If you haven’t figured this out yet, I have a serious geek streak.
I loved Calculus and I think Chemistry and Physics jokes are hilarious. I have several friends who make the guys on The Big Bang Theory seem normal.
And if that wasn’t enough, I love fantasy and science fiction.
I could watch Star Wars, Firefly, The Matrix, and The Lord of the Rings on a continuous loop.
In the story world of The Matrix, earth has been taken over by machines and they have enslaved the human race. Every now and then, someone is “freed” to live in the real world.
The real world is grimy and messy. They eat gruel and wear rags.
But when they enter the matrix? They are so cool.
Black leather. Trench coats. Sunglasses.
It turns out that when they enter the matrix, their bodies remain in the real world. But their minds project a digital image, and that’s what is seen.
Hang in there, I’m getting to the point.
Because I do the same thing.
I stand in front of my mirror and see all my flaws. I see the body that carried three babies and the shadows under eyes that spend far too little time closed.
But as soon as I get away from the mirror I’m incapable of seeing myself accurately. My “digital projection” is a Size 6 with perfect hair. She also wears cute clothes and I don’t mind telling you that I wish she was real!
I do the same thing when it comes to my heart.
I sit in church and I’m overwhelmed with my own sin and the enormity of God’s grace. I worship and proclaim “You’re all I want—You’re all I need—You are all my heart desires—you’re everything to me.”
But as soon as I get back into the real world . . . I want what I want and I want it now. My sin doesn’t seem all that bad. And I act like God’s grace is something I deserve.
The real world is grimy and messy.
I am grimy and messy.
And if I stay away from the mirror of God’s word, I can carry on, blissfully ignorant of the flaws in the real me.
But when I take a look, I see pettiness, pride, doubt, and anger. It’s not cute and I wish it wasn’t real.
Wishing never changed anything. But repentance—turning away from me and turning to Him—is the way we make progress in the Christian life.
I used to think that someday I would arrive—that I would mess up less often, so I wouldn’t need to repent as much.
But the opposite is true.
The more I grow, the more I see my sin, so the more I repent, so the more I grow, so the more I see my sin, so the more I repent…and on it goes.
Tim Keller says it this way…"The more you see your own flaws and sins, the more precious, electrifying, and amazing God’s grace appears to you. But on the other hand, the more aware you are of God’s grace and acceptance of Christ, the more able you are to drop your denials and self-defenses and admit the true dimensions of your sin."
It’s been huge for me—to see repentance in this way.
What about you? Are you still waiting to arrive and frustrated by how far your real self is from the one you try to project—from the one you truly want to be?
Could I invite you to remember that you are beloved? You are accepted. There is nothing you can do to make God love you more and nothing you can do to make God love you less.
Whatever it is…repent. Turn away from yourself.
Turn back to Him.
You’ll find joy waiting.
Psalm 51:10, 12 ~ Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me…Restore unto me the Joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. (ESV)