Beauty vs. Ugly
If I was going to come right out and say it without any flowery words, I would say God cares more about what you reflect than how you feel. God created you as a masterpiece to reflect the diverse wonder of His beauty and the majestic goodness of His character. Yes, guys, ha ha, you were made to be beautiful. You can still be strong and manly and tough, but God made you to be more beautiful than a flower. Guys and girls, old and young, dark and light, all were made to reflect the beauty of our Maker.
SO WHERE DID ALL THE UGLINESS COME FROM?
The culprit is a confusing but popular thing called sin. Sin produces less beauty and more ugliness. Since there are myriad ways to sin, there are myriad ways to get smudged, tarnished, broken, and bent. Sin is not just a personal thing, either. Sin has tainted our parents and the entire human race before them. Sin has worked its way into the very fabric of our world. The Bible declares that sin is what brought about that super-bummer thing called death. And no matter how badly we want beauty more than ugliness, or life more than death, for some reason we humans keep sinning.
Maybe it will help a bit to clear some of the confusion about this thing called sin. According to a guy (worth reading) named Soren Kierkegaard, “Sin is seeking to become oneself, to get an identity apart from God.” So, sin is less about committing bad actions and more about reflecting false images. Why does a person kill someone? Maybe they have bought into the lie that they are not a child of God made to promote and cultivate life rather than to destroy it. Why does a person lie? Maybe they don’t know or believe they are made to reflect God’s character, which is all about truth.
Whenever we identify with something other than the original design God has made us for, we project a garbled, misshapen image. This is us. Bruised and broken masterpieces that were made for so much more.
Though you may be somewhat bummed or bored at this point, I hope that what you have read so far resonates a bit with your current situation. If so, check this out:
Romans 8:29-30 God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son. The Son stands first in the line of humanity he restored. We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in Jesus. After God made that decision of what his children should be like, he followed it up by calling people by name. After he called them by name, he set them on a solid basis with himself. And then, after getting them established, he stayed with them to the end, gloriously completing what he had begun.
Another way to put this is, God wants us to be conformed to the image of His Son, Jesus. Jesus showed us the correct image of humanity. Jesus was the exact radiance of God the Father in human form. And what did Jesus look like? (This is big, so please don’t miss this.) Jesus declared of Himself that, He was meek and lowly, humble in heart.
Wow, bet that surprised you. I know it is a surprise to me. When God in human form described what He is like, He did not say, “I am awesome, rad, super strong, and real good at stuff.” Though God is all those things, He wanted humanity to know that the original design He had and still has for us is…humility. I think humility is best described as being grateful and generous. Grateful to God for all He has given, whether it is a lot or a little. Generous in our giving to others because God has been so generous with us.
If our government leaders, popular entertainers, moms and dads, and 20-year olds would surrender to God’s love and clothe themselves with humility, we would see our society increase in beauty and decrease in ugliness. That is what I am praying for.
This Sunday we will dig deep into Jonah 3 and see a whole city clothe themselves in humility—from the king all the way down to the animals. Lord, let it happen in our time and our day.