Why Jesus is the filtering tool we need

One of my favorite family pictures was taken about 12 years ago.  In the picture, my husband, my kids & myself are all walking in a park, holding hands & the photographer took the picture behind us so it looks like we are out on a sweet family walk.  The funny thing is, every time I look at that picture, I think about the fact that you can’t see our faces or hear what was going on.  

When the picture was taken, my kids were arguing, I was yelling at them, somewhat under my breath & my husband kept saying “kids, listen to mom”.

I feel like it’s a beautiful photo with an ugly story.  Everyone’s hair was done perfectly & we were all dressed in coordinating clothes & the photographer, who was really good, edited the picture & gave the photo a soft, dreamy look by filtering the image with photo editing tools to make all the colors come alive.  

Recently, as when I looked at this image in a frame on a small table in my hallway, the circumstances surrounding this picture got me to thinking about the pictures of my every day life & the pictures I see of other peoples lives.  It’s so easy to get trapped in a mindset that everyone else’s life actually reflects the small, photoshopped images I can see & that mine should too. 

Filters on pictures are a big thing right now.  Being able to take a simple photo & make it look like a work of art can be kind of fun.   As my thoughts were absorbed in pictures & filters I began to wonder… what if Jesus was the filter I used on every photo of my life?

What if in every situation, I took a picture in my mind & let Jesus be the filter over it?  

Suppose that instead of being offended by someone who said something I misunderstood, I re-filtered that image through Jesus.  Or instead of assuming my family took me for granted because they didn’t thank me for something I did, I laid Jesus over that situation as a filter.  What if when my co-worker snaps at me, I let the character & power of Jesus make the situation beautiful?

Overlaying the character of Jesus in all the images we create in our minds will make them beautiful.  Not that the situation necessarily changes, but the image does because our hearts & minds let Him be our focus.  Jesus as our filter creates an image worth displaying.

Just like my favorite family photo, an ugly situation can be made beautiful by using a filter to look at it through what Jesus promises He will do if we just let Him.

Learning to use a filter actually takes a little time & practice.  I have several different photo apps on my phone that I like to use to create fun photos, but each of them have a learning curve.  Learning to let Jesus take control of our life photos takes practice too.  We must not feel like failures if we let Him be our filter in one situation & then forget to use His strength in our lives in the next one.  Jesus wants us to become more like Him & it is a process that He is willing to stick around with us for.  He is completing a good work in us. {Philippians 1:6}

Learning to call upon His filtering power can be strengthened by remembering a few things that will embed His character into our hearts:

It takes Practice - Genuine faith should always be changing us.  Daily decisions about how we behave, like our attitude toward situations, should be constantly refined by Jesus.  We can’t expect to accomplish this one time & then get it right every time.  It is an ongoing, daily laying down of our own flesh to accomplish His eternal purpose in our hearts. {1 Corinthians 15:49, 58}

Jesus must be our Purpose - Our reason for everything must be Jesus.  If it is not, we won’t be successful in the long run.  Difficulties will come & if we are not intentional about filtering those through Jesus, the images forever locked into our hearts & minds will be ugly.  But if we release control to Him & allow His purposes to be accomplished, His grace will turn ashes to beauty. {Colossians 3:23, Romans 8:5}

We must Pursue Him - It’s easy to snap a picture in a situation but it takes intentionality to filter it & make it beautiful.  The same is true with what God calls us to.  Our relationships, in every area of life, will require us to pursue the character of Jesus in our lives in order for them to reflect His beauty.  Time spent in prayer & the Word are crucial to our lives bearing the image of Christ. {Psalm 63:1, Acts 17:27-28}

What circumstances in your life do you need to ask Jesus to be your filter & make things beautiful in His way?


photo filtering