s always a bit of an unpleasant shock. I don’t exercise to look a certain way, but still, no one wants to be pudgy. Pudgy though, is exactly what I see when I watch those videos. Though it’s a little painful, it’s better to know than to remain ignorant. It’s a reality check that’s good for me if I want to grow and improve.

Reality check. That’s the message of today’s passage for me. In the story, God physically visited his people at Mount Sinai, appearing as lightening, thunder, and smoke from the mountain. The people trembled in fear before this terrifying display of God’s power. Moses though, explained God’s purpose – Do not fear, for God has come to test you, that the fear of him may be before you, that you may not sin (Exodus 20:20). Though it was a frightening, uncomfortable experience, it was important that God’s people see the reality of him. It was a reality check to know God as he truly is, so that they might fear, respect, and obey him. The experience had its desired effect as the Israelites promised to listen and follow.

I pray for something similar every day. God, help me see my need for you today. In doing so, I choose to recognize my place before God. I once lived as though I didn’t need him and so, he had to painfully humble me, providing a reality check that I desperately required but didn’t much enjoy. Now, I desire to daily appreciate my need for God so that I daily remain dependent on him. I need God every day. It’s up to me though to recognize that need and to follow him. If I refuse, I’ll wander from him at which time he may find it necessary to provide another painful reality check.

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