Holy Spirit Reflections on Beauty: A TOPICAL ISSUE FOR MOST PEOPLE!
We had a conversation with one of our kids recently about “beauty” and the endless striving for perfection in our world today. We discussed how there may be people in the natural who may seemingly have what we perceive as “imperfections” in their physical attributes, yet the beauty of what God placed inside of these “imperfect ones” shines through, and their beauty is beheld by those willing to go from the shallow waters of what is floating on the surface, taking a dive beyond to discover the depths of the treasures buried deep within another’s soul.
God loves each one of us with an everlasting love…. and in Psalm 45:11 God declares that “He delights in our beauty!”
The Song of Solomon (…which btw, if you want a steamy sex novel to read, there it is right in the middle of the Bible!….) shows the woman telling the one she loves that she is embarrassed about her “darkened skin from the sun, and her flaws from working too hard outside…”. The man who loves her (a picture of our Heavenly Father & Savior) proceeds to describe in great detail everything that he loves about her!
They say “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, but too often we view ourselves, and others, through the faulty lenses of erred perception about what beauty is. It is NOT what Vogue and Cover Girl say your are. Using their guidelines, most of us end up wanting to do just that: COVER GIRL! TRUE BEAUTY is found in the reflection of the One Who created you into one of His own Masterpieces. The One Who is altogether lovely now lives on the inside of me, and He is shining the bright light of His love outward toward a world who is starving to know how much He cares for them! If we truly knew how God sees us and how valuable we are to Him, there would be far fewer people struggling with their identity and their outward beauty! The Gaither’s do a song called PICTURE OF GRACE that describes this so well. I invite you to have a listen when you are done reading this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NdUmTvebCE4
I’ve met and known people in my life who lacked what we might call “beauty”, yet as they allowed me to see into their heart, I walked away thinking “what a beautiful person!” It makes 2 Corinthians 4:7 (ERV) more powerful, and make so much more sense to our finite minds:
“We have this treasure from God, but we are only like clay jars that hold the treasure. This is to show that the amazing power we have is from God, not from us.”
Our daughter, Caitlin, posted something on Facebook the other day about God using people who fail and are imperfect “cuz there aren’t any other kind.” Our perfection comes from Him. It is not something we earn, but a transforming of ourselves because of His power at work in us: An inside job, if you will. Cracked pots are used as lanterns because Light can only shine out of a cracked vessel. Like the woman in the Bible who “broke” the Alabaster Box to wash the Lord’s feet, it is only then that the priceless treasure of His healing balm inside of us can be poured out to those in need – the ones whom God has placed around us.
Women struggle with beauty far more than men. Why do you suppose that is? Because God put the attribute of His beauty in the woman. Yes…there are beautiful men, but the 7 characteristics of God was evenly distributed between man and woman: It is why when men and women join together AS ONE that we fully represent Him in the Earth. (reference Genesis….and beyond)
Satan is after that beauty because he was the first angelic being to possess such outrageous beauty. Note: It was not the beauty of the image of God. When he became prideful in his own beauty, he lost that beauty because He tried to exalt himself above God’s place and was cast down from his “lofty” position. Ever heard the expression “don’t get above your raisin’?” Pride and arrogance go before a fall!
Proverbs 16:18 “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.”
Since Satan is the father of lies and is ticked for having forfeited that beauty, he does the only thing he knows to do to attempt to destroy us: he lies “outrageously” to us about our “imperfections” -whether they be big or small, and gets us to compare ourselves to one another. Comparison is the devils game, while God sees each of us for the beautiful creation He made us to be IN HIM, going so far as to even number the individual hairs of our heads!
Francine Rivers is a wonderful Christian author who wrote a series called THE MARK OF THE LION -set in Rome during the days of the Gladiators and the persecution of early Christians at that time. The main character is HADASSAH, a beautiful Jewish girl taken into slavery and ends up in the house of a kind Roman family. Their son, Marcus, falls in love with her, but through a serious of tragic events she is reported for being a Christian and is taken to the arena and tossed to the lions. Amazingly, she lives and her body is taken by a doctor who was allowed to study the corpses at that time for the advancement of medicine. He had met Hadassah a few times before the attack and was saddened to see her being “thrown to the lions that day. However, as he comes back with the guards to check out which corpses he will take with him, he is surprised to find Hadassah still alive after the vicious attack upon her tiny little body! He doesn’t reveal to the guards that she is still alive, but rather indicates that he is in a hurry that day and has her body transported as quickly as possible to his quarters where he nurses her back to life. Her face is badly scarred and she walks with a limp now: This sounds much like our spiritual state before The Great Physician touched our lives!
