As I shopped together with my mom and daughter yesterday in a craft store, we encountered a wide variety of buttons and marveled at how unique and beautiful each one was. On display together they were quite marvelous like a shimmering dress covering their roundabout displays. But if we examined and inspected any one of them closely, we could see that they were “just buttons” — pretty inexpensive, and many of them were silly and even gaudy.
Then a friend posted this on Instagram and I loved it:
As I think about my life and my friends — I realize that we have all been a bunch of insane, perverted, drunk, high, arguing, gossiping, selfish, lustful, divisive folks. Religiously speaking, you could easily call us “wicked and sinful” people. Want evidence? I’m sure that it’s not that hard to find.
But I’m not ashamed of that. I’m not ashamed of you or of me. That’s just the honest truth about what parts of our lives look like behind any curated social media posts and the “branding” most of us have put out there to sell others on “how we want to be seen”.
Who we really are in our deepest, darkest places isn’t the whole of who we are. And who we advertise ourselves to be isn’t the whole of who we are either. I see something beautiful in you, friend. Each of you is like a precious, unique gem — and having you as part of my life makes me feel like I’m wearing a beautiful, flamboyant, rainbow sequined coat of many colors that is uniquely mine to live and to treasure.
And you know what? My teacher tells me that is how God sees us and that is why Jesus came as God incarnate to live amongst us and show us a better way than religion — a better way than people trying to measure up on their own and compare against one another in judgement and shame.
My teacher is not some book. My teacher is not some man on TV, the Internet, or behind a pulpit on Sundays. My teacher is the living God who made you and I in His image and who has a wonderful and challenging and fulfilling purpose for us doing this life together.
I know. That sounds crazy, right? That doesn’t sound like I’m just handing out tickets for a church service or a weekly religious gathering, or trying to get you to invest a tithe in my religious organization of course, does it?
I’m not in the business of religion. I want you to know that He lives in me, and I see His beauty in you — even in your imperfections — ESPECIALLY in your imperfections. I love you, and He loves you even more.
When you think of the people around you, can you see the beautiful coat of many colors in your mind?
Can you see their beauty and your own? Or has your sight grown dark and have the troubles of this life and the imperfections and brokenness of this world left you wondering where beauty and hope might even be found?
Let’s shine our little light, my friend. Let’s love and appreciate and encourage each other, my friends. You are all welcome and loved in my house.
Thank you, Jesus, my Lord, my Savior, my healer and my teacher for opening my eyes to such beautiful things. Amen.
So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
Genesis 1:27 NLT
So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses. When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God. But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.
Galatians 5:16-26 NLT