Who do we think we are fooling?

I searched through drawers.  I searched through my winter bin of clothing.  In the closet.  Under the bed.  In the bathroom.  WHERE was my swimming suit?  The thing never turned up.  Somehow–I will probably never know what happened to it–I had lost the bottom to my bathing suit.  Uuggh.  I knew what that meant.  I would have to purchase a new bathing suit.  I HATE bathing suit shopping.  Because somewhere in the last 20 years I went from thin to…not thin.

As I searched for the perfect bathing suit,  I saw all kinds of words attached to suit tags or descriptions:  “tummy control panel”  “slimming”  “shirring”.   Now I ask you– have you ever seen anyone magically transformed by a tummy panel or strategically placed “shirring”?  The answer is no.  A thousand times no.   If I am overweight it doesn’t matter what bathing suit I choose, I will look overweight.  Sure, some suits will appear more stylish and slimming, but there is no swimsuit out there that can truly hide what I really look like.

And that got me thinking–we do the same thing with our spiritual lives.  We put on church attendance, or sponsoring a third world child, or maybe even “personal  devotions” like they are a swimsuit.  We hope that these acts will hide our habitual sins.  But if we aren’t living our lives to please the Lord, it is obvious to everyone.   If we are spending more time at the bar than church…if our conversations are full of criticism and unkind words about others…if we allow things in our homes that would make our grandmother blush with shame…if our bathing suit leaves little to the imagination…if the first thing out of our mouth when we are frustrated is a cuss word…if we are quick to anger…these things are indicative that something is wrong with us spiritually.

We can’t hide it by going to church.  Or offering “deep, spiritual” answers to questions in Sunday School.  Or by attending a Bible Study at which we appear to be so attentive.  We can’t hide it by being part of the worship team or by volunteering at Bible School.

Our true, spiritual selves cannot be hidden…just like our fat cannot be hidden.   Sure most people will ignore the fat…and the sin…they see.  Or they will broach the subject ever so lightly by a sarcastic remark or a quiet, under-the-breath comment.   But everyone sees it.   If we are trying to walk the fence between God and the world, we aren’t fooling anyone…except maybe ourselves!

In fact, we are often fooling ourselves, aren’t we?  We want to do what we want to do and do not plan on letting anyone, much less God, stop us.  And we start thinking that we are spiritually healthy, when we are not.  Let’s open our eyes when we read God’s Word, asking the Lord to convict us of the sin in our lives.  Let’s ask of every choice we make:  which choice will most glorify the Lord?   And if we have a friend or parent or mentor who is honest enough to tell us the truth…we need to thank them…and then turn from our sin and keep growing.  Because otherwise we are parading along on the beach, thinking we have covered our flaws so spectacularly…when really we haven’t fooled anyone.

James 1:22-25


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