Make it beautiful

beauty1The news report of increased traffic on the hiking trails of a park in NE New Jersey a couple of days ago showed trash thrown around, plastic bottles discarded, food wrappings piled in the underbrush, and not just a little.  What a metaphor for this world, I thought.  Humanity trashes life in so many ways and places. Violence tears apart nations. Hatred divides races. Much of our art is coarse and at times even lewd. Even our words are too often used in ways that are ugly, spreading garbage instead of grace. Self and sin trash this beautiful world that God gave to us. 

Christ restores what sin destroyed! Our calling, Christian, is to be like Him, to bring His beauty into the world where we live. We should aspire to that, everywhere and all of the time. John says “See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children because they don’t know him. Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is. And all who have this eager expectation will keep themselves pure, just as he is pure.” (1 John 3:1-3, NLT) Implied through that text is the transformational experience that we know because of Jesus!

God calls us into His family giving us a noble identity! We continue to grow into the likeness of Jesus, the world around us unable to grasp what is happening to us because they do not know the Source of the change.  With a view of Heaven’s beauty, we choose to become ‘pure,’ a word that indicates that we have left the dirt and corruption behind to become clean, whole, and beautiful. Careful on that.  In our pursuit of  beauty we may be tempted to resort to the cheap substitute of superficial pious acts rather than pursue the deep and true beauty of a transformed character. To be truly beautiful, we must allow the Holy Spirit to work in our hearts, changing us from the inside out.

The genuinely beautiful life of Christ is created in us as our minds are renewed with truth; as we practice the disciplines of the Spirit that allow Him to re-pattern our behavior; and with the encouragement of the holy community, Christ’s church. The indispensable Agent of change, however, is God, the Holy Spirit. He calls us to faith in Jesus.  He shows us Who God is. He makes us see the lies we once believed. He corrects us, leading us through tests that help us to grow in grace.  And, He whispers encouragement to us as we leave the ‘old country of sin,’ for the city of God!

Are you making life beautiful, Christian friend?
Have you left behind filthy speech for that which honors God?
Does the music that fills your day praise Him or encourage the baser impulses?
Are you loving when others are cruel, gentle in a harsh world, light in the darkness?

As you read this word from the Word today, compare the two ways of life – one full of the trash of the sinful nature – one radiant with the beauty of the Spirit’s transformation:
“So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. …

When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.” (Galatians 5:16-25, NLT)
__________

Beautiful Things

All this pain;
I wonder if I’ll ever find my way?
I wonder if my life could really change
At all?

 All this earth,
Could all that is lost ever be found?
Could a garden come up from this ground
At all?

 All around
Hope is springing up from this old ground!
Out of chaos life is being found
In You!

 You make beautiful things,
You make beautiful things out of the dust.
You make beautiful things,
You make beautiful things out of us. 

You make me new,
You are making me new.
You make me new,
You are making me new.

Lisa Gungor | Michael Gungor
© 2009 worshiptogether.com songs (Admin. by EMI Christian Music Publishing)

CCLI License # 810055

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