‘For how great is his goodness, and how great his beauty!’ Zechariah 9:17
I am so grateful for ‘His kindness that has led to repentance’ in my life over the past 12 weeks. Back to back pregnancies, unwise choices, and justification of sin (gluttony, laziness, poor stewardship) left me the heaviest I have ever been and unfit for kingdom work. Through the faithful conviction of the Spirit, I was resolved to get the weight off and pursue holiness in all areas of my life as participants of ‘Radix’ were challenged to do in reading the Hole in our Holiness. The Lord has done so much work in my heart in regards to discipline and self-control but I wanted to focus this post on the most recent area the Lord has confronted me in, true beauty. Wait guys, don't close out this post just yet, there is much for all of us to learn in regards to this subject and your sisters need help in affirming what the Lord deems beautiful. So what is true beauty? Do we know what the Bible has to say about beauty and how does that fit with the way culture defines beauty? As a child of God, how can I obey the Beautiful One in my appearance and character?
We all believe that beauty is essential to happiness: women pursue that beauty and men pursue beautiful women. That sentence doesn't seem all that bad unless we allow the Bible to define beauty and not allow even a hint of the culture to influence. The Bible does not say physical beauty is bad or that it is sinful to make ourselves beautiful. Instead, it tells us how to make ourselves beautiful by first considering the author and creator of beauty. In Carolyn Mahaney’s book True Beauty she describes many ways we can marvel at the beauty of God: His beauty is eternal (James 1:17), His loveliness and attractiveness is indescribable (Rev. 1:16), His power topples nations and flashes lightning (Job 36:30), His wisdom means that he knows all things (Job 12:13), His holiness is what the angels sing of as they gaze unceasingly upon the beauty of the Lord (Rev. 4:8), His goodness sends rain upon the evil and the good (Psalm 119:68), and His justice is beautifully strong, steadfast, and immovable (Duet. 32:4). Through the transforming power of the gospel we are free to gaze upon and see the beauty of the Lord as it is described above. And truly once we see God’s beauty, we will never see beauty the same again. Mahaney declares this truth over and over throughout her book, ‘true beauty is to behold and reflect the beauty of God.’ I read that sentence over and over after immediately highlighting it and knew that the Lord was doing work in my heart…it was that simple- behold Him and show him off! So yes, I was thinking the same thing you are all thinking: how do I do that?
As beautiful women, we need to reflect the beauty of God in every aspect of our life, representing him in our appearance and our character. We seek to glorify God in our heart attitude, how we care for our body, what we wear and how we make ourselves beautiful. And men, you are strongly encouraged to pursue the ‘beautiful women’ described above. Evaluate your heart, motives and daily decisions based on that description; Does your appearance reflect God’s beauty? Would those people who know you best describe your character as one that reflects the beauty of the Lord? Does God receive glory by the way you care for your body (Rom. 12:1)?
After personal evaluation throughout my journey I kept coming back to the same question, how do I appropriately care for my body without becoming obsessed with how I look? Mahaney made it very clear, ‘we must steward our bodies for service to Christ.’ As Romans 12:1 declares my body is meant to be a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is my worship! Clearly the Lord did work in my heart in regards to stewardship and continues to do so. My weight loss goal still remained a number but the heart motives behind that number changed; wake up renewed and refreshed each day to spend time with my King, energy throughout the day to serve my family sacrificially, faithful to serve tirelessly in college ministry, and free to give myself away to whomever or whatever the Lord asks of me. I had no idea God had all this work to do in my heart when I embarked on this journey but I am so thankful He brought me to repentance quickly. If the Spirit is doing any work in your heart as you read through some of these questions, stop and do some personal evaluation, repent, and pursue righteousness. Our gracious heavenly Father already made us beautiful through the blood shed on the cross but desires that we now reflect that beauty to a dying world and grow in treasuring the true Beautiful One.