timeless beauty

My friend and I used to have this inside ‘friend’ language when we described someone’s beauty. She’s not here, so I’m going to go ahead and take credit for the initial categories, because, really, I do think I came up with it first. I called someone ‘trailer-park’ pretty, and the categories were born. Someone who is really pretty, but a little rough around the edges, is ‘trailer park’ pretty. Then our categories branched out into decades, like 70’s pretty, or 80’s pretty. It’s something about bone structure and facial features. These people can still be pretty, but they’re prettier in their environment and for their time in history. 

Then there are people whose beauty is timeless. It doesn’t matter how you package them, the beauty shines through. They make an ugly package look good. 

In the public world there are certain subjects and styles that are “cool” now, for whatever reason. Christianity goes through different fads just like any other social or cultural thing. Back in the 90’s Christian Ska music was the thing. (Remember that song by the W’s? “You are the devil and the devil is bad, you are the devil and the devil is bad…”) Right now, it’s the cool thing to be a little edgy. Pastors have tattoos and shop at The Buckle. The worship team has smoke machines and the power points have grungy graphics. It’s all about cultural relevance and I don’t see an issue with it. That is, unless that’s all there is to it.

The minute a Gospel messenger makes the draw more about him or her, is the minute they damage the message of Jesus. You’re not drawn to God because the preacher dressed super cool or the worship team sounded like they should be on the radio. You may be drawn to the flavor of the culture, but there has to be something more. Otherwise the draw will dwindle when the flavor goes out of style. You’re drawn to God because the truth about Jesus was preached. That’s the tug that lasts.

We share the message of Jesus, of grace, of unconditional love, and God draws men to Him. If people are drawn to the messenger, then what happens when the messenger isn’t cool anymore? What if the messenger doesn’t think you’re cool? When we’re pleasing them and they’re pleasing us, who is pleasing Jesus?

I’m talking about a timeless message, a timeless beauty, here.

Society, and Christians are social people, tends to discredit someone because they’re flawed. They think they make the product look bad. That’s why Sunday morning masks are so sadly important. You don’t want anyone to know your flaws, because, for shallow reasons, people think your relationship with Jesus is flawed. We all know that we make mistakes, but we’ve set up this whole thing to not allow our shortcomings to be known because we think it discredits the story of Jesus in us. 

Since when can a person damage the Gospel by not being a perfect messenger? The Gospel isn’t a product we peddle. How many people won’t share their testimony of the salvation power of Jesus because they don’t think they’re good enough or because it illuminates something in us that they’re not proud of? The story of Jesus, personalized to our individual lives, is a timeless story where we become less and He reigns. It means nothing without Jesus. It’s Jesus who makes us beautiful, not the other way around.

The story of Jesus is alive in our lives. None of us are good enough. Don’t let your own insecurity sew your lips shut or keep you from writing your praise. Some of us hold back the best parts of God in us because they, more often than not, reveal the worst parts of us. 

Jesus said:

“I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.” -Luke 19:40 ESV

Jesus shines the brightest when His lamp, clearly, cannot light itself. You are His miracle. If He can make a rock cry out His praise, can’t He use you? 

Something that I tell myself every time my own insecurity starts clawing at my purpose is this: Every human being is made by God and for God. That means that the truth and beauty of the Gospel resonates with the core of who we are. It doesn’t matter what package it comes in, there is always a place for your story when it’s about Jesus. Countless broken hearts are searching. They are dying to hear that what brought you through can bring them through, too. 

You have the words to tell that beautiful story, even as flawed as you may be. It’s not about you, remember, and thank God for that. Some of us are a mess of a story. (Hi, I’m Serena. Have we met?) Those other messes will thank God for you if you have the guts to speak up and tell them they’re not alone.

And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. -1 Corinthians 2:3-5 ESV

tb

  • http://alwaysalleluia.com/ KRIS CAMEALY

    It’s so good to see your words here, Serena. I love this great word from you, and the reminder to keep telling the story, whatever it looks like. Thanks, lady, you bless me. ;)

    • SERENA

      Kris, you made me smile. :)

  • http://memyselfandmercy.blogspot.com/ MARY BONNER

    Serena, this is so true and I love the way you wrote this. Timeless beauty…so lovely. Thank you for this.

    Mary
    http://memyselfandmercy.blogspot.com/

    • SERENA

      Thank you, Mary. :)

  • http://www.amylearns.com/ AMY TILSON

    Even the not messy stories need to be told. Easy to think that everything is just fine if you’re the “good girl” and there’s nothing you need to be saved from. Every person has this need and that’s what makes every story important. Thanks!

    • SERENA

      Thanks, Amy. :)

  • DIANE W. BAILEY

    I love that no matter where (era or location) you come from God has made us pretty in some area and leaves room for us to seek Him for greater beauty.

    • SERENA

      Diane, Speaking strictly of “beauty”, we’re made by God, aren’t we? :)

      “Walk into the fields and look at the wildflowers. … have you ever seen color and design quite like it? … If God gives such attention to the wildflowers, most of them never even seen, don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you?” (taken from Luke 12:25-28 MSG)

      Then moving into the purpose of this post: the beauty that time can’t erase. It’s the beauty that comes from having the Son of God inside of us. Radiating love. Giving purpose. Reclaiming territory once ravaged by sin. Empowering truth that gives us something to say, something to sing, something to write.

      “The old life is a grass life, its beauty as short-lived as wildflowers. Grass dries up, flowers droop, God’s Word goes on and on forever. This is the Word that conceived the new life in you.” 1 Peter 1:24-25 MSG

  • http://newlifesteward.com/ MARY BETH

    There are so many good nuggets here I can’t pick out just one! Thanks for sharing this. Great truth that we forget so easily.

    • SERENA

      Thank you, Mary Beth. :)

  • NANCY SMITH

    God knows what I need when I need it. Thanks so much for speaking the words I needed today!

    • SERENA

      That’s awesome, Nancy. Our confidence is in the finished work of Jesus, right? Not the finished work of our sin. Thank God. :)

  • http://altarofheaven.wordpress.com/ ARCELIA

    Great post full of Truth! Keep exalting Christ my sister!

    May we remember how God drew us and shined His Light into our dark hearts to give us the “light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.”

    2 Corinthians 4:1-7

    And Titus 3:5

    “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit…”

  • http://www.eileenknowles.com EILEEN

    “It’s Jesus who makes us beautiful” Amen to that.