TEXT: Romans 12:1-2
“Her nose was pretty big, but I didn’t think it looked all that bad. However, Lori claimed she was so ugly that people called her names and teased her children at school about her looks. To me she was average and even pleasant in appearance, but she decided to have her nose diminished, her chin built out, her teeth fixed, her cheeks filled out — as well as other enhancements on ABC’s show called Extreme Makeover.”
Most of us think about what it would be like to have an extreme makeover.
(I WATCHED A DOCUMENTARY ABOUT ENHANCEMENTS, ETC.) We’re living in a culture where youth is worshiped and physical appearance is everything. So shows like Extreme Makeover have a huge draw as people think about what they would like to change about themselves. There is nothing wrong with enhancing our appearance. None of us would have combed our hair today or brushed our teeth if we did not care about our appearance. There is nothing wrong with putting on makeup. Caring about our physical appearance is good, EXCEPT WHEN THAT CONCERN BECOMES EXTREME, and WE FORGET ABOUT THE THINGS WE SHOULD BE CONCERNED ABOUT.
I think we all need an extreme makeover, but not the kind you will see on television. It is not a makeover of your body, but of your spirit. In biblical terms, we need a TRANSFORMATION. Here is how the book of Romans puts it: “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2). That is the kind of extreme makeover we need.
God looks at our inside not on our outside…He does not even notice our weight, our shape or our nose, or if he does, we look very beautiful to him. When He comes into our lives, He gives us an extreme makeover. He sees the person we are inside. He sees the person we can be. He is attracted to us because he sees the image of his Son in us. He sees the Holy Spirit living in us. He sees us growing into the likeness of his Son.
How do we get this makeover that makes us new, inwardly beautiful people? The process is both PAINFUL & PLEASURABLE. It is much more painful than any physical makeover, but has much better results. Some of you have had a masked man with a knife stand in front of you, but you were not afraid at all, because you knew he was your surgeon. You came to him because you needed help. Here is the first step in coming to God, our divine Surgeon. We realize the truth that:
1. WE ARE ALL UGLY PEOPLE.
Without God we are all inwardly ugly. The Bible tells us that we have all sinned and fallen short of God’s glorious beauty (Romans 3:23). I like the way The Message puts it: “Since we’ve compiled this long and sorry record as sinners. . . and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us, God did it for us. Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ” (Romans 3:23).
In the novel Moby Dick Captain Ahab is frightened by what he sees in himself. He asks the question that many of us have asked: “What is it, what nameless, inscrutable, unearthly thing is it; what cozening, hidden lord and master, and cruel, remorseless emperor commands me; that against all natural lovings and longings, I so keep pushing, and crowding, and jamming myself on all the time; recklessly making me ready to do what in my own proper, natural heart, I durst not so much as dare?” He’s simply saying that there’s evil in me…
John Calvin said, “There remains in us a smoldering cinder of evil, from which desires continually leap forth to allure and spur to commit sin.” There is a blackness in our hearts that we must take seriously.
One of the problems we face is that we think we can become beautiful on our own by just trying harder. BUT NO AMOUNT OF EFFORT WILL DO IT. (Walang happy thoughts, walang kahit na anong positive thinking ang pwedeng tumulong sa’yo na gawin mong beautiful ang sarili mo on your own.) In C. S. Lewis’ book Till We Have Faces one of the characters is struggling with the ugliness she sees within her and says, “I would set out boldly each morning to be just and calm and wise in all my thoughts and acts; but before they had finished dressing me I would find that I was back in some old rage, resentment, gnawing fantasy, or sullen bitterness. I could not hold out half an hour. And a horrible memory crept into my mind of those days when I had tried to mend the ugliness of my body with new devices in the way I did my hair or the colors I wore. I’d a cold fear that I was at the same work again. I could bend my soul no more than my face. Unless the gods helped.”
We have a God who is willing to help. A SPIRITUAL MAKEOVER is the WORK OF GOD. This is something that only the divine Surgeon can do. And one thing is for sure, we will never come to him if we think we look okay without him.
The prophet Isaiah describes our plight and our appearance: “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away” (Isaiah 64:6).
Theologians call this ugliness “original sin.” It is not a pretty word, but it is an important one. Until we understand that we were born into a world that has been broken and ruined by sin, and that we have inherited that ruin and inclination to sin from our human ancestors, we cannot understand life. We are confused by what is going on inside of us and perplexed about why the world is the way it is. But once we understand that sin has made us and the world ugly, then we are ready for God to operate on us. (KAILANGAN MONG TANGGAPIN AT MAUNAWAAN NA HINDI TUMPAK, TAMA ANG ATING KATATAYUAN SA HARAPAN NG DIYOS KUNG WALA SI HESUS SA ATING MGA BUHAY)
The Bible says, “For when we were controlled by the sinful nature, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in our bodies, so that we bore fruit for death” (Romans 7:5).
It is interesting that my parents never taught me to be selfish or cruel. Those things came very naturally to me, even as a small child. They did have to teach me to be kind, not to fight or say unkind things. I WAS NOT BORN GOOD.
