On a trip to Rome, my husband and I found great entertainment sitting outside the Coliseum watching tourist pose for pictures. Gone are the days when you simply smiled and tried not to blink. We saw every kind of stance, head tilt, arm placement, knee and hip angle you could imagine—and I won’t even get started on the lip puckers.
Some of our favorites were the “joy jumping” poses. These people would spend forever repeatedly jumping until the unlucky friend with the iPhone captured the just right moment. I’m sorry, but having my picture made shouldn’t be a cardio event.
I did wonder, though, if they had any concept of the historical treasure in the background. Whatever they thought of it, they were determined to capture a moment that looked like they were overcome by joy from the experience. Posing instead of just being.
Satan loves posers, or more specifically, he loves to convince us we are posers. If Satan can’t make us doubt God, he’ll try to make us doubt ourselves.
The people posing for their enthusiastic pictures felt no guilt for staging their displays of strong emotion.
Unfortunately, as Christians, we have an enemy who loves to heap on the guilt.
And it goes something like this…
We surrender something—our life to the Lord or maybe our right to hold a grudge—and Satan whispers in our ear that we didn’t really mean it. He wants us to doubt our sincerity or our motives because by doing so he can get us to question our salvation.
Afterall, if we had truly loved God, we wouldn’t still struggle with the thoughts in our heads or the desires in our flesh, right? Fear, doubt, jealousy, and pride would be non-issues if I truly meant what I said when I said to Jesus, right?
It doesn’t take much work on the enemy’s part and pretty soon we’re hearing our own voices say If I really loved God, I wouldn’t have those thoughts. I wouldn’t cringe when I hear that woman’s voice. I wouldn’t be tempted to…you fill in the blank. You know the areas where the enemy comes for you.
The Apostle Paul confesses that “…there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.” (see 2 Corinthians 12:7 emphasis added). Paul doesn’t say what this thorn was or how it tormented him, and there are all sorts of speculation. But I don’t think it was an issue of physical pain. Paul’s body had endured so much physical abuse, I can’t imagine him not being in almost constant pain or discomfort. And he certainly wouldn’t have referred to it as a mere thorn in his flesh. I think there may have been something deeper, something that touched his soul.
Did he have doubts? About his purpose? His salvation? His faith?
Was it the thing that prompted him to also confess, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do”? (see Romans 7:15)
We don’t know, but we can take comfort in knowing Paul, who as Saul had an extremely intimate encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus, still struggled with something that Satan had access to and attempted to use to his advantage.
In the passage from 2 Corinthians, Paul goes on to say that he had pleaded with the Lord three times to take it away. “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’”
God says, No, you don’t have to be perfect, never make a mistake, or have a doubt. My grace is sufficient for you.
There are a lot of things I can pose as in this life—a gifted homemaker, erudite author, or the infamous Proverbs 31 woman. But if I have accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, I can never pose as a Christian.
I may be tempted to pose as a flawless Christian who never questions or doubts or fails to love my neighbors. Being a perfect Christian who has it all together should be the first clue it's a pose.
Being a faulty, sometimes wayward, imperfect Christian is the real deal. And I have peace in knowing the gap between my imperfections and the glorious perfection of God is filled with my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Jesus stands in the gap for me every time I fall short.
“My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)
You’ll also never see me posing in the “joy jump.” My insurance deductible is too high.