A “Beautiful” Life

focus photography of yellow and red petaled flower
And Jesus opened up his mouth and taught them, saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven… Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” [Matthew 5:2,10]

People want things to look good. Maybe it goes back to the Garden, when Eve thought that the tree from the knowledge of good and evil looked pretty, or maybe it comes from being made in the image of our Creator God – or maybe both. Whatever the case, we value beauty.

Beautiful clothes, cars, people, possessions. Beautiful lawns, gardens, houses. As Solomon noted, “God has made everything beautiful in its time (Ecclesiastes 3). But God has not meant for it merely to be a worldly ideal, or merely about physical things. God has designed the life, or daily actions, of a Christian to be beautiful. 

We are called to live beautiful lives. But it doesn’t look at all like humans are wired to think. A “beautiful” life, as Jesus defined it in the Beatitudes, is in many ways the inverse of what we would humanly expect. It’s not about bigger or nicer things. It’s not about accumulating anything actually. The beautiful life of a Christian looks more like having mercy, doing what is right no matter the cost. A life of beauty looks like tears of mourning and yearning for God’s kingdom. A life of beauty looks like suffering and being persecuted. 

No one ever would have said a man dying painfully on a cross was beautiful. And it wasn’t. It was tragic, painful, treacherous, wrong. But Jesus’ act of selfless love, his act of giving himself for us was the clearest display of beauty. 

Sure, keep a great garden. Have a clean house. Invest in things that look nice and work well. Join in with the Creator God who built us to be creative. But remember this: Beauty is actually seen in following Jesus every day, in the little ways. It can’t always be captured in a picture. Just as Jesus made clear in the Beatitudes, go live a blessed, truly beautiful life.

Prayer: Lord God, you created us. You sustain us and inspire us to live in your image. Through Jesus’ sacrifice, you have saved us and taught us to see beauty in selfless love. Empower us by your Holy Spirit to live a life of beauty. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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