Thursday, June 26, 2014

Borrowed Beauty

“And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us…” Psl. 90:17
The word “beauty” is not found in the New Testament; and “beautiful” is only used to describe sepulchers (Matt. 23:27) and as the name of a gate (Acts 3). Paul refers back to Isaiah 52:7, where proclaimers of the good news of salvation are said to have beautiful feet (Rom. 10:15). Other than that, physical attractiveness does not seem to be of any particular importance or advantage to the followers of Jesus on this earth or the early Church saints. Let me be clear; I don’t see ugliness praised either. I’m just saying that our inordinate fascination with beauty can cause us to forget who we really are. I include Christians in this category too.
I have heard Christians refer to someone, especially a woman, as “beautiful inside and out.” I understand the sincerity that often motivates this, and I must admit, on occasion, when someone has referred to me in this way, I have wanted to bask in it. But at the same time, there is always the little, gnawing voice in my mind that says, “No, you’re not.” The truth is, what little I know of myself, and what God has said about my heart (Jer. 17:9), make me quite sure you might use a different adjective if you could truly see inside me. Having said that, I recognize that I, like you, as a believer, have a “treasure” within this “earthen vessel,” that cannot be consistently contained (2 Cor. 4:7).  Sometimes, it just shines through. In the countenance surely, and through the eyes, possibly.
Abigail, one of four named women in the Old Testament described as beautiful, was said to have a “beautiful countenance” (1 Sam. 25:3). Nothing is mentioned about her figure, only her face. After Moses spent forty days alone with God, Exodus 34:29 says “the skin of his face shone.”  You see, God’s standard of beauty is holiness (Psl. 96:9). And the longer we’re in His presence, the more it will be reflected in our lives. That’s one of the joys of growing old with the Lord. We have the opportunity to gradually become more holy, and consequently, more beautiful. J Even the ravages of sickness cannot erase the traces of grace on the countenance of a saint of God.
In his book, Feathers For Arrows, Charles Spurgeon gives this illustration:
“On the first of May in the olden times, according to annual custom, many inhabitants of London went into the fields to bathe their faces with the early dew upon the grass under the idea that it would render them beautiful. Some writers call the custom superstitious; it may be so, but this we know, that to bathe one’s face every morning in the dew of heaven by prayer and communion is the sure way to obtain true beauty in life and character.”

No, I know I’m not beautiful…inside or outside. But thank God, I can borrow beauty from Him. I can bathe my face in the dew of heaven every day, and God has said I can have His beauty upon me…upon me. What a beautiful thought!

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