So it’s been a while. Things have been busy, and I haven’t felt much like writing. But I’ve had a few thoughts on my mind the past few days.

I am about to make a pretty serious confession. I only ask that anyone reading this will not use this information against me in any way. Here it goes: I watch TLC’s “What Not to Wear”, a lot. Wow…I can’t believe I just admitted that on the internet. I hope your thoughts f me have not been effected too drastically. I am totally secure in my manhood, but I enjoy watching “What Not to Wear”.

Don’t get me wrong – I don’t really watch it for fashion tips. They have mostly women on there anyway. But I find several things fascinating. I just love seeing how severely atrocious these people’s wardrobes are. They try and try and try, but no matter what they do, they just get it wrong. They don’t know how to dress there bodies in a way that is age-appropriate, respectable, and not distracting. The further they get in life, the worse their style gets. They just don’t know what to do.

And then Stacy and Clinton come along and work a near-miracle. They point out where the women went wrong in their styles, size selection, etc. They completely purge the closets of these fashion mishaps, and then give them $5000 to spend on an entirely new wardrobe – according to the rules which Stacy and Clinton set.

So why do I like watching this show? To be honest, I find the responses of these women fascinating. They are caught completely off guard, in front of all their family and friends; they are told that their clothes suck; they have to part with all their old clothes and find new ones. Basically, their entire outward persona is changing. The old is ripped away, and the new is forced upon them. I’ve noticed that most women fit into three categories when it comes to how they respond to all these changes.
First, there are those that completely accept it. They know their style is bad. They know they have no fashion sense. They just need help and are eager and willing to follow the rules set by Stacy and Clinton.
Second, there are those that are extremely hesitant to change. They feel comfortable in their t-shirts and sweatpants. They know they need to change, they just don’t want to. They are reluctant to try new things. They put up a fight, but in the end they give in and submit.
Third, (and most entertaining) are those women who are completely satisfied with they sense of style. They don’t think there is anything wrong with the way they dress even though they are an embarrassment to their family and friends. They fight tooth and nail against any sort of change. They are bitter and cynical throughout the entire process.

Interestingly enough, there is usually little variation in the final result – after Nick and Carmindy do hair and makeup. The women look like completely different people. Hardly recognizable from their former pictures and video footage. Not only do they look completely different and better, but nearly all of them have a new sense of confidence and self-esteem. They feel like they are free to truly be themselves. They don’t feel restrained by this new set of fashion rules, but rather they are set free to truly let the real “them” show through. No matter how easy or difficult the process was for them, the results are 99% the same across the board.

In the beginning God created… Wow. God, some ultimate, powerful, artistic force created. God is a creator. More accurately, he is the Creator. He created in the beginning – before time, before life, before human thought, before anything. He is always Before, he is aways Prior. He is. Plain and simple. He is, and the I AM created. And all the things he created were, and are, good. Then he created man – the climax, the pinnacle of his creation – and man was very good. God is spirit. Land, water, sun, moon, stars, animals are all physical. Man is both. Man was the overlap between earth (the physical realm) and heaven (God’s realm). But then man messed up. Man was given the chance to live in the presence of God here on earth, but he blew it. And it was all downhill from there. Ever since we have been plagues by the consequenses – sickness, death, sorrow, torment, reality television. And ever since we have deemed “human nature” as essentially corrupted.

But what is human nature. And why should it be any different than other nature. The nature of trees is to do tree things – sprout buds, leaf out, bear fruit, loose their leaves, repeat. The nature of a cow is to do cow things – grow, moo, give milk, make more cows, etc. The nature of a rock is to do rock things – um…you get the point. But we say the “nature” of humans is to do human things – lie, cheat, steal, envy, gossip, be lazy, hate, fight, bicker, lust, rebel. It’s not fair. One little mistake and suddenly all of human nature gets a bad rap. But isn’t the nature of something the way it was originally intended to be? So were humans originally ment to be evil and corrupt to the very core? Of course not! We were created to live in continuous connection with God – to walk with him, talk with him, and everything else that old song says.

So why do we always take the cop-out that something evil is simply human nature? When we sin, is it only human nature or, to quote C.S. Lewis, are we not being “human enough”?

In the beginning God created. Shortly after the beginning, we messed up. And we’ve been plagued by the myth of a corrupted “human nature”. Yes, sin abounds. And yes, as soon as we commit that sin we are separated from God and his eternal glory. His original creation has strayed slightly off course. But listen to this:

This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD : “Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him. Then the word of the LORD came to me: “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter does?” declares the LORD. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.”
Jeremiah 18:1-6

God desires nothing more than to reshape us, retore us, and bring us back into his original purpose and intent for us. He tried constantly to do this with Israel, but now he desires that very same thing for all of his creation. In fact, he wants to do exactly what this potter is doing. It’s still the same lump of clay, but he has to smash it down, soften it up, pinch, pull, twist, push, and sculpt it into the final, finished beautiful product.

In the beginning God created.

Fast forward to the gospel according to John – In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. Through him all things came into being, and without him nothing has come into being. That which has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of men….And the word became flesh and pitched his tent among us, and we beheld his glory…

This man, Jesus, came to earth from God in the form of man. In him dwelt all the fullness of God. He did not regard eqality with God as something to hold on to, but he shelved his divine-ness and became a man. But not just any man. He was the perfect man. He was more of a man than any man had ever been. He was the man that Adam was intended to be. He came to show us how to do it. God made him who knew no sin to become sin for us (on the cross as he was crucified) so that we might become the righteousness of God in him. Reconciliation, redemption, justification, holiness, constant communication with God – this is the “new” human nature in the Christ Jesus.

What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. -Romans 6:1-7

Christ’s death allows our old definition of “human nature” to be thrown out the window. No longer are we trapped in the cycle of sin and death, but rather forgiveness and life. Freedom, hope, joyfulness. This is the “new” human nature. In the beginning God created, but he has not stopped creating today. In fact he is busy making all sorts of new creations:

For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. – 2 Corinthians 5:14-19

In the beginning God created. He is still creating today. He is taking people who have gotten this whole “human” thing horribly wrong. He finds them, sometimes surprises them, and gives them the chance to set their lives right. The only catch is that they have to go by his rules. We all ignored the rules once, and look where that got us. But before he can start the transformation he must first clear out all the junk in our closets. All the hurt and the pain, all the rebelion and the unfaithfulnes, all the envy and the strife. Everything must go. It hurts, it’s painful, but it must be done. We cannot be allowed to carry any of that junk over into our new lives.

He then gives us rules and guidlines to follow. He has even given us the perfect example to imitate – his son Jesus. He’s the only one who ever got this whole “human” thing down, and now he wants to help us. It will be tough. Creating is a difficult process, especially on the thing being created. We may go about it willingly – knowing that we need to be smashed down and reshaped into something beautiful. Or we may go kicking and screaming, fighting it out until the very end. But the end results are always the same. We find our lives more full of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control. Yes, we have certain rules, restrictions, and guidelines to follow, but these do not keep us from being ourselves. On the contrary, they allow us to become the humans we were originally intended to be.

In the beginning God created. God is a creator, an artist, a sculptor, an architect, a poet. He’s in the business of creating beautiful things, and his job is no where near complete. His greatest desire is to reshape, rework, and renew the old into something new, better, holy.

In the beginning…When will your new beginning be?