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Shattered Beauty

• Greg Boyd

When we read the Gospels, some of the words of Jesus may seem a little unrealistic to us. For example, in the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus actually speaks about people not being worried about how they shall get the things that they need to live, like food and clothing. Many of us spend a significant amount of time trying to secure the things that we need to survive. So when we see Jesus’ words, we find it hard to believe that he could really mean what he said. Perhaps the reason that we have such a hard time with Jesus’ words is because we are not truly understanding what he was saying.

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When we read the Gospels, some of the words of Jesus may seem a little unrealistic to us. For example, in the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus actually speaks about people not being worried about how they shall get the things that they need to live, like food and clothing. Many of us spend a significant amount of time trying to secure the things that we need to survive. So when we see Jesus’ words, we find it hard to believe that he could really mean what he said. Perhaps the reason that we have such a hard time with Jesus’ words is because we are not truly understanding what he was saying.

If we take Jesus’ words as just another thing to add on to our big “dos and don’ts” list, then they will seem more confining than freeing. But that’s not what Jesus is doing. Jesus is talking about having a different way of doing life. He wants for us to rethink all the things that we may believe that we need in light of what God wants for us. When you break it all down, Jesus is offering us a life of beauty in exchange for an ugly, fragmented life. There is a way of living where things come together naturally and allows the person living it to feel happy, fulfilled, and harmonious in their personal relationships. God wants us to get away from the insanity of our lives.

There are four general steps that it is helpful to take to move into this new life:
1. Realize that we have all been brainwashed.
We have to be aware that all of the newspapers that we read, the television that we watch, and the radio to which we listen to actually has an effect on us. Even though we may not want it to happen, we can actually start internalizing some of the values and ideas that these media are sending.
2. Listen to your pain.
Living lives of stress like we do can cause us to really feel hurt and anxious about life. It’s important to understand that pain is not necessarily a bad thing at all. It just lets you know when something is not working and that something needs to be changed. If we listen to our pain, then we can be more sensitive to the changes that we need to make in our lives to make them more beautiful.
3. Make seeking God the foundation for everything else you do.
Instead of just adding God onto the rest of our already crazy life, it would be helpful for us to take time and re-evaluate why we do what we do, in light of God and his kingdom. Once we begin thinking of God “first” for how we do the things that we do, we may find all kinds of ways to transform our lives.
4. Ask God for wisdom.
There’s no way to change our lives so drastically without help from God. If we seek God and believe that God can give us new ways to think about things, God will give us the wisdom and knowledge that we need to be the kind of people that God wants.

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Topics: Pain & Suffering, Simplicity, Transformation

Sermon Series: Experiencing the Beautiful Life


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Focus Scripture:

  • Matthew 6:24-33

    “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.
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    “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

    “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

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