Have you ever tried to envision what certain characters of the Bible look like? I DO! For example, I picture the apostle Paul very tall with dark hair and large dark eyes. I picture him rugged but regal at the same time. I can picture him standing with excellent posture at all times. I picture his face with a stony, serious look because from what I gather, he was one serious dude! I picture John the Baptist to look a bit like a hippie… possibly a bit like Jason Momoa with dreads, eating his honey and locusts. I picture Esther to look like Penelope Cruz and Mary Magdalene to look something like Salma Hayek… not sure why lol. As visual human beings, we just like to put a face to a name right?
Have you ever wondered why the Bible doesn’t describe to us what the people in the Bible looked like? We don’t even have a description of what Jesus looked like when he was on Earth! Yes, I know Revelation 1:14 gives John’s vision that offers a description of “someone like a son of man,” but this is not Jesus’ form as he walked the Earth. The Bible mentions characteristics of a person as it is relevant to a story, but we aren’t given a detailed description of what the characters of the Bible look like when we are learning about their story. Why?
Because our outward appearance is not what God looks at. The Bible is VERY detailed about many things. By omitting the details of outward appearances, other than when relevant in a story, God is letting us know that he does care or focus on our temporary, earthly form. What does he look at? Early in the Bible in 1 Samuel 16:7, “The Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
THE HEART. If you had the ability to see the heart of those around you, what would matter more to you, their looks or their heart? If you saw someone’s heart had nothing but evil intent, anger, grudges, bad intentions, selfishness, arrogance, pride, ego, prejudice, etc., would you even care to notice their flawless skin, athletic body shape, perfect hair, amazing manicure, expensive jewelry or brand name clothes? And then again, if you saw someone’s heart filled with love and everything that comes with that, would you notice that they were not checking all the boxes of what the world considers beautiful? Well, friend… that’s how God feels. He sees the heart and everything that comes from it.
We are inundated with false expectations and a filtered reality bombarding us on social media, advertising magazines, TV, movies and more that may leave us often trying to keep up with expectations of what beauty is. This is a powerful and successful tool the enemy uses to distract us! We must stay alert and not give him a foothold. I am not saying in any way that working out to keep in shape, putting on makeup, wearing jewelry, getting a manicure, etc is bad. In fact, 1 Timothy 4:8 even says, “Physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things…”
What I am saying is that, as with everything in our life, we must maintain balance. We cannot become so preoccupied with outwardly appearance that we lose sight of the health and beauty of our heart in the meantime. When we stay focused on our outward appearance, pride will make its way in. And once we are “puffed up with pride,” it’s easy to place God on the back burner because we don’t think we need him as much. (Proverbs 16:18)
So, I guess the question is: What makes us beautiful in God’s eyes? How can I redefine what true beauty is in my life? There are 3 scriptures we can focus on to give us the answer.
1 Peter 3:3-4, “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment… Rather, 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 Timothy 2:9-10, “I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.”
Romans 10:15, “...How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news.”
This gives us a great base to start to build a beauty that will NEVER fade. Godly beauty, TRUE beauty comes from:
A gentle and quiet spirit
Bringing good news
Do you know what I like so much about this list? Each and every item takes the “ME” out. When I am gentle and quiet, I am making it about someone else, I am listening and caring about the needs of others. When I am modest, I am considering and protecting the sinful thought life of the men around me. When I am doing good deeds and/or bringing good news, I am helping those around me. I am not benefiting myself but elevating the needs of others above my own.
Are you noticing the theme? Just as in the greatest command in Matthew 22:37-39, we are making the order of things: GOD, OTHERS, ME. We should have that on repeat in our minds and hearts, GOD. OTHERS. ME.
If we lived everything in our lives in exactly that order, we would be truly beautiful in the eyes of God, others and ourselves. What a blessed life that would be!
I am attaching a photo of a large picture that hangs in one of my bathrooms in my home. It has been one of my favorite poems for a long time and went perfectly with today’s post, so I figured I would share. Enjoy! Stay encouraged.