Thursday, September 6, 2012

September 4: In Someone Else's Eyes

Sorry for the break!  Here's this week...

A few months ago my daughter knocked out one of my teeth.  Or rather she hit my mouth with a jaw crunching head-bash that it fractured one of my teeth and left it unrepairable.  Since that time I’ve been walking around without one of my front teeth while awaiting a less organic replacement.  The dentist offered to wire in a temporary solution but I thought I’d be fine, after all I’m hardly vain…am I? 

It turns out I am.  I feel very different without my tooth and you won’t find a smiling photo of me over the last few months.  I’ve always thought I had a nice smile but toothless I feel a bit like a pirate!

It reminded me how much I care what others think of me, even if I like to pretend that I don’t.  I was reading a reflection, written by Lance Clack, on the temptation of Jesus recently and I realised that this obsession with how we are seen by others is deeply human.  So much so that Satan thought he could use it against Jesus. “If you are the Son of God,” Satan baits Jesus, “tell these stones to become bread” (Matthew 4 v 3).  And again in verse 6  “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:

“‘He will command his angels concerning you,
    and they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”

Lance Clack reflected, “How often do we allow priorities to be skewed by the feeling that we must prove to others or ourselves who we are or that God loves us? Jesus, secure in His identity, refused to take the bait.”

How come Jesus didn’t take the bait?  How come it didn’t throw him that Satan so directly attempted to attack his identity?  Why did Jesus not care what Satan thought of him?  Maybe it comes from what happened before this temptation.  At his baptism, just before going into the wilderness, Jesus has this experience –

“As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him.  And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3 v 16-17).

Jesus knew who he was to God and it steadied him when he was to face attack after attack from others about his identity and value.  When I start to feel insecure, when I’m tempted to ‘allow priorities to be skewed by the feeling that [I] must prove to others’ (or myself) who I am, I need to stop and go back to the source.  To find in God that I am so loved, just as I am, that he counts even the hairs on my head (Matthew 10 v 30).

1 comment: