Sunday, February 19, 2006

Restored II

Have you ever felt like there was no way to put yourself back together after a fall? That your insides, your thought life and motives, were hideous and grotesque? That you surely didn't deserve love?

Galatians 3:27
And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have been made like him.
The Man With The Ugly Face C. S. Lewis

Once upon a time there was a man with an absolutely hideous face. He was so ugly that children cried out in fright and adults stood gaping. Embarrassed by his own features, the man had a mask crafted. The firm mask showed a face of strong, elegant beauty – quite unlike the face of the one who would wear it.

Every morning without fail, the man with the ugly face got up and put on the beautiful mask. He knew he was pretending and that people who saw him would wonder about the mask; but to him, it was much better than showing them who he really was.

Every day, year in and year out, the man got up in the morning and put the mask on his face.

One morning as he got up and went to fetch his mask, he caught his reflection in the window glass. Dismayed at what he saw, he frantically searched his house for a mirror (which was quite a task as he’d eliminated most of them years ago, not caring for the image of truth they returned). Upon finding a small hand mirror he gazed in shock – and finally joy at what he saw.

It seems that by putting on the mask year in and year out, his bone and tissue had formed to the mold of the that mask, and he was ugly no more. In fact, his face had been transformed into the exact replica of the beautiful mask.

Let God change your apperance and likeness to be that of His son Jesus Christ. Every morning read the folowing passage and ask God to make it be so for you.

Colossians 3:1-17

Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits at God's right hand in the place of honor and power. Let heaven fill your thoughts. Do not think only about things down here on earth. For you died when Christ died, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your real life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.

So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual sin, impurity, lust, and shameful desires. Don't be greedy for the good things of this life, for that is idolatry. God's terrible anger will come upon those who do such things. You used to do them when your life was still part of this world. But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old evil nature and all its wicked deeds. In its place you have clothed yourselves with a brand-new nature that is continually being renewed as you learn more and more about Christ, who created this new nature within you. In this new life, it doesn't matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us.

Since God chose you to be the holy people whom he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. You must make allowance for each other's faults and forgive the person who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. And the most important piece of clothing you must wear is love. Love is what binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are all called to live in peace. And always be thankful. Let the words of Christ, in all their richness, live in your hearts and make you wise. Use his words to teach and counsel each other. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say, let it be as a representative of the Lord Jesus, all the while giving thanks through him to God the Father.


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