Ah, spring cleaning! From the various blogs I frequent, I gather that some of us are in various stages of beginning that annual endeavor which, for many, seems to usher in spring breezes and chase the last of the winter "blahs" away. Even those still buried under snow piles outside may be working through the clutter piles inside, clearing the way for the spring sunbeams.
This year my spring cleaning is serving a dual purpose, as we have decided to put our house on the market. This is not just a time of cleaning and straightening, but also of purging and staging. I am seeing my home with new eyes! One of the selling tips I read recently was to clear as many horizontal spaces as possible. This has been a huge challenge for me, as my home has many, many horizontal spaces, and they are quite, um, cluttered. Not just with knicknacks, but also with pictures. As I have been packing away some of what makes our house personal, I have been lovingly wrapping and boxing up my many framed photos.
I have loved looking at each picture and being transported momentarily back to the time and place where it was taken, my thoughts reflecting on the faces of those who mean so much to me. I have also enjoyed looking at each of the frames. You see, I love collecting fun, unique frames. The first place I head in a discount store is usually to the frame section. Often the frames I buy reflect the type of photo I’m going to put in them; whimsical ones for pictures of the kids or classy, gold ones for wedding photos. For some of our travel photos or pictures of missionary friends I have found frames that have an international flair from a certain country. Our beach pictures are framed with seashells. Some frames reflect the theme or decor of the room in which they are placed. My frames are as different as the photos they contain.
Wouldn't it be strange if I had all those frames displayed around my home, but without pictures inside them? If I simply bought the frame for the frame's sake, and didn’t use it for the purpose it was intended- to frame something? Or wouldn't it be odd if the people who came over to my home looked at all of my frames and commented on them, but took no notice of the pictures?
Each of us, if we are in Christ, is a frame. We are here as a platform for which to draw attention to God, to glorify Him. We are all as different as the frames in my home- some of us are whimsical, some are classy, some are "talking frames" (have you seen those?) some of us have an international flair. (Some days I feel like one of my discount store frames-- "half off!") Each of us has been sovereignly chosen and placed in our given locations to showcase God, to glorify Him. To try to draw attention to ourselves would be like a frame trying to detract from the photo. To be devoid of drawing attention to God's glory in our lives would be like a frame sitting on a shelf with no photo, not fulfilling its purpose.
Picture frames have it easy, though. They just have to sit there. How do we, as "living frames" show off, or glorify, God? I once heard someone quote a simple definition that Charles Ryrie gave on what it means to glorify God: "Glorifying God is anything that makes God seen." This really helped me to understand what it means to bring glory to Him. What are some things we can do to make God seen?
Praise and worship. "Ascribe to the LORD the glory due His name; worship the LORD in the splendor of His holiness." (Psalm 29:2)
"He who sacrifices thank offerings honors Me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God." (Psalm 50:23) There are many ways to incorporate praise into our days, and a life of praise always keeps the focus where it should be.
Doing good works and serving others. "In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." (Matthew 5:16) God is good, kind, and holy. Our good, kind, and holy actions show others what God is like.
Any activity, done in a God-honoring way. "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." (1 Cor. 10:31) Even the most simple, ordinary things can be done in a way that glorifies God, or makes Him seen. (In fact, a good indicator that I might not need to engage in a certain activity is if it cannot be done to the glory of God.)
There is freedom in being the frame. We are free from being the focus. If it's not about me, it’s not up to me. (Whew!) What an honor it is to be a lovingly crafted vessel for showing off God to a world so desperately in need of Him. There is rest in knowing that wherever we are, we've been sovereignly placed where we are for that very purpose. (We're never "just sitting on a shelf!")
Whatever our designs, we’ve been given a wonderful calling and a holy purpose. Let's "make God seen" today!