PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• In our selfie-crazed world, oh how we love a good filter.
Filters are no longer limited to graphic artists and professional photographers…
Our smartphone cameras have a whole host of options.
Not to mention, easy-to-use apps that can touch up and recolor.
I have a lot of graphics apps downloaded to my phone so I can make social media images, so I tend to get bombarded with advertising for other apps on Facebook…
(You know how Facebook is always lurking in the background and will take your curiosity about one thing… Then suddenly, that one thing has a strong, recurring presence in your newsfeed as a sponsored suggestion?)
I can’t remember the name of it, but there’s one app that I’m shown regularly that disturbs me quite a bit.
The app’s promotion is sometimes an image of a woman, sometimes a man, but either way—the amount of filtering, editing, and reshaping boils down to extreme digital plastic surgery.
At the end, there’s only a trace resemblance to the original photo.
And with these altered images, the person who uses the app can post these pseudo-realistic photos of themselves for the world to see…
And in the process hope that the filters have masked what they want to hide and any imperfections they want to erase.
They’ve filtered out the truth of who they are.
One more story and then we’ll get to the core our devotion.
If you’ve ever seen my Facebook profile picture or my professional headshot on MGFL’s website, you may have noticed that I have a raised, flesh-colored mole on my forehead.
It really used to bother me when I was younger, but as I’ve grown and matured, I accept that it’s just a part of my face.
No big deal.
But one of the very first headshots I had taken when I was in my late 20s—the photographer digitally removed the mole.
I had come to terms with it by that point, so I got quite mad at her for removing it.
I demanded that she put it back because I had spent years coming to terms with it.
It’s on my face, and it’s a part of what I look like.
But even in the midst of my mini-meltdown, the insecurities of my past were there, tempting me.
I wondered again if I should have it removed…
I wondered again if people noticed it and whispered about it…
The insecurities eventually shut up and again, I have come to make friends with the mole that used to bother me so much.
So all that to ask you—what filters are you using?
When we try to walk around filtering our looks, filtering our experiences and relationships as compared to the “perfection” we see on Instagram and Facebook…
It’s all an illusion.
We feel like we have to filter the realness of who we are and what we believe in order to keep up with the altered standards set by the world.
And sure, while my current headshot has been edited, my amazing photographer (not the same one from the earlier story) works hard to highlight who I am naturally.
She knows I don’t wear makeup, so she doesn’t try to add it.
Her edits boil down to color correction and making sure flyaway hairs are smoothed down.
I admit that every now and then, I’ve asked her to edit about 30 lbs away, but the images she’s done that with—I’m never happy with them.
Because they aren’t truth.
Those 30 lbs are going to have to come off the old fashioned way and only then will I be able to see those photos and be pleased.
Because then, it will be truth.
If I can ever make it to the treadmill…
That’s a different topic though…
I’m not wholly against filters when it comes to photography, but the real meat and potatoes of this post is about the filters of life.
The filters of who we are as Christians and what we believe.
The Bible, as the authentic Word of God, is truly the only filter we need.
While we’re tempted to filter morals and issues by the world’s standards, the only true filter is to run those standards of who we are, as well as morals and issues through what God has to say on the subject.
And by filtering, I mean true study of the Word and the context.
We can’t just randomly take words and twist them to our purpose.
We have to contextually keep God’s word true to what He means, not what we want Him to mean.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
Notice it says, “every good work.”
There is literally no topic that cannot be handled through the filter of God’s word.
While some issues may not be verbatim in Scripture, God can show us answers on any topic through prayer and study.
It may make us unpopular.
Some may look at us and wonder, “Why does she act like that? It’s weird plus there’s a mole right there in the middle of her face.”
That’s okay too.
The world’s opinion of us as Christians doesn’t matter.
The world may judge us as weird, but it’s not their judgment that matters in the end.
And as many have said and I raise my hand in agreement — “I would rather stand with God and be judged by the world than stand with the world and be judged by God.”
And standing in the truth of God’s word requires the filter of His truth.
A filter that runs red with the blood of Jesus Christ, but makes every image white as snow.
Because His filter of truth brings with it grace, mercy, and wholeness.
It brings restoration and makes us new.
And that filter brings out the greatest beauty that we can’t even begin to put into words but can bring anyone to their knees in gratitude.
It’s the very filter that will one day bring this verse to reality — “so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:10-11).
Today, as you pray, thank Jesus for His filter of truth.
Ask the Holy Spirit to help you apply the filter of God’s truth to who you are and in every situation you face.
And in case you need a reminder…
Mole or not, whatever your physical attributes and perceived flaws, you are uniquely made by God.
You are beautiful as He made you.
Embrace the uniqueness that is your God-given gift.