Greetings to all attending the national Church of God conference this week. May you be refreshed and inspired!
One day when I was at work I sensed beauty everywhere I went. Not just a little but a lot. I thought it was because of others praying or maybe because of sharing the Lord with people (beautiful feet) but after pondering this for a while I now believe when the Holy Spirit goes with a believer there is a sense of beauty that signifies God’s presence. Out of curiosity I decided to research this further. I learned that Esther, Vashti, David, Bathsheba, Abigail, Absalom and others were described as beautiful. (Pastor Garrett preached on Sunday about Rachel’s beauty in contrast to Leah’s. Leah’s disabilities and rejection scarred her but her relationship to/from the Lord healed her rejection when she praised. Her focus changed when she stopped looking at herself and realized God was seeing her. Talk about a timely word! It was so fitting with this topic and no one knew what I was studying except for the Lord.) I discovered that the Bible says that beauty is fleeting, vain, outward and that things can be beautiful such as flocks, rods, temples, gates, garments, crowns and even a city – Zion. The Bible warns against fleeting beauty and lusting after it.
As we drove away from the church, I tapped Left Brain on the arm and said, you must feel really blessed since you get the best of both worlds. You even get to be buried by me. We were laughing and he said, “yes, but let’s wait on that for awhile.” I’m glad we will one day see the beauty of Heaven and the King and not have to look forever on our dry old dusty bones or six feet of mud on top of us. Truly our futures are beautiful. Glory to glory not ashes to dust.
There is also the opposite – Satan was beautiful, but only for a season. Men can lust after beauty and women can use it to seduce. The Old Testament warns against going after outward beauty. The New Testament describes the Pharisees and scribes that were beautiful on the outside but had dead bones within!
In Ecclesiastes 3:11 we are told that God has made everything beautiful in His time – so beauty does have a timeline. Oil of Olay has said that for years. Unlike Oil of Olay however, Gods work seems to make things MORE beautiful as time goes by. He is the author of beauty and making things beautiful. Not some things or some ones but God has made EVERYTHING beautiful in His time. That sounds pretty fool proof doesn’t it? God creates beauty on the inside, He forms and fashions it and develops it along the way.
We recently watched “I Feel Pretty” and boy did that movie bring back memories. Self-esteem in women is often attached to our external appearance. It was during college when I was selling beauty products that I had my “most beautiful moment”. One day I was walking through the St. Paul mall area in my new Estee Lauder uniform, high heels, long blond hair flowing in the wind and heads were turning everywhere. I felt like a million bucks. When I got to the cosmetic counter where I worked I put away my purse and one of the other girls who worked there (who looked like a Brazilian Princess) smiled and flippantly said, “nice nylons” and walked off. Her compliment seemed a bit odd. I heard giggles in the next bay and then much to my horror, as I looked in the mirror saw a pair of full length navy blue pantyhose velcroed to the back of my outfit. I had laid my outfit out on the bed that morning and they must have stuck to the starch or something. There they dangled, like a silly cape. Then I realized I had not only walked- but glided through several stores as if on a runway with navy nylons flying behind me. No wonder heads were turning! Oh well, before the deflated ego had come, there were a few moments of incredible joy. For a few brief moments I had felt totally confident, ready and well put together. My security was increasing as I read Joyce Meyer books and studied women’s studies about self- worth. I guess that day I got a little carried away! I have felt beautiful since that time but now it is generally when I’ve felt God’s presence or enjoyed time in His word. Time, family and gravity have a way of changing a woman’s measurement of being “all that”. I have friends, freckled from the sun with dark brown aging spots that say they look on their arms, wrinkles and journey and feel beautiful after having weathered much of life. They now see their spots as “trophies of grace” while loving their family and feel incredibly beautiful-now more than ever. I wonder if there are seasons of internal beauty for women that never get talked about while younger generations wrestle with shape, plastic surgeries and Botox? When the most talked about woman changed from mother Theresa to Kim Kardashian did we lose something of real beauty?
In Isaiah 8:2 it says that the Branch would be beautiful in that day. Not just slap on some jewels or foundation or beautiful garments. Not just do this or that but the Branch would be beautiful. Not just on days He got rest or beauty sleep. Not just on days that everything went well but the Branch would be beautiful. As a being. It reminded me of the verses in Exodus 35:
35 “He has filled them with skill to do all kinds of work as engravers, designers, embroiderers in blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen, and weavers—all of them skilled workers and designers.” When God moved among His people, He filled them and the result of that filling was that they created space that was beautiful – something that reflected and glorified the God that filled the space within them.
Beauty that comes from God resides in His Son and the Spirit poured out in His people. It doesn’t stop there, it grows, creates, spins and pours out skills, designs, engravings and coverings that are beautiful. IF God so clothes the fields, if He so beautifully designs His temple then would He also not lavishly design, in a beautiful way, His people– together?
Art, dance, music, drama, silk and satin, flowers and fragrance are mere representations of a loving, creating God making all things beautiful. His beauty lasts, inward, extending and multiplying. It draws attention and glory to the Holy One, not the recipients of momentary splashes of color.
Psalm 96 says, ‘9 O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness: fear before Him, all the earth.”
That beauty comes from following solely, completely and blamelessly the King of Kings. It comes from seeking Him as our source, denying all others. If true beauty is connecting with God with a pure heart why do we seek beauty in a jar of cream? If beauty of holiness arises from single devotion to Yahweh, why do we look for it in the gym or perhaps in a bar? Maybe because we can’t direct it, we can only posture ourselves before the Master Artist and allow Him to paint over the canvas we have set before Him?
Beauty that lasts, beauty that increases over time, beauty that glorifies the Creator comes from one place only – Jesus. The kind of beauty that flows out like the ocean tide, washing away our vileness, happens only as the Lord washes over our souls. That’s beauty you can drink in, freely given. Golden girls – can’t touch that. Runway models can’t wear that. Photo-shopped playmates – can’t buy that. It doesn’t come from a serum or vendor but an ugly, twisted, blood stained cross where the ugliness of the entire world sat on the shoulders of the pierced one. Yes, beauty rests on Him, in Him and through Him.
That’s where all that was wrong became all that was right.
That reposition, restructure and redemption gained the title once and for all – beautiful One, the blessed and blessing One of the Lord and we became His beautiful Bride, with beautiful songs and beautiful feet.
Husband (Joe) adds in that there were biblical men that got a makeover – the disciples with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration. They weren’t radiant from anything they had done but looking on the One God delighted in – “listen to Him”. That encounter left them all glowing.
Self-esteem is kind of a popular buzz word. Jesus is an eternal Savior, confidence (temple) builder and beautifier. Focus on HIM. Learn from HIM. Drink in HIM… the One who makes all things beautiful… in His time. As we worship Him in the beauty of HIS holiness, we will reflect Him and day after day walk and talk and look like Him.