Ugly Houses

Yesterday was a perfect morning for walking. I started out about 7:15, just as the sun was starting to peek through the darkness of the night. I’ve been walking a new route through the neighborhood some, and yesterday’s walk was less about getting finished, and more about just being outside and talking to God. As I rounded a corner, I noticed an unusual house in the back part of the neighborhood. And by unusual, I mean it was ugly. There weren’t many windows, and it seemed like something was just missing. Walking a little farther. I noticed another ugly house, and then another one. It made me a little sad for all of these people who lived these houses, and also a little glad that at least these houses were hidden in the back of the neighborhood.

Then, just over the top of a hill, I caught a glimpse of it through the trees; sunlight glimmering on the surface. It was the lake. I’m a little slow, so it took me a few minutes before I realized the connection between the lake and the ugly houses. Every one of these neighbors had chosen to build their homes with the back toward the street, and the front toward the lake. The faces of their homes were turned away from the ordinary, the noisy, the chaotic, and turned toward the beauty of the lake.

God spoke to me there. Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” The writer of Hebrews tells us to fix our eyes on Jesus Christ. I’m done in by the word dwell from Philippians and the word fix from Hebrews 12. My problem is that I look at Jesus when I remember to, or when I’m worshiping, but far too often I let my gaze fall back on the everyday and the mundane. Or even worse for me, I begin to look at the waves of the storm all around me. But the command is there. I’m not just supposed to dwell on these things when I think about it or when I feel like it. I need to build my house facing the true, the honorable, the right, the pure, and the lovely. Ultimately that is all realized in Jesus. I want to be like those houses with my face turned toward the beauty of my Savior, and my back to the world–moving forward in the light of His goodness, His grace, and His mercy.

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