Have you heard of “filters”? If you’ve scrolled through Instagram and have seen a picture of someone who has flawless skin, bright, white teeth, and gleaming sunshine reflecting off their shiny hair, their photo was probably enhanced with a filter. Many apps out there say they have filters to correct features of your face, body, and background that you don’t like before publishing a picture to social media or family.
But I know the secret to the Best Filter, and I’m going to share it with you!
When I was a newlywed, I used to go to bed in full makeup. I felt that I was putting my “best face forward” so to speak. I didn’t know if my new husband was ready to see the “unfiltered” me up close and personal. In fact, I think I wore makeup to bed for several years before I got brave enough to take it off just before “lights out” at night.
I even remember getting up very early one morning to go fishing with my husband, his dad, and brother. What did I bring along for the trip? My makeup bag! And as we drove along the bumpy road down to the boat ramp, I busily applied foundation, mascara, and lipstick. I think my father-in-law actually commented that the fish didn’t care what I looked like.
Why was I so fixated on makeup? Because I didn’t like my pale, freckle-faced skin. Makeup made me feel better. I could camouflage my imperfections and highlight parts of my face that I wanted to emphasize. It made me feel like the real me – the part someone might not like – was hidden from view.
Before 2020, although I sometimes wouldn’t wear makeup around the house, I very rarely went somewhere without putting some on. Not even to go shopping. My years of being a “sun bunny” left my skin blotchy and uneven, and the tiny wrinkles and laugh lines were growing faster than I cared to admit. “No one would want to see that!”, I thought.
Then came the pandemic. I grew accustomed to staying home, and when I did go somewhere, I had a mask on and it rubbed off any makeup I put on. Why bother with eye makeup because wearing a mask made me feel incognito. No one recognized anyone wearing masks anyway.
These days, you typically find me au natural, as far as my face goes. If I’m going somewhere special or will be seeing friends I’ll put on a light amount of makeup, but nothing like the old days. Why? A couple of reasons.
First, I’ve learned that who I am on the inside is what’s important. I’ve come to accept all of me, including the parts I don’t particularly care for. And I don’t need to apply a filter to make myself presentable to others. It’s not their approval that I seek.
But just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts. 1 Thessalonians 2:4 NLT
But the biggest reason? I’ve learned about the Best Filter there is. His name is Jesus. When I became a Christian, I was covered with a spotless, blameless filter. I didn’t earn nor deserve it. Even though all my imperfections are still there, the only one whose approval I seek is my Heavenly Father, and thanks to the blood of Jesus, God no longer sees them.
If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, God sees you through the filter of Jesus, too. This means He no longer sees our past sin, our mistakes, our selfishness, our wrong desires. We are forgiven, clean, His beloved children.
And if we’ll allow Him, He will gradually change us beneath the filter. He isn’t just covering up things, but God is turning a heart full of worldly desires into a heart full of godly desires. A heart of disobedience can become a heart of obedience to God and His will.
I’ll never be flawless in this life, but the way God sees me, it makes me feel that way. And one day, when I pass into the next life, I’ll be like the glorious filter of Jesus Christ.
For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. Romans 3:23-24