“Give me one good reason I shouldn’t be angry with you right now,” my wife said in the throes of a heated argument.
“Because I’m cute,” I replied, hoping to diffuse the tension of the moment, and it did.
“Well you do look a little like Bill Murray,” she said, and that’s something I’ve known for a while, ever since I saw a picture of him on the cover of Esquire magazine in 1998 and thought I was looking at myself. The older I get, the more I look like the guy, especially in a Santa hat. I’m not sure that means anything at all except that some people look kind of funny just being themselves. Bill Murray is one of those people.
But then Marti capped it off by repeating something an old friend of ours used to say all the time: “But why be cute when you’re already beautiful?”
I must admit I love that phrase and there is a lot of truth to it — a lot of new covenant reality even, you might say. If “beautiful” is the way God made us (and I believe it is), and “cute” is our own version of trying to be beautiful (because we don’t believe we already are) then there is hardly a truer statement.
The new covenant is you and me with Christ in us. The old covenant is you and me trying to be beautiful. It might be trying to be someone else, or trying to be what we think we should be, but if it’s any departure from who we truly are, it’s only going to be cute, because there will be something inauthentic about it.
It will also be tiring. The old covenant takes effort. You are maintaining a version of yourself, not just being yourself. The new covenant is you being you, and letting the chips fall where they may. There is a makeover going on, but Christ is in charge of it, not us. Being in charge of your own makeover is tedious work. Having Christ in you is a relief. The makeover is happening in spite of you.
So there you have it …
The old covenant: cute.
The new covenant: beautiful.
Why be cute when you’re already beautiful?
A change is happening on the inside
And it makes no sense for me to hide
What I don’t want you to see
Everything that lies inside me
‘Cause amidst the mess I’ve made of me
You might see the Lord
‘Cause He’s in the moving
Got a knife and He’s pruning
Cutting out the old man
Bringing in the new
And it’s foolish to fake it
So I’m letting Him take it
‘Cause He said I’d be like Jesus
When He’s finally through
– from the song, “Inside” by John Fischer