Don’t Exchange Your Beauty For Ashes

       The world is preoccupied with beauty, and celebrates it on all fronts. This is a good thing (on the surface)!  Presently, people do all manner of modifications to their bodies to attain what they perceive as beautiful. In man’s quest for beauty, so many things have been pushed out of their natural or original parameters. The designs of things in the world are constantly changing and new ones come up; all to fit the bill of what is deemed beautiful at the time. This goes to show that beauty in this context is not long lasting and is subject to an individual’s perception of what beauty is. In Isaiah 60:3b, God promised us “…to give them a crown of beauty instead of ashes…” This means something is wrong with man’s perception of beauty. What man calls ‘beauty’ is actually ‘ash’! Since the beauty of the world is shining, tempting, appealing to the senses, it then follows that for something to be regarded as a beauty, it must be ‘flashy’. Looking at the composition of the word ‘flashy’, one could surmise that something that is ‘flashy’ is not meant to be permanent but would fade and disappear with time. ‘Ash’ in itself is weightless, unreal and easily blown away. The ash is a reminder of what was. 
       On the other hand, beauty in God is perfection (in and out), enduring, real and eternal. Jesus Christ is the epitome of this beauty! As a result, when we come to Him, and remain in Him, everything about us becomes beautiful: Our lives and our walk with Him. Some of the exhibits of this beauty is kindness, holiness, mercy, love, self-control: “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the herald, who proclaim peace, who brings news of good things, who proclaims salvation, who says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns’” (Isaiah 52:7).  Alas, most children of God don’t see this ‘ash’ in their everyday activities. They have been sidetracked and hoodwinked by how shining the ash is. They are then dragged into the unreal activities of the world, of which the end result is temporal, of no eternal value to them. Daily, the enemy presents the ‘ash’ of the world to the children of God in order to exchange it with the crown of beauty given to them by God. People like Eve, Achan, Gehazi, Judas, the Prodigal son, Demas and so many to this day exchanged and are exchanging the crown of beauty for ash because it was and is flashy! Christ was presented with it as well, but He saw the ‘ash’ for what it was and He rejected it: “Then the devil took Him up to a high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the habitable world in a moment of time [in the twinkling of an eye]. And he said to Him, to You I will give all this power and authority and their glory (all their magnificence, excellence, preeminence, dignity and grace), for it has been turned over to me, and I give it to whoever I will, therefore if You will do homage to and worship me [just once], it shall all be Yours. And Jesus replied to him, Get behind Me satan!...” (Luke 4:6-8a, AMP). 
       Beloved, when one loses sight of the goal (Jesus Christ) as a result of the desires of the flesh, an exchange will take place. Every step taken thereafter is wrong and the results wrong! So many entered marriages, jobs, relationships, took all manner of decisions, live lifestyles based on the ‘ash’ presented to them by the enemy. Now, they are plagued with all manner of insecurities because their decisions were based on a lie! So many are in the congregation (from the pulpit to the pew) wearing crowns of ash instead of crowns of beauty. Beloved, ash always leads to discontent, regret and loss in all spheres of life. Just as satan came to Jesus to display the ‘ash’ of the world in a twinkling of an eye, despite their ‘shining’, Jesus said ‘NO’! So must we! You cannot hold on to the two, neither can you try to balance it. Ash is a mark and a symbol of death, and whatever is of ash will eventually die and fade away! Beloved, as the year draws to a close, and as we await the coming of our Lord, let us reassess our stand: Reclaim the crown of beauty if we had lost it, and if we still have it, to hold firmly to it by staying focused and devoted to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ – Beauty Personified. God bless you as you take time out to search, address and readdress this issue in your life!

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