You vs. You 

Tameka Jackson

James 1: 22-24 (NIV) 
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 
Often, I read the Word, have my daily devotion, go to Bible study and Sunday morning service, but I forget what my face looks like. Recently, I invested some money in cosmetics products for my face, because I have suffered with acne since puberty, which has left my face with many blemishes. Well after I put on one layer of foundation, I still could see the blemishes. I had to put on several layers, before I could see the flawless tone I had wished to attain. I have always believed make-up was supposed to enhance your natural features, not create a whole new face. I am a pretty natural person, so the idea of piling make-up on, was not feasible for me. As a result, I took a trip to the dermatologist, who prescribed some vigorous medicine. My face went through many transitions: it peeled, ached, and burned. If I used other products on my face, I had to be very careful, because too much sun or a strong cleanser could do severe damage. For example, every two or three weeks, I visit the nail salon to get my eyebrows waxed. Well, I did not take into consideration that hot wax could also cause damage. As a result, I left with burnt eyebrows. 

I relate this whole ordeal to my process of finding out what I really look like. During this season of my life, God has me taking a strategic and thorough examination of myself. He showed me how I go through these mundane make-up routines, applying all this make-up to cover up my bad skin or my bad personality, bad attitude, bad motives, and wrong spirit. Reading my Bible; but nothing changing; quoting scriptures and not living them; pointing out other people's blemishes, and putting make-up on mine. It is much easier to see somebody else's face, because it takes the attention off of yours. Most of the time, the thing we hate in others is resident in us. I have let many down, because I was too immature and irresponsible to handle their flaws, because I was trying to cover my own. 

The "real" meand the “me” I portray to be are not the same. The 'me' we portray to be is only an illusion – there is no mirror in front of us, so we make up what we want people to see. We dress nice, act wholesome and put on a front to avoid looking in our own mirror. But one day, the mask comes down and you are forced to see who you really are. When we are forced to look in our own mirror, it is when God is not going to let us fool ourselves anymore. We cannot wear makeup with Him, he made us, so he knows every detail, but he still loves us. Although we may forget what the face in the mirror looks like, he surely knows. God says true worshippers – true - come to him in spirit and in truth. John 4:23 -- for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. Not like the Pharisee – Lord, look at all I have done, I fast and I tithe. I'm even in the temple praying to you. Thank you Lord for not making me so weak, like those people – Thank you Lord for making me superior – Yeah, thanks God; you're awesome. Luke 18:9-14 (author's paraphrase) He looked down on that tax collector, but if you have ever been in a broken situation, a place where God shows you who you really are, there is no room to look down on anyone. A reality check should kick in and remind us where we came from, who delivered us from that place and who KEEPS us. To tell the truth, it doesn't matter how much you read the Bible, go to church or how many works you do, it is only by his grace and mercy that we can do anything. Once we realize that we are only a thin line between the person we claim to be and the person we look down on, judgment goes out the window. 

This battle is so important, because it is when God can really manifest Himself in us. Upon realizing who you are, then we should want to get to the root of our problem. Going to the dermatologist in the natural and going to God in the spiritual. Bad skin or character needs to be dealt with, not made over. 

We started out talking about the mirror and who the battle is really with, but now we are going to end with how to win the battle. It is all about denying yourself, killing your will, hearing the truth about you, killing the you that you want to be and portray, accepting the you that you are and allowing God to put you on the potter's wheel to hew you out, reshape and mold you. Let me just say, this is a continual process and it hurts like no other pain I know. 

Matthew 16:24 quotes, Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." A spiritual death of the flesh is good, because then Christ can live. The road to dying to you is hard, but attainable. He can then be all He is in us, then our testimony can be – It's no longer I that live, but Christ that lives in me. Galatians 2:20.