“I try to drink the beer rather than just the pump clip” said beardy Mike, my friend who runs the local pub.
Many people will choose a beer not based on what it tastes like but rather on the marketing plan around the pump clip, is it eye catching and memorable? Often an average beer can sell well because of its presentation, and a great beer is over-looked because of its lack of showy presentation, it’s only a real CAMRA (CAMpaign for Real Ale) buff that knowledgable about beers than can look past the label, the pump clip, and choose a great pint.
It made me think of how as human beings we often are a bit like beer pump clips, try and put on a brave face, a good show. Often what people see is far removed from what people get. In some ways we all put on masks to show the world.
Yet The prophet Samuel said that “people look on the outward appearance but the Lord looks at the heart”. God knows the real beer rather than being fool by a fancy clip.
We live in a superficial world, where the external is often valued above the internal, where breadth often matters more than depth, which is the opposite of how Gods Kingdom world.
The world maybe impressed with our rhetoric, dazzled by the stuff we encircle ourselves with, the the wit and wisdom of our facebook posts yet God sees right through all of this and sees the heart of things.
The problem is sometimes we end up “believing our own press” or as a self protection mechanism become self deluded and choosing to turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to self awareness.
Yet, God sees us above our brave faces and bravado, God sees us beneath our smiles, and knows who we really are, the “the we that we try to hide”, the parts of us we don’t like or even to acknowledge, the areas we try to govern he knows us better than we know ourselves, he knows the dark corners and the deep scars in our hearts, he knows the sin and the brokenness lurking within each one of us.
I think as we get ready to face a new year knowing God knows us through and through, knowing he loves us, knowing he’s for us and not against us, know too he is our healer and specialises in restoration, know too that he can see within us beauty and potential we may have missed –knowing what we and he can do together-.
The problem is not that God knows us, it’s not about being “honest to God” but rather honest with ourselves before him.
Although he knows us fully we need to give him permission to access all areas of our hearts and minds, just as the Holman Hunt picture shows the handle on the inside, God in his grace asks our permission to come through the various doors and areas of our life, knocking as he does on the door, heeding his voice, and opening the door (Rev.3:20).
He will bring his light into any shadowy or dark areas of our lives but only if we invite him too. As Graham Kendrick wrote in Shine Jesus Shine “search me, try me, consume all my darkness” or as the Psalmist writes “search my O God and know my heart and see if there is any offensive way in me” (Ps.139).
Allowing ourselves to see ourselves with Gods eyes is a brave step of faith and also one of surrender, where we have to deal with uncomfortable truths of our sin and fallenness.
Sometimes requiring us to open up those firmly sealed doors behind which lurk pain and hurt that scream out through so many areas of our lives but we often keep their control room locked and bolted and letting our gentle God, the God of all comfort, let his healing and restoring gracious spirit minister to that place of pain by visiting it together with us holding our hand and dealing with it together with us.
To allow God to see us and help us to step up -or step out- into the new things that he has in store for us, the things we don’t thing we can do on our own or by ourselves. Knowing God is for us and not against us, knowing that he chooses to work in partnership with his fallible and broken creation.
Know that God is a healer, who loves us whose plans are to “prosper us and not to harm us, plans to give us a hope and a future” and know that he wants the best for us, know that with all that hurts, causes fear and is broken within us can be laid at the foot of Christ’s cross knowing he can be trusted with all that is within us if we are brave enough to let go of it and give it to him.
The phrase that prompted this article was hearing Coldplays song “Fix You”… My prayer is that will be our experience of the healing restorative power of Christ “fixing us”…
And in letting Christ work in us we may show a much better and more beautiful “Pump Clip” to the world.