There is a craze in the makeup world called contouring. For all my male readers out there it's the process of using make up to shape the structure and outline of facial and body features to create the illusion of something else - smaller cheeks, fuller eyebrows, bustier chests, the whole nine. Every effort is made to cover up perceived or real inadequacies.
Once I too practiced contouring, but that of a different kind. I tried to shape and structure people's perception of me. Throughout high school I worked hard to cover up secret boyfriends, my run-ins with the 'bad boys' and other discretions. I wanted so badly for people to believe I was good that I cut myself off from the very thing I needed to live right, and that was God's grace.
I was so busy carving out an image for me that the glory due to Him was subverted. Yes, I would repent of my sins, and I did love the Lord and wanted to change, but the access to what I needed from God was stunted by my need to 'keep face'.
Then a church friend of mine shared with me all the woes and wrong turns she had made in her life. As she shared her testimony of God bringing her through and her firm stance on living for Jesus she looked at me and said, "At least you are a good girl, you haven't done anything wrong". I cringed. I knew myself.
I couldn't take pride in such a statement. I thought of all the mess-ups of my own life and I realized that my effort to portray my righteousness was diminishing the saving power of God's grace.
There is "none righteous, no, not one..." is how Romans chapter 3 verse 10 puts it. My righteousness was through faith in Jesus. God's grace benefits a life surrendered, not a life contoured to look surrendered. His grace was sufficient even in my weakness.
My weakness was the approval of man. My security was what others thought of me, rather than what God knew about me and had already forgiven. Unlike the supposed subtlety of contouring, I was not only deceiving others but I was also deceiving myself.
I was successful at creating the image but that didn't matter. God knew what I truly looked like.
How could I share with others that Christ came to save sinners if I acted as if I didn't need a Saviour? Yes, I was called to live holy, but like Paul I needed to let others see that in my weakness My Saviour was strong. I
t is Christ that gives me everything I need for life and godliness. What a freeing truth that was and continuously is for me. I no longer make an effort to hide my mess.
Instead I strive for holiness and I share my struggles and my victories because truly we "overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony."
Stacy-Ann Smith - is a child therapist. She is involved with youth and children's ministry and has a heart to work with young women teaching them the ways of the Lord. She serves as a board member of the Kingston and St. Andrew Foster Parent's Association. See her other blogs at aleatoires85.wordpress.com
Stacy-Ann Smith's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/stacy-ann-smith.html