April 11, 2016

Beauty Begins: Dare to be Different

by Chris Shook and Megan Shook Alpha

“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.” Romans 12:1-2 (MSG)

If you long to feel what God feels about you and live from your true beauty, then you have to stop doing what everyone else is doing and make some radical changes.  Dare to be different!

Do you want to live a life that matters?  You can.  Do you want to stand out from the norm and live the life you dream of?  Then, do it!  Be different. Be radical.  Be who you were made to be.  When we say, “Let’s be radical,” we’re really saying, “Let’s return to our roots.”  What is radical to this world is normal to God.  The early New Testament Christ followers lived radical lives.  How did they do this? They embraced the radical love and the power of God with “reckless abandon.”  Radical became normal for them – healing the blind, raising the dead, and winning thousands of hearts.  These people risked everything because they knew that Jesus loved them completely, had a plan for them, and wanted to do something radical through them.

They changed the world, but not because they were extraordinary or had amazing talents. No. They were ordinary.  They had ordinary faith and ordinary abilities just like you and me.  They chose, however, to place all their ordinary faith in an extraordinary God, who did extraordinary things through them.  God always uses ordinary, imperfect people to fulfill His plans. But, we must be ordinary people who totally surrender to His extraordinary love. We also have to take our ordinary, imperfect faith and place it all in His extraordinary and perfect power.

I admit that I don’t have the strength to swim against the powerful current of our culture that seeks to sweep away my self-worth with its lies.  I don’t have the courage to live a radical life that rebels against the tidal wave of pressure to conform to what everyone else is doing. The good news is I don’t have to have that kind of strength and courage.  All I need to do is turn to the One who does have the strength and courage.  Remember, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13, NKJV)  All things?  Yes!  That means if I turn to Christ, He will give me the strength to stand up and rebel against the lies of our culture.  With God’s power, I can stop looking at myself in the mirror with a critical eye, and I can start living from my sacred reflection.  With God’s strength, I can stop overemphasizing what’s on the outside and start focusing on having beautiful character on the inside.

Just imagine for a moment what would happen if we started a revolution in beauty, a revolution that would bring the healing power of Christ’s love to millions of men and women who are longing for their sacred reflections.  I know it seems impossible that we can change our culture. But, don’t ever forget the words of Jesus: “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”  (Matthew 19:26 NASB) And, remember the example of those New Testament Christians we read about in the book of Acts that says, “These who have turned the world upside down….” (Acts 17:6 NKJV)  Let’s dare to do it again!

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