2018 is here.   What is your word for the year?

My word for 2018 is BEAUTY.   I am not talking about outward beauty or the physical beauty of creation.  I am talking about beauty of spirit.  Pursuing the Lord with all my heart means I want to see God.   I want to pursue things that are good, worthy of praise, true, honorable, pure, and respected.  All these bring me closer to the beauty of the Lord.

Beauty without fakery means honesty.   How many of us have set out with good intentions to do the right thing, do an honorable deed, tell the truth in a situation and then find ourselves settling for something less than beautiful when we evade a hard truth, take more credit than we should, or take offense with those we are trying to help.   Where is the beauty if you can’t be honest?

Beauty without fakery means risk.   You can’t see something beautiful if you don’t have a God-sized dream in your life.   If God is always in small spaces, how are you captivated by beauty?   We settle by worshipping a narcissistic, 5 min celebrity version of ourselves, putting all our dreams into our children, or just nursing the defeats of life by retreating to binge TV.  Where is the beauty if you can’t take a risk?

Beauty without fakery means courage.   Honesty and risk are not easy.   Following Christ doesn’t seem easy.  But settling for less leads to fakery.  We fake our Christian walk.   We pretend we love Jesus with all our heart while our priorities clearly put Jesus serving us, and not the other way around.

Beauty without fakery means a wholesale love of Christ.  Does that make me a Jesus freak?  No, it makes me a beauty freak.  Nothing matches the beauty of grace.  If you don’t fall in love with Jesus, your truth has failed you.  Grace means we give nothing.  We do nothing.  And we get EVERYTHING.

The Lord doesn’t want us to miss the beauty of life.  Beauty is not a perfect body, a perfect home, a perfectly obedient child, a perfect health report, a perfect job, a perfect bank account, a perfect spouse.  Beauty is seeing God.   Dietrich Bonhoeffer reminds us Jesus asks nothing us of that he doesn’t give us the strength to perform.

What is your word for 2018?

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.  Matthew 5:8.

“Only the man who follows the command of Jesus single-mindedly, and unresistingly lets his yoke rest upon him, finds his burden easy, and under its gentle pressure receive the power to persevere in the right way.  The command of Jesus is hard, unutterably hard, for those who try to resist it.  But for those who willingly submit, the yoke is easy and the burden is light.  “His commandments are not grievous” (1 John 5:3).  The commandment of Jesus is not a sort of spiritual shock treatment.  Jesus asks nothing of us without giving us the strength to perform it.  His commandment never seeks to destroy life, but to foster, strengthen, and heal it.”  – Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s The Cost of Discipleship

– Linda Tate