What is true Beauty? What does it mean to be beautiful?
Perfect Beauty: God
Psalms 50:2-12 From Zion, perfect in beauty, God shines forth.
Beauty seen in his Word: Sacrificial love, forgiveness, the small moments, the lowly things, serving others, the light that illuminates from the face of someone who knows the great love of God, that is beautiful, that is true beauty.
What is beautiful in the sight of man, is not what God thinks is beautiful. Something I have been struggling with my entire life is image. It is ironic because if there is one thing I have always been told it is that I am beautiful, in fact that is usually the first thing people say…I grew up wanting to be more than beautiful, I wanted to be called smart, funny, kind, but please anything but beauty defining me. It is funny that the very word I came to loathe, was something I discovered that had been the root of a constant striving throughout my entire life, and in recent years a blind spot I wasn’t aware of… sometimes unknowingly I have placed importance on beauty and let the unattainable view of the world define my joy. Throughout the past months I found myself asking why? What is God’s definition of beauty, and why don’t I believe his word and what it says is important? You see the conflict. The ugly truth, I am consumed by what the world thinks is sacred…the beautiful. You see the irony in this all…So today at 37, being heavier than I ever have, having some sort of weird mask on my face, having had several iron infusions, surgery, tired, weary, youth fading, and lacking in beauty I have a choice to make… Do I chose panic or FREEDOM? These are the thoughts of my continued journey to freedom from the world and what it holds as sacred.
Beauty is defined by the world as attractive in outward appearance. Beauty as defined by Merriam-Webster Dictionary is this:
the quality or aggregate of qualities in a person or thing that gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit : LOVELINESS
a woman of great physical beauty
exploring the natural beauty of the island
A thing of beauty is a joy forever …
Beautiful: having qualities of beauty : exciting aesthetic pleasure
Aesthetic: pleasing in appearance : ATTRACTIVE
Biblical example in line with worlds definition: 1 Kings 1:4
The woman was very beautiful; she took care of the king and waited on him, but the king had no sexual relations with her.
Do I believe the worlds definition of beautiful or Gods? What does God see as beautiful? Is that even important to him? I remind my self of what he said to Samuel about David in 1 Samuel 16:7:
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
I want to like the people of the book, Gods people, who see beauty in what is Sacred and Holy. I am beginning to learn the importance of cherishing what is holy, and that is where true beauty is found. I first had to embark on finding out how God defined beauty, or what he thinks is important on the subject. In my travels to Israel this summer, we sat on the steps of Caesarea Maritima, and I heard Rods words echo throughout the amphitheater, “when did we buy into the lie that what is sacred or Holy is Beautiful? When did we stop seeing individuals who live a life holy devoted to God (sacred) as beautiful?” I had fallen victim to believing another lie, and I didn’t know it…This is where the journey began, to relearn what my God thinks is beautiful. Did I believe what he says about me? Did I see myself the way He sees me? I always say to my kids, you believe it all, or you believe none of it, and I found myself eating my own words.
Where to begin? What did Jesus focus on while he spent is short 33 years on earth? Was he himself beautiful (does that really even matter)? How many times is beauty or beautiful used in the Bible? His word says in Isaiah 53:2 he had no beauty to attract us to him:
He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
If God created his one and only son to have no beauty or majesty, what does that tell you about what is important to God? What did he live for? Who did he glorify? What and who do I glorify? And am I unwilling to be truthful?
What was God’s only son Jesus’ focus? Us, to Love and sacrificially give himself up for us.
What did he live for? Others
Who does Jesus glorify? His Father.
Times beautiful is used in the NIV (search on Olive Tree Bible): 67
I know this at a very minimum without diving into his word, Jesus lived a humbled and selfless existence. He was born in a cave, placed in a family of a stone carpenter, and died a criminals death. The very thing he lived for is so different to what I find my self inundated with every moment of the day in our current culture. In his world self glorification meant nothing, in my world it means everything (Instagram, Facebook, and Blogging ironically). If I live to improve my status, be aesthetically pleasing to the world, well it means I am serving the world, serving man, and not God. Jesus says this about self glorification:
Jesus replied, “If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me.
In His word, only one who is deserving of Glory is our creator, God. TRUE BEAUTY is not seeking glory for self, but seeking the things above. In everything we do and say our goal should be to honor our Father in Heaven.
So today, who and what do I let define me? Do I fear him and put my hope in him as Psalm 147 says:
His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse, nor his delight in the legs of the warrior; the Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.
Do I hear his voice louder than all the others? Do I belong to him or the world?
Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.”
