God’s mercy to us in Jesus puts a new filter on how we see ourselves and others.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.
Instagram. It’s really popular. There’s something about sticking a filter on your rather ordinary photos and sticking them up on the internet for people you don’t know to look at that people really love. Especially, people like to take an ordinary photo of themselves, put a filter on it, and stick it up for everyone to look at. When I read these verses in Romans just now, Instagram filters came to mind. It makes me think of the filters we see ourselves through and see others through. When I consider my abilities and qualities I’m not particularly kind to myself always, but when I think of my morality and goodness it’s really easy to see myself through a rose coloured filter. But when I look at others, I see them through a poo coloured filter. I think I do this because I use myself as the measure of goodness and rightness – pride. That filter always makes my selfies come up pretty shiny but pictures of other people tend to look dark and gross.
But in Romans Paul’s just spent 11 chapters applying a different filter to our pictures of ourselves and others – the gospel of God’s mercy. We see things in view of God’s mercy. View things through the salvation we’ve received completely by grace. Our minds are renewed from the way our world thinks about things; now we see Jesus as the measure of goodness and rightness, not ourselves.
In view of God’s mercy I’ll consider myself with sober judgement. Not be down on myself but seeing that I stand only by God’s mercy to me, celebrating and rejoicing in that. And therefore giving myself to serve others instead of lifting myself above them.
Head: What does God’s mercy teach you about what’s good and right?
Heart: Does God’s mercy produce joy or sorrow in your heart? Why do you think that is?
Hands: Think of someone you’ll encounter today or this week who you feel judgemental about. In view of God’s mercy to you, what is one thing you could do (to begin with!) to show them mercy the next time you see them?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I thank you so much for your incredible mercy to me. May it transform my thinking, by the power of your Spirit, so that I don’t keep following the world’s pattern of exalting myself but instead exalt Jesus as I love, serve and show mercy to others in his name. I ask this in Jesus’ Name, Amen.
A song to listen to: Made Alive