I scrolled through thousands of photos on my phone this week, reminiscing over the past year. There were pictures that brought joy to me and some that brought up things that made my heart ache. They reminded me of sweet moments and some that were more sour. Moments of celebration and moments of hurt.
As I scrolled, they reminded me of God’s goodness toward my family in 2022. I stopped to reflect on our first day at Washed Away and how God brought my dream to life. I reflected on pictures of my nieces playing overwhelmed with gratitude at the way God rescued their momma from cancer.
I scrolled through milestone moments, like our daughter turning 16, our youngest son becoming a teenager, and our oldest son beginning his senior year of high school. I can’t help but be overwhelmed with God's goodness in my reflection of 2022.
When I finally stopped scrolling and had picked a few pictures to post to social media about our year in review, a thought hit me about what I can't see in a photo.
And it has me wondering what is happening behind that smile in your photos. What’s happening deep beneath the surface, in our hearts. What are we believing? And what is being reflected on the outside? Our character is a direct reflection of our heart.
So, let's reflect.
What reflection did the world see when you didn’t get the promotion?
When you found out about the affair?
When you had the affair?
When your kids refused to listen?
When you burned dinner?
When your spouse didn’t meet your expectations.
When they talked behind your back?
When your life was crumbling around you?
Genesis 1:27a (CSB) says this, “So God created man in his own image; he created him in the image of God…” and 2 Corinthians 3:18 (CSB) says, “We all, with unveiled faces, are looking as in a mirror at the glory of the Lord and are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory; this is from the Lord who is the Spirit.”
Our reflection, our character, should look like that of our heavenly Father. Jesus is our example. And as His followers we don't get to carry around unforgiveness, hate, chaos, anger, grumpiness, malice toward our brothers and sisters, or harshness. But Galatians 5 reminds us that when we are of the spirit when we put on Christ Jesus and in doing so, we wear HIS character and His likeness. We will bear fruit that looks like HIS fruit.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. — Galatians 5:22-23 (CSB)
I don’t know about you, but as I reflect on my past year, there are some things I wish I had handled more like Jesus. Maybe you relate. Perhaps there are some apologies in order. Or maybe you deserve a gold star for your Christlikeness. Whatever the case, I want to challenge your heart today to keep chasing Jesus. Chase Him until you catch Him and you will begin to look more like Jesus and less like you.
Happy New Year, friend. Blessings to you in 2023.
Cassie Downs, formerly of the Ellsinore area, is a speaker, author of Chasing Jesus, a 60 day devotional, and founder of Everyday Jesus Ministry. Connect with Cassie on Facebook, Instagram, or online at cassiedowns.com.