May 24th, 2017
#iCONVICTION (God's Photo Op!): Cape May County Herald)

(Actual Column Online) You really can't walk a few feet in Disney World without seeing people taking photographs. Cell phones are aimed just about everywhere. Most of those photo ops involve posing in front of a scenic background or a notable ride (Trust me, I'm guilty too!).  Whether it's a giant castle behind you or having Minnie Mouse next to you, there is just something "magical" about capturing the moment ... or is it more about capturing our own likeness?

I'm sorry; this is just how my mind works these days!

Perhaps we love seeing ourselves in a picture because deep down inside we are reminiscing about that which is eternal. Perhaps it's not the external image that we are admiring as much as the internal image that we desire. You see, in the beginning, God placed His image inside of man - "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness" (Genesis 1:26) - placing eternity within our hearts to be a reflection of His majesty. Thus, it is the spiritual glamor that we are so desperately trying to (re)capture - the joy, the peace, the sense of happiness. Yet we stop so short. We stop at a "selfie" or an "Instagram opportunity." And then we stare at it as if it can help us live life better or experience life fuller.

There is nothing wrong with taking pictures or capturing moments, that's not what I'm saying. But I am proposing that the picture that is perfect is the one that God sees when He captures His likeness in the frame of our hearts. You see, Jesus is God's "selfie" to the world. And when the "selfie" of God gets inside of you, then God stops and looks at Himself too. No matter how many pictures we take of ourselves and no matter how many times we look at ourselves to admire ourselves, to convince ourselves that our life is meaningful, God has already captured His image by creating us. So perhaps that is the way we should view ourselves - "in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them" (Genesis 1:27).

Next time you take a picture and post it for others to see your visage, consider how God made you His "picture" and "posted" you in this world for others to see His image. Now that's magical ... actually, that's what makes us eternal and a picture perfect part of God's photo op!

ED. NOTE: Matthew Maher is a former professional athlete and author of the books "U MAY B THE ONLY BIBLE SOMEBODY READS: R U LEGIBLE?" & “Imprisoned by Peace”. His “Decisions Determine Destiny” assemblies are funded by State Farm and service youth in the tristate area. He is the president of Soldiers for Faith Ministries and also the director of Student Ministries at Coastal Christian Ocean City. He served four years and seven months in N.J. State prison and was released August 2014. You can learn more at Follow him on Twitter @mattmaherstory and Instagram @matthewmaher7.

Love this quote from Matthew Maher: "Courage isn't the absence of fear, but the awareness of Jesus being near."
Debbie Kay Hope for the Broken Hearted Ministries