Recently, God has been speaking to me about how we see the world. He told me that we all perceive the world through what He called “dirty windows”. We all have mental and emotional filters through which we see and experience the world. Events, people, and experiences often color our interpretations of what is happening to us today, perhaps deeply affecting our responses. These responses erode the authenticity of who we truly are. Consequently, others do not see and experience the genuine person. These dirty windows illustrate our “flesh”, our “old man”. So how can we lay aside the “old man” and respond as Jesus would, seeing them through His eyes? He gives us a clear command to do so:
“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” ~ Matthew 5:16 NASB
Paul speaks of struggling with his flesh even though he is in Christ.
“For what I am doing I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that Law is good. So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me…..but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members.”~Romans 7: 15-17; 22-23 NASB
God also promises that He changes us:
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” II Corinthians 5:17 NASB
Discernment is a gift of the Holy Spirit. Every person is given some discernment, just as they are given a measure of faith. Through prayer and daily practicing the Presence of Jesus, we gain the wisdom to differentiate between our “dirty window” responses and His voice. In my own life, I have found that the more I practice sitting in His presence, the better I can respond in His love, direction, and even gentle rebuke. Why? Because His approach, His words, His ideas, His devotion to His people override my own thoughts, feelings, and “old man”. It cleans up my dirty windows so people can see who I truly am in Christ and experience Him more fully through their interactions with me.
One more thing to remember: We are to be compassionate with ourselves as well as other people. Yahweh is the God of forgiving infinite times, patience, love, and understanding that we are but dust. Growth takes time. It’s mostly three steps forward and two steps back.
“Just as a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him. For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust.”~ Psalm 103: 13-14 NASB
How do your experiences with God guide you to act with His love toward others in authentic ways, despite your flesh?