The Only Mirror That Matters
A devotional by Sarah Cole
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”–1 Samuel 16:7 (NIV)
As a kid, I loved going to the State Fair.
Unlike my friends, it wasn't cotton candy or carnival rides that thrilled me; I was crazy about the house of mirrors. While my parents ate cheese curds and watched the crowds go by, I stood in amazement as my head and body morphed into something out of a poorly written sci-fi movie. It was wildly entertaining, but it didn't reflect the real me.
When I hit puberty, I spent countless hours in front of the bathroom mirror trying to find the right combination of clothing, hairstyles, and makeup to gain the acceptance I craved. My dad called it "preening". Dozens of outfits later, I hoped my new look would give me favor with the "in'' crowd. Sadly, I was mistaken.
Unlike our Heavenly Father, humans are fickle, aren't they? The right appearance or performance this week doesn’t guarantee the acceptance our souls crave the next.
The good news is that in God's eyes our worth is a settled issue, and we don’t have to do anything to earn it. In the first chapter of Ephesians, Paul tells us that in Christ we are chosen, blameless, predestined, redeemed, and forgiven (Ephesians 1:4-8). Isn’t this great news? When we rest in His perfect love, we can enjoy our lives and celebrate our identity as children of the King.
But Satan doesn’t give up without a fight. He holds up a variety of mirrors to lure us away from God's unconditional love, hoping we'll look to the world instead for fleeting acceptance.
The mirror of popular culture shines brightly on every magazine rack. Each glossy page bombards us with beauty we can only dream of having. Pop star icons, entrepreneurs, and politicians whose powerful careers we can't compete with take up our thoughts. This peddles Satan's lie that beauty and performance define our worth. But it leaves out the fact that addiction, promiscuity, and broken lives run rampant among the rich and famous people in this world.
The mirror of social media needs no introduction. Gazing into it too often can lead us to become envious or competitive and can keep us from enjoying real relationships. The enemy whispers the lie that our friends have happier, more successful lives based on a snapshot in time. Yet these posts don't reveal the entire picture—just as someone's appearance doesn't tell us who they really are! God created us each to be unique masterpieces, so there is no need for comparison. When He created each of us, He broke the mold.
Finally, there's the rear-view mirror! I imagine that if we ask anyone on the street if they have a regret or two, the answer would be “yes.” However, in God's eyes, it doesn't matter how much we think we've messed up. We’re all on a level playing field when it comes to making mistakes and as humans, we can’t escape them. Thankfully, God forgives and forgets them all. He is a God of grace, and His mercies are new each morning.
When God’s Son (Jesus Christ) died, He not only paid our sin penalty in full; He also broke the curse of sin and death, and His resurrection makes it possible for us to dwell in His presence forever. We can stop striving for acceptance because we are already perfect in His eyes.
So, in the pursuit of what truly defines us, God's Word (The Holy Bible) is the only mirror that isn't distorted. When we look into God’s mirror, His ageless truths reflect to us our true worth as one of His dearly loved children!
Let’s Pray: Dear Father God, thank You for the acceptance You lavish on us. You have created us each to be a masterpiece, unique in our calling and giftedness. As we follow You, help us to give ourselves grace, and honor you in all that we do. In Jesus’s Name we pray. Amen.
Sarah Cole’s interest in writing began in grade school when her poem was published in the local paper. As she got older, her mother’s chronic illness inspired her to design a line of greeting cards. Since then, she has written for her college newspaper and two community newspapers where she wrote restaurant reviews and articles for their “Best of” spread.
Her experience as an administrator in the marketing field gave her the opportunity to write ads for a local business journal.
After a 20-year detour and a three-year season of adversity, God reignited her passion to write. Two divine appointments later, the short story she wrote about her father appeared in the St. Paul Almanac, and a short story about her cocker spaniel Gigi was published in Guideposts (magazine) Mysterious Ways. She believes her adversity was worth the lessons God taught her.
During this year (2022) and the next (2023), Sarah’s devotionals will be published in The Secret Place by Judson Press, as well as David C. Cook’s Devotions and The Quiet Hour. To this day, she smiles, pinches herself and gives God all the glory.
When she’s not writing, Sarah enjoys watching cooking shows, designing cards and mugs, and taking day trips.
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