Summary: A message about how a Christian can be mugged by the mirror, and have an inaccurate assessment of their worth.

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Continuing in our series entitled Identity Theft. As you may recall from last week… the fastest growing crime in America is Identity Theft… a means by where who we are is taken by another. But of course our identity is far more than our credit card number or bank account. And in truth… the real danger of identity theft is losing who God created us to be. So we are looking at what can steal our ultimate identity… and how to reclaim it.

I want to begin this final part of our time this morning by asking you a question: What do you see in the mirror? What do you see when you look in the mirror?

There is a bit of awkwardness when it comes to the topic of looking in the mirror… it’s a moment that connects a bit to our very personal self image… it can be that point in which we all face a bit of vanity… as well as insecurity.

It’s part of our trying to figure out our identity. I have a 3 year old son… he doesn’t worry a lot about what he looks like. I have a seven year old daughter who just got a new doll for Christmas… and I feel I have to remind her often that she is more beautiful than any doll in the world. Why? Because I see comparison creeping in… trying to define her. I also have an adolescent son…who at times takes longer looks in the mirror… becoming more self conscious. I feel for him. I feel with him… wondering if I look strange or cool… wondering where I fit in the strange world of attractions.

We all want to say ‘’’whatever… I don’t care too much how I look… but I think it’s often more a way of dismissing or defending what may be felt. I think there is a piece within all of us that desires to look good and struggles with insecurity about our looks. That’s why we try to pick the right clothes, work out, diet, and such.

If you’re a guy who’s spent some time at the gym… you may have had a moment when you see those muscles… pumping the iron… and think “man… I’m ripped”…. Then along comes a guy who starts pumping 4 times that level of weight with a body to match… and you think “I’m not ripped, I’m ripped off!” Your ego goes from beefcake to cupcake.

Before we ever look in that mirror again… I think we need to assess the mirror itself.

Much of what we see in that mirror is what we are told to see…. what we are told about our bodily form.

What we experience when we look in the mirror… when we consider how relate our bodily form to how we feel… is shaped by our culture. Our culture is obsessed with our bodily form.

We’re consumed w/ our outward appearance. Did you know…

• Americans spent $20 billion last year on cosmetics and $2 billion on hair care products?

• They spent an additional $74 billion spent on dieting needs.

• This year some 7.4 million people will undergo cosmetic surgery; 5 out of 6 are women.

We live in an image obsessed culture – and it is only getting worse!

The world watches as America went from its array of beauty pageants to a new era of cultural shows such as: Extreme Makeover, Dr. 90210, I Want a Famous Face, and the Swan

The success of these latest shows reveals that millions of people are focused on what is staring back at them when they look into a mirror.

Now of course there is a healthy appreciation for physical beauty and caring for our bodies and appearance. God is a God of beauty and creativity and aesthetics. He created a world that is full of beauty and wonder.

The problem is not about appreciating beauty but our associating it with love and worth.

The problem is not about caring about our appearance… but connecting it to the love… to the need for unfailing love.

The problem is this…

The mirror is not just a mirror when our inner interpretation is distorted by false correlations, imposed with comparisons, driven by misguided obsessions, and deceived by distortions that wrongly define what we see.

Consider the way that comparison has been imposed upon what we see…

If I see a yellow flower… we might say I see a thing of beauty. But if it is forced to be seen only next to a multicolored wonder… then what once could have been looked upon with wonder for it’s own beautiful merits… could now be redefined by words like plain… bland… small… and such.

> I suggest it happens with every magazines turn of the page… every minute of popular television… every time we go shopping. Comparison is being imposed upon us… interpreting what we see.

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