Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Balancing act

This idea of beautiful rubbish is perfect, in that it keeps me in check. The point is never to become so up to my ears in rubbish that I can't see past to the beauty. Not that it would be a bad thing, in the reverse, to be up to my ears in beauty. As long as the beauty is the work of Christ in me - it would benefit my soul greatly to be completely overwhelmed by this beauty on a daily basis - and not gazing in infatuation at my own reflection, deceived into thinking I'm so full of beauty that there is no rubbish in my life in need of God's transforming grace.

Unfortunately, I think I err on the side of focusing critically on the rubbish. If ever this masquerades as humility, let me assure you, it's not. It's a more subtle form of pride, actually, for it puts me in disagreement with God. When I focus on my rubbish, to the exclusion of seeing beneath it to the creative and breathtaking ways that God works tirelessly to redeem it, I refuse to agree with Him that He sees me as a beautiful, and dare I say, perfect creation. I can claim that, not by my own merit, character or track record, but solely because in Christ's death and resurrection it is so. I assume a new identity: perfect, holy, beautiful, blameless, forgiven.

Let me be clear here: God doesn't make junk. He doesn't create rubbish. When I say I have rubbish in my life, I am dead wrong if I imply that I am the rubbish. Contrary to what some theology encourages, I don't believe it brings glory and pleasure to God to hear those He has redeemed (those who have received Christ, whose lives are now in Him) going about with the "I am a despicable worm, a sinner saved by grace" language. Once we're in Christ, we are new creations. We may still sin, but we are not sinners. It may seem like a subtle distinction or semantics, but it's not. There's a big difference, because one denotes an ongoing wrestling match with something other than ourselves - that is, the sin. And one denotes an identity. Sin is no longer my identity in God's eyes. Christ becomes my identity, and because He is perfect, the reflection of Christ's perfection is what God sees in me.

This may seem like a lot of spiritual mumbo jumbo to some, but to me, it's freedom. It's mystery. It's scandal. It's hope. It's beauty beyond what the eyes can see, the hands can touch or the imagination can stretch. It's grace heaped upon grace, mercy that brings a flood of relief. It's empowering in its truth, sobering in its magnitude. It brings me to my knees, not as a filthy sinner, but as a humble and grateful recipient of a gift I could never earn or pay back.

It's Holy week, and this is beautiful rubbish in action.

1 comment:

  1. something that has SO encouraged me is Hebrews 10:14...

    For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.

    it's cool to realize that since we are in the process of being made holy, we are perfect where we are at.