Thursday, April 1, 2010

Extreme Makeover: Soul Edition

I'm a sucker for a good makeover show. It doesn't really matter if it's renovation of a home or refashioning of a person. It's so fun to watch the gradual transformation process and then see the delicious "before and after" shots side by side.

While I was watching a home makeover show this morning, I started wondering why makeover shows never get old. What is it about a makeover that is so appealing? How many times will I watch tile replaced with hardwood or style-phobic women don new sequin camis? What makes me watch a Nick Arrojo haircut and Carmindy makeup tips time after time?

There's something fascinating about watching the old and broken become like new. It's especially powerful when you see that transformation internally. Some of these makeovers really change the way the person feels and acts. It's often a struggle for them to initially let go of their old, inappropriate clothes. They stubbornly resist out of fear, habit, or insecurity. But by the end of the show, they stand a little straighter and smile a little brighter. Despite the struggle of transformation, a fresh set of clothes or a fresh coat of paint often can make all the difference.

I think it's interesting that the Bible compares a spiritual transformation to putting on new clothes. It's the makeover of a lifetime to become a child of the living God. When he hands over our new wardrobe, it's only a matter of time before we view ourselves differently, behave differently, think differently, and become a whole new person. However, the process of that makeover is difficult and takes time.

In the movie The Passion of the Christ, as Jesus is struggling beneath the burden of carrying the cross, there comes a point at which he falls and his mother comes running toward him. Bloody and beaten, he musters the strength to look into Mary's eyes and says to her: "See, mother, I make all things new."

Whenever I see this movie scene at Easter time, I'm so moved by that statement, made in the middle of the greatest agony, and what it ultimately means. It's very easy to get caught up in the problem of pain in this world and in my own personal struggle of the transformation process. If God was so good and powerful, why is there suffering? That question is tossed around by unbelievers and believers alike. If we are honest, we are wondering, why does God allow so much evil when he could just put an end to it. What is he waiting for?

The promise: "I am making everything new!" is taken from Revelation when Jesus comes back to earth as the Messianic King to begin ruling his kingdom. This is the great "makeover after shot" that we all long for when we desire a restored earth, justice, and healing. And when Christ was dying, he was making that possibility a reality for all of us.

In the middle of the process, it's easy to get discouraged because of our yet unfulfilled desire for the end result- the chance to live on a new earth, free from any mourning, crying, death, or pain. But that transformation can only begin to take place when we remove our old filthy rags of sin - the tatters that we try to hide behind, excuse, clutch tightly, and cover with - and, through faith, put on Christ. He is the only one righteous, the only one holy, the only one sinless. And when we put on his clothes, his salvation begins to work its way out through our lives.

It's the transformation of a lifetime available to anyone who asks.

You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Galatians 3:26-29

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
2 Corinthians 5:17

1 comment:

emily said...

Such a good comparison. It is so true that a physical change can create internal change...I never thought so much about makeover shows and really don't watch them. I may have to now. :) I know our journeys spiritually are different, but I still love reading your wisdom and I always learn something. I guess I got to thinking about finding the line between vanity that is not helpufl vs. external change that could change us.