My mom would always tell me, “Go to church…allow God to change your life.” I would always say to myself, “There’s nothing wrong with me, I’m not like them, so why force me to change, etc…etc…” It was March, 1998 on a Summer Camp, I understood that I have a problem in my life…that I can’t change myself…and God revealed to me that I can come to Him for an operation a makeover.
We keep wanting to believe that we and the rest of the human race are basically good.
We think it will help us if we think that and we will feel better about ourselves. But, in fact, the opposite is true. THAT NAIVE BELIEF KEEPS US FROM COMING TO GOD FOR HIS CURE. Once we accept the reality that we are not born basically good, then a lot of things begin to make sense.
The second step in our journey toward God is to realize:
2. WE HAVE THE IMAGE OF GOD.
We have the beauty of God stamped on our souls. At first this sounds contradictory. How can we be ugly, yet have beauty in us at the same time? How can we be born sinful and also born with the image of God? The answer is that GOD’S ORIGINAL DESIGN WAS A BEAUTIFUL HUMAN RACE THAT WAS FULL OF NOTHING BUT GOODNESS.
Adam and Eve were a part of that design. But the parents of the human race rebelled, and sin and evil entered their hearts. We are all stained with that “original sin,” because we have inherited the rebellion and love of sinning from them. But we have also inherited from them the image of God which he impressed on our souls. Which means that YOU AND I WERE MADE FOR GOD. There is something in us that can respond to him. That longs for God…that would naturally seek God in our lives. There is a divine beauty that can be awakened.
But in the natural it wasn’t always that way. The Bible says, “Remember that at that time you were separate from Christ. . .without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:12-13). As God brings us near, he makes over us and gives us a makeover. He takes away the ugliness of sin in us and gives us a heart that loves the beauty of holiness.
King David’s heart was heavy with sin. He was at odds with himself, his family, his friends and the world. His heart was full of sin, but not so full he could not respond to the call of God. He was a broken man until he prayed this prayer: “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin” ( Psalm 51:1-2). With that God gave him a complete makeover. And he will do the same for you. You have the image of God stamped on your soul and you can respond to God.
The third step to God comes when we realize:
3. WE HAVE A GOD WHO CAN MAKE US NEW.
So far we understood that Yes, we all have a sin problem, and we’ve had that problem from birth. But we were also created in the image of God. And that part of us can respond to God’s call on our lives. We can say yes to God, and we will. And when we do, something wonderful happens: GOD CAN MAKE US NEW.
It is interesting to watch what happens in the life of someone who has received an extreme makeover by God:
- They exhibit extreme kindness,
- They manifest extreme commitment and make extreme sacrifices.
- They have an extreme love for God and others. (encouraging officemates, etc.)
Yes, it does not happen all at once, but it is an ongoing transformation that takes place throughout their lives. Paul put it like this: “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18).
This makeover results in a RENEWED HEART AND CHARACTER. The Christian life, then, is not defined by what we do not do, but by the renewed heart God has given us. Our ATTITUDES and DESIRES have received a makeover. (HINDI NA YUNG MGA NAIS NATIN, HINDI NA YUNG MGA SARILI NATING GAWI, MGA BAGAY NA GUSTO NG LAMAN, KUNDI, MGA BAGAY NA NAIS NG ATING PANGINOON NA MAY KINALAMAN SA KABANALAN AT KATWIRAN…)We now want to love God and live for him. (Hindi na dahil sa pagsunod lamang sa batas, kundi ang paglakad ng matuwid ay expression ng ating pagmamahal sa ating Panginoon na nagbago n gating mga buhay)
This is what Jeremiah prophesied: “‘This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time,’ declares the Lord. ‘I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people’” (Jeremiah 31:33). The Christian life is not about what we give up, but what we get. It is a positive holiness, not negative. It raises us from death and gives us life. The slavery to sin is broken and the freedom to live for God breaks forth in our lives with joy.
We have extreme sports, extreme dating and extreme makeovers propagated in our entertainment industry. It is time that we have some extreme Christians who are making a difference in their world.
One of the most interesting commercials on television never said a word about the product it was advertising. It panned several people who had just one thing in common — a nasty injury or scar. There was a cowboy with a huge scar around his eye, and you could tell his eye was damaged as well. Another fellow had a huge cauliflower ear. Still another had badly callused feet. Throughout the ad there is no explanation, except at the end when the Nike swoosh appears along with the words “Just Do It.” The commercial is surprisingly moving, because the whole time Joe Cocker is singing in the background: “You are so beautiful . . . to me.” To those athletes — the wrestler with the cauliflower ear, the surfer with a shark bite, the bullrider blind in one eye — their injuries are beauty marks. And to their fans, these athletes are beautiful because of their scars. Mike Folino, the ad’s creator, says, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”
God is our beholder. He is also the one who makes us beautiful, and we are beautiful to him. Our beauty comes from him. He sings to us, “You are so beautiful … to me.”
Rodney J. Buchanan