2 Corinthians 5:17 - Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
Lisa Giaconda was the lady who served as the model for the Mona Lisa.
I wonder, when the painting was finished did she turn to da Vinci and say,
1. "Lenny, do I really look that chubby? Couldn't you have taken off a few pounds?"
2. "And my eyes, why didn't you get rid of those circles and add a little eye shadow?"
3. "It's not a bad picture as far as oil paintings go, but I don't like my smile. It's really not a smile at all. It's sort of a snicker-smile. I know you're an artist and all that, but I'm going to be looking at this painting for a long time, so I want to make sure it's done right. Let's try it again, okay?"
Of course, the art history books record no such conversation ever having taken place, but I'd be surprised if something like that didn't happen. That's because most people don't like the way they look.
Talk to the supermodel whose mug is on a multitude of magazines; visit with the actress whose countenance has filled the largest movie screen and, they will, without hesitation, give you a complete list of the things which are wrong with their faces and figures. Because we are obsessed by appearances, tabloids regularly run features on the celebrities who have let themselves go to pot, and articles about the stars who have taken off too much weight too fast.
Of course, you don't have to be a model or a movie star for the average person to think a few improvements are in order. If you doubt that, ask people about their New Year's resolutions.
You should know this exterior stuff is not what God sees when He looks at you.
When God gazes upon you, He sees past the shell; when God looks at you, He sees your interior: your mind and soul. Even if you're a pretty nice individual, even if you try to be a person of honor, even if you work hard at being the best you can be, you, like all of humanity, have your flaws and failings, your shortcomings, and yes, your sins.
Talking about the part of us which God sees, the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah said, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? 'I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds'" (Jeremiah 17:9-10).
Think about it. Our happiness depends on people not seeing what we're thinking, not knowing all we're doing. If our thoughts of lust, greed, anger, pride were all flashed on our faces so everyone could read them, who among us would show ourselves in public ever again?
Knowing who we really are and recognizing we could never change ourselves, the Heavenly Father decided to bring about some changes. Unlike a change made to a person's external appearance, the changes God initiated changed our hearts, our minds, our relationship with Him, and our eternity. Through the sacrifice of His Son and the faith-giving work of the Holy Spirit, the old is gone, the new has come.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, create in me a new heart and renew a right spirit within me. In Jesus' Name I pray it. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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