In the previous blog post we looked at how the culture displays images of beauty and how this creates a cultural definition of beauty. These definitions change according to what is going on within the culture, politics, history..and in the eyes and minds of each individual. These images of beauty are not helpful in making us feel beautiful. Because they are ever-changing, they are not obtainable.
But is this our only option? If we want to feel beautiful, do we have to upload these cultural images? Is there another way to obtain the beauty we long for? I believe there is…If we look at our God, who never changes, as our ideal image of beauty, we can define it, display it, and develop a sense of it- this beauty-within ourselves.
In exploring what beauty means from God’s perspective, I came across 4 main points:
1. GOD is beautiful
God made the heavens—
Royal splendor radiates from him,
A powerful beauty sets him apart. (Psalm 96:5-6)
For God is sheer beauty,
all-generous in love,
loyal always and ever. (Psalm 100:5)
The Bible tells us that God is beautiful…or even more than that, God IS beauty. He is not an example of beauty, but God is the definition of beauty! This beauty never changes, this standard never moves. Yes, the standard of beauty set forth in these verses is God. Whereas you may be saying to yourself, “I thought we were trying to get away from unrealistic expectations of beauty?!?!” This is where the next point comes in, unlike the unrealistic standards relayed by culture’s images of beauty, God’s standard of beauty IS available to us.
2. We are made in His image
Your vibrant beauty has gotten inside us—
you’ve been so good to us! (Psalm 89:17)
God’s beauty is inside us so, in essence, we are beautiful. I don’t know about you, but I find this extremely encouraging and uplifting. On those days when I might “feel” less than beautiful by culture’s standards, I can upload the image of God’s beauty inside of me. I can’t help but feel beautiful! I am smiling right now just thinking about the implications of this not just in my life, but the lives of so many of my friends who struggle with not looking like the world has told them they “should”.
Beloved…God is beauty and He is inside you…YOU are beautiful and with a beauty that will not change or fade…it is everlasting!!
Sometimes believing that we are beautiful is only part of our struggle. Even if we can grasp God’s beauty in us, we still long to hear from others that we are beautiful. We long to be noticed which is why we often go back to culture’s images. These images of beauty that are so predominately uploaded by the world around us make us crave for that same attention…we want our image to be “liked”! However, we cannot let whether others “comment” on our image determine its value. Our beauty does not depend on this. Even still, when I long to be noticed by others, I try to hold on to this next point:
3. GOD thinks we are beautiful
The King is enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for He is your Lord. (Psalm 45:11)
Other translations describe the king as longing for beauty, being wild about us! Even when others around me fail to see the beauty that God has placed in me…GOD sees me, He longs for my beauty…He is WILD for me! Just thinking about this is exciting…the same God that IS beauty, who shares it with me, takes great pleasure in me..he “likes” this image of beauty HE created. This picture of beauty in Him is not just available to me, but it is available to everyone who can say they are a “friend” of God. He is waiting to upload His image of beauty into your heart, your soul, your mind.
One thing that makes God’s definition of beauty so difficult to picture, to obtain, is that it has a different focus…this brings us to our final point for today:
4. GOD’s beauty in us is NOT physical
Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. (1 Peter 3:3-4)
This scripture does not tell us that outward adornment is not appropriate. Rather, it says that this adornment is not from where we draw our beauty…or at least not where we SHOULD derive it. The beauty described in this passage, I believe, is the description of GOD’s beauty in us…not physical, but that of the spirit, the heart. It is in this dwelling place, the heart, that God’s image of beauty rests in us. It is always there. It will never fade, droop, or fall away. Beauty, defined by God, displayed in all of His creation–including us, is developed in US by His Spirit.
So here’s the question. Are you ready to make the choice? Which definition of beauty are you reaching to obtain? The one that changes with the time or the one that stands eternal? We can choose to keep God’s images of beauty in the profiles of our thoughts and ignore culture’s false images. Just like we can “untag” or “ignore”– even “delete” images we do not like on our profiles, we can do the same about the images we receive from the culture. Instead we can upload and share the IMAGE of beauty that God has defined, displayed, and developed in us.