Stone Cold Face

25 May

I’ve learned a new facial expression.

I’m not claiming that I created it; I know it’s not an original. But it’s new for me. I can’t really describe what it looks like, but I’ve suddenly started making this strange expression with my face, and now it feels like I can’t stop. It’s kind of a mixture between confused and focused….I only sport it when I’m really concentrating on something. Even my mother noticed. The other day she asked “What’s this new thing you’re doing with your face?” I guess it’s pretty noticeable.

When you think about it, facial expressions are incredible. Just one eye roll, smile, look of disgust, raising of the eyebrow…. You don’t have to say anything, and yet you can say so much! In fact, let’s try something…I’m going to say a word, and you express it with your face. If you’re not alone you may want to tone down the expression (unless you don’t care what people think, in which case, let loose!) Ready, here we go:

Angry. Confused. Disgusted. Sleepy. Suspicious. Relieved. Unrepentent.

Yes, that’s right, unrepentant. Don’t believe me that being unrepentant can be reflected on your face? Turn with me to Jeremiah 5:3

“They have refused to receive correction. They have made their faces harder than rock; They have refused to return.” Jeremiah 5:3

The prophet Jeremiah described the condition of sinful Judah. Men refused to receive correction; they refused to return to God. With stubborn hearts refusing to be broken by the truth of God’s words, they made their faces harder than a rock. They had fixed their gaze – and it was not in the direction of God.

I’m not entirely familiar with the  context that led God to make this declaration. But there is one thing I know…I never want to have a stone cold face towards my Lord. I’m not talking about the heart of stone that a person has when they refuse to believe and turn their lives over to Christ. Instead, as a believer I’m talking about the temptation to harden my heart, deafen my ears, and turn my eyes from the instruction that God has for me in His Word. It really is a daily temptation, and without being conscious of this, we too can wear a momentary stone cold face towards the Lord and His loving direction for our lives.

A stone cold face results not only in resisting God’s instruction or refusing for a time to repent of this or that sin. It often appears when we are unhappy with the unfolding of our lives. Perhaps God has allowed a circumstance in our lives that we feel is too difficult, and bitterness and resentment has slowly crept into our hearts. Maybe He has denied us a gift we believe we should have received. He might be “taking too long” to bring to an end a painful trial that we have repeatedly asked to be taken away. Has God dealt us a hand we feel too difficult? May our hearts never house bitterness and resentment towards our God, lest our faces become harder than a rock – refusing to be consoled by the truth of God’s sovereignty and wisdom.

Our stone cold face may not be quite as obvious as my “new facial expression”. In fact it may be so subtle that no one around us notices at first. Perhaps no one will say, as did my mother, “What’s this thing you’re doing with your face?” But left unchecked, a stubbornness towards the Lord, a discontent, bitter attitude will surface in the fruit of our lives. As the saying goes (sorry, I’m not sure who first said it):

“Sin will take your further than you ever wanted to go. Sin will keep you longer than you ever wanted to stay. Sin will cost you more than you ever wanted to pay.”

I thank God for the gift of the Holy Spirit – and for His promised ministry of convicting, rebuking, and restoring us. If you have the opportunity I strongly encourage you to listen to John MacArthur’s sermon on the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives, delivered at the 2012 Shepherd’s Conference. It is the Holy Spirit that ensures that our momentary times of stubbornness and unrepentence is just that, momentary. He will convict. He will rebuke. He will restore. He ensures that the good work that God has began in us will be carried out until it is completed. Thank God that it is does not depend on our own effort and will to keep ourselves faithful, but on His promise to keep us faithful. For the believer, He ensures that we will never reach a point where our heart is hardened beyond return.

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6

May our prayer be that we would never have a stone cold look when it comes to our love for God. Even if just for a moment, how hurtful and dishonouring this must be to our Father. And who can truly know where this stubborn condition will take us in our walk with the Lord? On the contrary, may we be marked by the words of Psalm 34:5 “Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.”

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One Response to “Stone Cold Face”

  1. digdeepwithdina May 29, 2012 at 7:14 PM #

    Great Dina, I have a new facial expression for you, try it in private or publicly – thankful !

    Ee

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