Ironically, Hadassah ends up in the home of Marcus’s sister who is very ill. Marcus’s sister was the one who had Hadassah thrown to the lions, which Marcus does not know, but because Hadassah now wears a veil to cover her “ugliness” and with the limp of her crippled leg, Hadassah knows that no one will know it is her: Besides, no one ever dreamed she would survive! Marcus is still mourning Hadassah’s death after all this time, for she is the only woman he truly loved. Marcus encounters Hadassah while visiting his sick sister whom the doctor sent Hadassah to care for. Strangely, Marcus “feels” the special something he always felt with Hadassah every time he is around her, and he chastises himself for the craziness of those thoughts. Yet he wonders why it is that he longs to sit and talk with this quiet, veiled little woman all the time while his heart finds the joy of the relationship he had shared with the beautiful Jewish slave girl he fell in love with! Marcus has no reason to think it is Hadassah, because he believes she is dead, and Hadassah now goes by another name so as not to put the doctor at risk for saving the life of a Christian. Marcus is perplexed as to why he can’t wait to be with this mystery woman, and wonders at why she stirs in him the emotions of love that he had felt for Hadassah alone!? In an amazing depiction of God’s love for us, you see a miraculous turn of all the bad events this family endures to bring about heart changes in them all.
I love happy endings, and YES – – Eventually, Marcus figures it out…..and he goes to the house of the doctor who has by now also fallen in love with Hadassah because of her “beauty”, but knows her heart belongs to Marcus, the young Roman. The crowning scene where Marcus meets with Hadassah in the front room of the doctors small quarters brought about the beginning of a paradigm shift toward freedom for me personally concerning my inability to see my own beauty.
TRANSPARENT MOMENT: In many ways – I was relating with Hadassah because of the physical beauty I had lost as a result of a medical error of 15 years prior. That coupled with the lies of “comparison” spoken to me even prior to that by my first husband, I could not see the beauty God had blessed me with. Mark felt frustrated many times when I would scoff at his compliments, but God was about to begin destroying the stronghold of lies the enemy had built in my heart about how I “looked” on the outside through Marcus’s words to Hadassah in this meeting.
Marcus declares his love to Hadassah, and reveals to her that he knows who she is. She asks him how he can then love her now, knowing what she must look like. He does not answer, but rather asks her to remove her veil. The picture of Marcus’s adoring eyes upon Hadassah as she cowers in shame and embarrassment while he goes to her with eyes of tenderness and adoration fixed upon her, he then touches the scars on her face as he kisses her and declares that he has grown to love her even more now. He confesses how he was continually drawn to “the same beauty she had always possessed when he first fell in love with her” as she cared for his dying sister. I sobbed like a baby as I read that, and felt the Father’s adoring eyes upon me reminding me of the “beauty” He had placed within me – Jeanie – that I nearly allowed the enemy to steal the knowledge of through his lies, rather than believing what God says about me!
This morning, as I re-read the Kris Vallotton post I shared yesterday on Facebook concerning the outward scars of “ugliness” upon the old where God hides His treasures of wisdom, I was reminded once again of the perverted view most of us have about our outward appearance. Let’s take another look:
BEGIN KVM EXCERPT: “The wounds of a warrior are badges of honor. The weathered skin of the aged, are walls bathed in wisdom. Those who limp have gained patient insights into the paths of life. Scars on the reconciled heart are monuments to the Maker’s miracles.
To the young, untrained, and inexperienced, these are ugly flaws, disqualifying marks of life’s failures and/or aging irrelevance; disposable people, who often are hidden away in homes or forced into obscurity by the blindly ambitious, ignorant, and insecure people.
Yet God often hides the greatest treasures in the twilight years of people’s lives when they can no longer perform. Here the arrogant, and the over confident would never think to look.
These treasures can only be unearthed through holy humility and heaven’s parchments. So for most, these treasures will be buried and forgotten…marked by stones…and visited with flowers on occasion. Sometimes it’s easier to pay your respects to the dead than it is to actually value the living.” #kvm (END KVM EXCERPT)
I love the way Kris writes! All of it is so powerfully descriptive, but this line screams out to me: “To the young, untrained, and inexperienced, these are ugly flaws…”
How often I have judged another for being too overweight, too skinny, not caring for their skin or hair……and I know I’m not alone: C’mon……we all have done that! Yet “The weathered skin of the aged are walls bathed in wisdom. Those who limp have gained patient insights into the paths of life. Scars on the reconciled heart are monuments to the Maker’s miracles.”
PRAYER: Father, may we search for love as you do, with the heart, rather than the eyes….and look beyond the outer surface of the broken vessel, to the treasures you’ve hidden within each of us…..especially ourselves! May we find beauty in what You call beautiful and beloved, and may we “be glad and rejoice forever in that which you have created!” Isaiah 65:18
May we stop finding fault with the beauty of our creation, and be thankful for the beauty of Your image You have bestowed upon us. May the world see Your beauty shining out of us and may they walk away knowing they have encountered the Love of God, not because of what they saw with their physical eyes, but the richness of Your glory that dwells within us! Then, and only then, will we experience beauty at the epitome of Your purpose!
I love each and every one of you BEAUTIES out there! May you receive eyes today to see yourself through the eyes of the One Who sees your beauty and your imperfections and still thinks you are altogether lovely!
From the Unforced Rhythms of His Grace,
Afterthought: My current ability to see my beauty is still a work in progress, but I thank God for the man (my husband Mark) who speaks God’s truth over me daily, and see’s me with the eyes Marcus had for Hadassah!
I HIGHLY RECOMMEND The Mark of the Lion Trilogy: It is sooo worth the read! ❤