If this is true, which it is, then a times I belong to another kingdom…When I hear these words echo in my mind: you are getting old, your are getting wrinkles, you are overweight, if you only looked like this, you are just a mom…When I believe these lies, when I allow the voice of others words sting me, I have a problem, I am allowing the worlds view of what beauty is warp my mind. I have to stand firm, and renew my mind with what is true. The magnificent truth of God. The truth is this: what God thinks is important and beautiful, is not what I always value as important or beautiful. So I ask myself this question today: do I belong to God if I don’t believe his truth about who HE SAYS I AM? When I allow the other voice to scream louder than the Holy Spirit Of God, I take out the weapons I have: the word of God, which is truth, and let it define me. When I am in in Gods word less than I am inundated with the things of this world, when I get my truth more from the world than his word – that voice gets louder. Guilty as charged. So, let’s focus on his truth today. Before we head there I want to say, I struggle with this it is very hard, because beautiful as sacred everywhere we look, even in the church, because let’s face it – it has always been this way. So hang with me, it’s tough very tough. Bold Disclaimer: I like taking care of myself, working out, eating healthy, wear makeup, love clothing…as I age, I realize more than ever before what a premium I have placed on all these things, sometimes without even knowing it. This is a process of getting the world out, and letting God’s word renew my mind and value system. So if there’s a hypocrite, it is me, I struggle with this daily. Here is the truth I have found and daily renew my mind with:
TRUE BEAUTY: I am beautiful because I am created in HIS IMAGE.
Genesis 1:27 So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
TRUE BEAUTY: I am not my past, I am forgiven, renewed by my creator.
and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.
TRUE BEAUTY: I am loved. My beauty is not from clothing myself with the latest trends (although I love them), but with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Forgiving others when they hurt those I love, hurt me, speak out against me or what I believe in…Being love to all because I know how much I am loved.
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
TRUE BEAUTY: SETTING MY MIND AND FOCUS ON THINGS ABOVE: Who I am in Christ matters more than who the world tells me I am.
Living as Those Made Alive in Christ
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
Beauty of the World: letting beautiful people be sacred. The world defines what my beauty is: youth, pretty face, thinness is godliness.
TRUE BEAUTY: I am chosen and am designed for a specific plan.
For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding,
Beauty of the World: The world defines my success. I have to pave my own path and make myself known to the world.
TRUE BEAUTY: Only caring what Gods’ word says about self and life.
Romans 7:25: Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.
Beauty of the world: Pleasing men, and being a slave to sin.
Am I Trying to attain what is acceptable to the world at 37 years old?: Galatians 1:10 Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.
TRUE BEAUTY: I am called by grace and he is pleased with me.
But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace, was pleased
TRUE BEAUTY: Christ in me
2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
TRUE BEAUTY: I am radiant and have no shame. My past does not define who I am.
Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.
TRUE BEAUTY: I love who God created me to be, knowing I was purposed and made exactly way he wanted me to be. I don’t need to be more, I have all I need in him – I lack nothing.
Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. Fear the Lord, you his holy people, for those who fear him lack nothing.
Beauty of the world: I need more to make myself important (more can be things, or thinner, everyone has a more).
TRUE BEAUTY: I am beautiful when I am humble, blameless, faithful, and live righteously. He is always with me. Psalms 34:18-19
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all;
My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.
The Lord detests those whose hearts are perverse, but he delights in those whose ways are blameless.
2 Samuel 22:21-22
“The Lord has dealt with me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he has rewarded me. For I have kept the ways of the Lord; I am not guilty of turning from my God.
2 Samuel 22:26-28
“To the faithful you show yourself faithful, to the blameless you show yourself blameless, to the pure you show yourself pure, but to the devious you show yourself shrewd. You save the humble, but your eyes are on the haughty to bring them low.
Beauty of the world: Prideful and elitist.
TRUE BEAUTY: Keeping your tongue from evil – speaking blessing.
Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days, keep your tongue from evil and your lips from telling lies.
Beauty of the world: Saying whatever I want when I feel like it…(I am guilty, so guilty, I am slowly being refined by his grace alone)
TRUE BEAUTY: I am holy because I am washed in Christ.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word
Beauty of the world: I am holy because of how I look.
TRUE BEAUTY: Serving others before yourself
Ephesians 6:7 Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people,
Beauty of the world: Serving self.
TRUE BEAUTY: Living in the His strength and submitting to the desires of the Holy Spirit (Giving your Inner Being Strength)
Inner being: Ephesians 3:16
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,
Message: Ephesians 3:16
I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength—
God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.
Beauty of the world: Living in your own power and for the desires of the flesh
So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?
What is Beauty as God sees it? Is beauty not this Colossians 3:12
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
What version of beautiful are you living for? Do you live for what the world defines as beauty or what God declares is important? Is the pursuit of holiness even on your radar? Have you fallen into the worlds trap like I have? What are you living for? If nothing can be added or taken from your life, what are you striving for? To please God with you Heart… Or men with your outer appearance?
I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him. Whatever is has already been, and what will be has been before; and God will call the past to account.
After pondering this question over and over all summer and now into fall I struggle with health issues, a fading body, here today and gone tomorrow… I ask myself the question, and I ask you the reader the question: What does God call us to be? Beautiful or Holy? Leviticus 11:44a calls you and I to be holy:
I am the Lord your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy…
After all this research I have yet to hear him say I call you daughter of mine to be beautiful…Our beauty is from living a life holy devoted to him in action and word. He does call me to be Holy, Kadosh – קָדוֹשׁ it is clear that is important to him. Holy is used 552 times in the NIV Bible. What I do know is that He calls me to set myself apart. If I fall into the worlds trap of believing that what is sacred and holy is a beautiful exterior, that is not holy. If I set myself apart, live in the grace, mercy, redemption, and truth of God…when I believe what he says is true and see myself as he sees me, that is BEAUTIFUL.
Others words used in NIV text:
Set apart 30
Use of Beautiful or Beauty:
Fruit of the land: