“I'm on a mission to make ugly things beautiful.” I'm pretty sure Jesus would have said this. In fact, I'm pretty sure it was His anthem.
Somehow, we can easily forget that our calling is to become beautiful. As Christians, we're called to imitate Christ, to be transformed into His likeness. We should leave this earth looking more like Him than we started. And in the process, we're supposed to make the things around us beautiful as well.
The mission of our church here in NYC is “to join God in the renewal of all things.” I like this because I think it's a point a lot of Christians tend to miss. We make Jesus and the gospel all about eternal salvation and very little about the invitation to renew, revive, and restore what’s around us right now, in this moment.
Making ugly things beautiful is hard. It's uncomfortable. It's dangerous. But it's also worth the blood, sweat, and tears. And more importantly, it's worth the risk.
I don't know about you, but when Jesus entered my life, I was ugly. And to be honest, there are still stubborn, ugly places in my heart. Thankfully, He's in the process of making my beauty complete. I get to live with joyful hope everyday knowing that beauty will be perfected in me when I meet Him face to face.
So what does this mean?
It means this beauty is not ours to keep. No. We are to give it away, even if it comes at a cost. Even if we have to risk it all to give beauty to someone else, we should because that's what He did. He tells us to be imitators of Him so I translate that to mean that we are to do what He does. He makes costly and controversial, yet confident decisions sometimes to extend beauty to those around Him.
Don’t be afraid to release beauty into the world around you. Beauty has already won.
People everywhere are aching for beauty. They're fed up with the ugly broken stuff. And yet, I see people being stingy with their gift of beauty, saying, “you don't deserve it.” Or, “I'm afraid to give it you.” But how can we ever make the ugly things beautiful if we keep the beauty to ourselves? How can we make the ugly things beautiful if we we’re not willing to allow the act of giving to undo the ugly in our own hearts?
Because here’s a truth for you: Our giving will never return void.
When we give beauty, we receive it. When we face the ugly in our world, we're forced to face the ugly in our hearts. When others around us change, we change too.
Maybe, just maybe, you don't actually have a fear of the ugly world. Instead, you have a fear of facing the ugliness in your own heart. Is that what holds you back from making the ugly things beautiful?
It takes courage.
Oh friend, take hold of the truth. You were made beautiful in Christ at the foundations of the world and you are beautiful in Him today, no matter what ugliness you have in or around you. Whatever you do, don’t selfishly hold onto the costly gift that’s been given to you. Throw beauty around like confetti on this ugly world because whatever it touches will be made beautiful in Jesus name. Once you experience the process that is ‘beauty from ashes,’ you’ll want to come back every day, again and again, for more. And trust me when I tell you, each day there will be more confetti for you to throw around than the day before. He not only gives beauty, He multiplies it.
Let’s have courage. Let’s face our own ugliness. Let’s pursue beauty. Let’s make the ugly, beautiful – together.