Sunday, July 22, 2007

Beauty for ashes


“to bestow upon them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair…” Isaiah 61:3

There was a season in my life when people kept coming to tell me that they could see beauty and fragrance coming out of me. Initially I did not take much notice of it but when more and more similar words came, I began to ponder and asked the Lord what it really meant.

There is a kind of beauty and sweetness that arises before the throne of God. It is not something which can be bought, nor something which can be obtained or created anyhow; but that beauty and fragrance only comes out of brokenness and worship.

Lets look at how the woman came to Jesus in worship.

“…a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on His head.” Mark 14: 3

“….and the house was filled with fragrance from the perfume..” John 12: 3

The woman, supposedly Mary the sister Lazarus and Jesus’ close friend, gave her best to the Lord. She came before Jesus in worship, broke the alabaster jar, only then the perfume poured out and filled the house with fragrance.

Then the LORD said to Moses, "Take fragrant spices—gum resin, onycha and galbanum—and pure frankincense, all in equal amounts, 35 and make a fragrant blend of incense, the work of a perfumer. Exodus 30:34-35

We all have brokenness in our lives, and we can choose whether to allow the brokenness to remain bitter, or to allow it to be released as sweet incense. Incense is made out of bitter ingredients, but when it is offered before God in worship, it becomes sweet incense, and what’s more; everyone present can smell the sweetness. When the sweetness of that fragrance rises out from your lives, the people around you can see it and that is what that attracts people’s attention.

It is definitely not easy to worship out of brokenness, but it is not impossible to do so. In fact, it is this kind of worship that really attracts God’s attention. God wants to give us beauty for ashes. He will not reject you because you have been broken by life’s circumstances, for

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart,
O God, you will not despise.

Psalm 51:17

Perfume stored in a perfect jar or vessel is only hold within the jar, and poured out only by choice. But when the vessel is broken and seemingly useless, the perfume in it will have to be poured out into other lives. Brokenness allows God’s love to be poured out to those we will not pour to. The more we give to others, the more God will refill our lives.

This sweetness and fragrance does not come easily; It comes from brokenness offered before God in worship. Do not allow your heart to remain bitter. Present your brokenness before God in worship, and you will see that fragrance and beauty coming out of you.

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