I love taking pictures. I’m not the greatest photographer, but every once in a while I do get a great shot. I must literally have thousands of pictures saved from over the years. I probably drive everyone around me crazy because I’m always wanting to take pictures. My kids have learned to smile the “first” time so we don’t have to pose for an hour trying to get a good shot. And now in the digital age, it is even easier to snap away until you get the “perfect shot,” which leads to a whole “load” of digital pictures.
Besides being fun to look at, one of the reasons I think I love pictures so much is because they preserve moments in time. Often times we can be transported back in time through memories captured in a photo. We can tell old stories of what was happening that day or at the moment a photo was taken. Pictures often times remind us of certain periods or people in our lives. Sometimes good times with good memories and sometimes not so good times with unpleasant memories.
I find it so humorous that most of us when looking at pictures of ourselves often times become hyper-critical of ourselves by saying things like . . . look at my hair, how ridiculous . . . or boy was I overweight in that picture . . . or look what I was wearing, what was I thinking? Sometimes we get a distorted view of what we are “supposed” to look like. I’m so glad God’s portrait of us is so different from how we sometimes see ourselves. We see all of our imperfections and the things that we don’t like about ourselves, but I am reminded what God’s word says in 1 Samuel 16:7 . . . man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart.
God’s picture of me says of who I am in Christ. The bible gives many scriptures that tell us our identity in Christ. Here are a few . . . He says that I have been forgiven, and that I have been redeemed (Col. 1:14) . He has removed my sins as far as the East is from the West (Psalm 103:12). God says that I am a child of God (John 1:12) and that I am a new creation and that old things have passed away and that all things have become new (2 Cor. 5:17). He says that I am chosen, holy and dearly loved (Col. 3:12). And here’s one of my favorites, that I belong to Him (1 Cor. 6:20). Now that’s a blessed assurance. I so prefer God’s version of who He says I am verses my own distorted version and I choose to believe the truth in God’s word over the lies the enemy.
Most of us are familiar with “school portraits.” Those lovely annual or bi-annual pictures taken of us and/or our children throughout the schooling years. The school photographer guarantees that if you don’t like how the pictures turn out, they will have a re-take day and you get a another shot at hopefully getting a picture you like. Don’t we all just love those “school” portraits of ourselves from the past?
I’m sure we have all had times in our lives that we wish we could “do- over,” or have a re-take. But we need to understand that with God, all things work together for good (Romans 8:28). I’ve witnessed time and time again how if we repent and turn from our sin, that God uses that ugliness of sin and rebellion for his purposes and that he can be given the glory even through seemingly unattractive circumstances. He makes all things beautiful in His time (Ecc. 3:11). God is constantly trying to teach us something and to mold us into His image so that we can become all that He wants us to be (2 Cor. 3:18).
We have an amazing Savior that has a purpose and a plan for each of us. He wants to create His picture perfect story in each of our lives. That “picture perfect” story is how He loves us so much that he sent his son to the earth to die for our sins and to reconcile us to himself through His death on the cross (John 3:16). His story then becomes our story when we except His free gift of salvation and we choose to turn from our life of sin and turn to him to guide and direct our lives and we then are given eternal life (1 John 1:9). We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, that he prepared in advance for us to do (Eph. 2:10). In Him we become His righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21), and that is what I call God’s “picture perfect” story.