The car I went to see yesterday seems like a pretty good deal: Something I can afford: Good re-sale value: Mileage under 100k. And the current owner is willing to negotiate price. But…

But the paint is peeling off the hood. And there are some signs of rust at the tip of the hood too. Now, I know the oxidation could be a safety issue, but that was not what gave me pause. Rather, it was the aesthetics of a car with a delaminating hood that bothered me. I mean, that’s just not a pretty sight!

It’s not so much a question of “what will people think of me?” More a matter of what image I would like to portray to the world…I guess. Once you get beyond caring what people think of you, the next battle is with what you think of yourself. I don’t mean in a healthy self-image kinda way. But I just mean that picture of the self that we want those around us to perceive – whether or not that self is true.

The thought had crossed my mind, before, of how it’s possible for people living in low income neighborhoods to drive relatively new cars. I mean, shouldn’t you be saving to move to a better area?
Yes, it would be logically inconsistent to finance a car that stretches your budget if your priorities are overall upward social mobility. Yet the gratification of immediate positive perception could, at times, override the sensible choice. At times, we choose to be seen as what we are not and, I think we even convince ourselves that if enough people see us this way, we will morph into that. A kinda fake it till you make it mentality.

So we fake holiness…fake our income bracket by what we wear or drive…fake openness by who we associate with…fake kindness by how much we donate…all the time hoping the fakeness will transform us.

It doesn’t.

There’s only One who can transform us. Just like the Ethiopian can’t change his skin and the leopard its spots, pretending to be something we are not is just that – pretending! Nothing more. What we need is a total transformation. Not to be driving a car that makes us look like something, but to be something no matter what we’re driving. And the only One who can effect such a transformation is Jesus.

There may not be a problem with the persona you want to portray. The goal, though, is for you to be that person, not to put up a front. What you need is to be transformed into that likeness.

Here’s the promise of the day, taken from Ezekiel 36:26-27. God says,

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.  And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.”