Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Self-Esteem & God's view of Beauty

Our world loves everything that is beautiful. Beautiful clothes. Beautiful homes. Beautiful faces. Beautiful bodies. Beauty is everything to our world. Millions of dollars are spent each year to beautify ourselves. Our culture as emphasized this by a message of self-esteem. “It is all about you. It’s all about making you feel good about yourself. It’s all about you feeling accepted. You are beautiful just the way you are. You are worth it.”

Sadly, Christians today have accepted this message as well. We have esteemed the world’s standard of worth and beauty. In the book Captivating, Stasi Eldridge says this: “God has set within you a femininity that is powerful and tender, fierce and alluring. No doubt it has been misunderstood. Surely it has been assaulted. But it is there, your true heart, and it is worth recovering. You are captivating.” She continues, “Nature is not primarily functional. It is primarily beautiful. Stop for a moment and let that sink in. We’re so used to evaluating everything (and everyone) by their usefulness that this thought will take a minute or two to begin to dawn on us. Nature is not primarily functional. It is primarily beautiful. Which is to say, beauty is in and of itself a great and glorious good, something we need in large and daily doses.”

Your true heart? God has said in Jeremiah 17:9 that “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked: who can know it?”

Naturally, there is no beauty in us. “We are filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice, envious, murders, filled with strife, deceit, maliciousness, gossip, slanders, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient of parents, foolish, faithless, heartless and ruthless.” (Romans 1:29-31) There is no beauty is any of those things. These are the characteristics of the state of our hearts before Christ.

So why would we say that we are beautiful just the way we are? In reality, we are ugly and defiled! Sure, we can possess earthly beauty that is esteemed by the world but there is no lasting beauty outside of Jesus Christ.

True lasting beauty comes when Christ works His beauty in us. Charles Spurgeon said this about beauty:
“If any soul has any beauty it is because Christ has endowed that soul with His own. For in ourselves we are deformed and defiled! There is not beauty in any of us but what our Lord has worked in us.”

True beauty comes when we surrender our every life to the will of Jesus Christ. Leslie Ludy speaks in her book ‘Set-Apart Femininity’; “Denying self, taking up your cross, and following the Lamb wherever He leads. In other words, letting go of all preoccupation with self: our comfort, our pleasure, our agenda, our popularity, desires. And as Paul did, treating all those things as rubbish for the excellence of the knowledge of Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings.” (Philippians 3:7-9) Leslie continues, “A life overtaken by the heavenly beauty of Christ is the only life truly worth living. Yes, it may include discomfort, prison, pain, or even death, but it also includes triumph, joy, peace, and fulfillment in their richest and purest forms.”

When we know who we are in Christ we will give no care to what the world thinks of us. We will only care about the glory of Jesus Christ and seeing Him lifted up and exalted in our lives. Our only desire is the applause of Heaven.

Leslie Ludy again writes in “Set-Apart Femininity” “Any human beauty, any human value that we might find within ourselves us just a filthy rag compared to the limitless beauty and glory of Jesus Christ. Christ’s beauty is perfect. And, in spite of what we deserve, He desires to adorn us with His spectacular glory. He may choose to showcase His beauty through us in a unique way, through our own individual personalities or the special gifts He has given us. But it is not our own unique beauty that must shine for this world to see. It is not our own beauty that we must discover and embrace- it is His. World-altering, set-apart, Christ-shaped femininity throughout history has never been concerned with thoughts of ‘inhabiting our own beauty’ or letting ‘self-flash off the frame and face.’ Rather a set-apart woman is consumed with the desire to have Christ flash off her frame and face and letting Christ (not self) inhabit every part of her inner being…. We will not overcome our insecurities and gain the sparkling confidence we long for by singing, “The Greatest Love of All” or reading books that exhort us to ‘live out our own beauty’ And we will not become world-changing, set-apart women by letting, “self flash off frame and face” The secret to becoming the radiant, beautiful, alluring, lily-white princess of childhood dreams is forgetting all about self and becoming completely consumed with only one thing- Jesus Christ.”

Mark 8:34-36 “If anyone come after me let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lost it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel will find it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?”

“It is a tremendous freedom to get rid of all self-consideration and learn to care only about one thing- the relationship between Christ and ourselves.”
-Oswald Chambers

May challenge to you my dear reader, is to lose all thought of self. All thought of worldly applause. All thought of self-comfort and exaltation. Find true and lasting beauty in the King of Kings. He is worthy of all allegiance and trust. Let Him paint an extraordinary beauty that He can only do by filling you with Himself.

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