Idol of Beauty

“He’s not attractive enough for me to want to date him.” “I hope my kids will be cute.” “Her face isn’t very pretty.” “I don’t feel like watching that show/movie because the actors are not appealing to me.“ “I want guys to think I am pretty.”

I am baring my sin once again. And once again, how embarrassing it is. These are true thoughts I am ashamed to admit have run through my head. I realized not too long ago, I have an idol of beauty. Too often than not, many decisions I make and the actions I take are based on my perceptions of beauty especially in regards to matchmaking, progeny and how the opposite gender views me. I want a cute husband, cute kids, and to be cute myself!

I believe as a culture, we value beauty too much. When it comes down to it, some of us are vain for ourselves and our families and proud against others. I once heard someone mention a statistic that people treat attractive people better than those who are unattractive (Beauty Pays: Why Attractive People Are More Successful (Hamermesh), Applied social psychology (Schneider, F. W., Gruman, J. A., & Coutts, L. M.).  Unfortunately, I have not been immune to this behavior.

I am averse to admit, I have rejected potential matches on online dating sites purely based on looks. I tell myself, “If I don’t find them remotely attractive, there will be no spark between us. I will have no joy or excitement meeting this person.” Tim Keller, theologian, pastor and author, in reference to dating, says that unfortunately, many young people today walk into a room of the opposite sex and eliminate 90% of the room based on looks.

This brings to my mind the scripture passage in 1 Samuel when the prophet Samuel surveyed Jesse’s sons for Israel’s next king and thought Eliab, David’s brother, looked the most fitting to be king. This was God’s reply: “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7, ESV)

Observing someone’s heart and character versus looking at their outward appearance is how, as a Christ-follower, I should view others.

As it relates to personal beauty, I would be wise to take advice from these scriptures:

Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

Proverbs 31:30, ESV, emphasis added

Your heart was proud because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor.

Ezekiel 28:17a, ESV

I remember my first professional job. It involved sitting at a service window that I would slide open to talk to others. I would see many cute students and graduate students waltzing by my window going up the elevators or stairs to go up to their respective offices or see professors. I would feel down or sad for a moment if they did not glance my way. I had a realization that I was letting my perceived thoughts on how the opposite gender views me affect my self-worth. I corrected this behavior quickly as I saw how ungrounded in truth my reactions were.

Furthermore, when it comes to social media, have you ever untagged yourself from an unbecoming photo? I surely have! As we post more of our lives to social media, we desire photographed glimpses of our lives to look perfect and beautiful.

Is all beauty wrong? No. Look at what Isaiah 28 says about beauty:

“In that day the Lord of hosts will be a crown of glory, and a diadem of beauty, to the remnant of his people.”

Isaiah 28:5, ESV, emphasis added

God is a crown (diadem) of beauty to His people. In this context, beauty is what God has done for His people, and it is His character. Beauty is kindness, love, compassion, sacrifice, protecting, faithful, redemptive, promise-filled and saving. Beauty is everything God is.

God’s definition of beauty for humankind is this: “[You are] fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). God values the worn, the tattered, the acne-prone, those with physical deformities, those without “fashion-sense,” those with unkept hygiene. Each person is beautiful to Him solely based on him or her being His creation.

Can I view the world as God sees it? Can I discard my idol of beauty and submit to what God wants to show and teach me? I am willing!

Is there an idol of beauty in your life similar to what God has shown in my life? What could that be?

I leave you with lyrics from Phil Wickham’s song, “You’re Beautiful”:

I see your face
In every sunrise
The colours of the morning
Are inside your eyes

The world awakens
In the light of the day
I look up to the sky and say
You’re beautiful

I see your power
In the moonlit night
Where planets are in motion
And galaxies are bright

We are amazed
In the light of the stars
It’s all proclaiming who you are
You’re beautiful

You’re beautiful
I see you there
Hanging on a tree
You bled and then you died
And then you rose again for me

Now you are sitting on your heavenly throne
Soon we will be coming home
You’re beautiful
You’re beautiful

When we arrive at eternity’s shore
Where death is just a memory and tears are no more
We’ll enter in as the wedding bells ring
Your bride will come together and we’ll sing

You’re beautiful
You’re beautiful
I see your face
You’re beautiful
You’re beautiful
You’re beautiful
I see your face
You’re beautiful
You’re beautiful
You’re beautiful
I see your face
I see your face
I see your face
You’re beautiful
You’re beautiful
You’re beautiful

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