Have you ever noticed the instinct to look at your reflection as you walk by mirrored objects? Whether it be a glass window, a puddle, a sleek car- does your physique capture your attention? It’s powerful, the intensity with which we care about our image; the curiosity we have as to what our present appearance looks like to the stranger’s eye; our obsession for approval within our own heart.
We gaze nonchalantly at our impressions, deeply searching for ratification in that second of opportunity. It’s subtle, and quite frankly, argued harmless. I counter, with the idea that this tendency is an exact imprint of the devil’s work.
There’s a daunting distinction between the two definitions of beauty- one is founded on a worldly dimension, and the other created as an outward expression of devotion. You see, one is beauty, and the other is purification. One is of the flesh, the other of Jesus.
The enemy desires nothing more than to see us slightly and insidiously fade away from God’s love and creation- our outlook on our statue is one of many ways he does so. He has developed a cultural acceptance and attraction to the human body, establishing an explicit measure of outward appearance and therefore molding our minds to see the way he does.
So, we look for those specific attributes in someone else first, when we should search for God’s presence only. In the world, there’s hatred, jealousy, frustration, pain; these wear on our skin and bones just as visibly as lotion, makeup, and material. It’s called reflecting your heart, your turmoil, your strife, your greed; it’s called beauty is from within. But if your soul is controlled by your flesh, then that beauty of ours transcends into truth, raw and vulnerable truth that we are broken, hurt, and sinful. That becomes the essence of our image; that becomes the emotion we see at work, the resentment we see at school, the rivalry we see among friends. We see it on our face through expression and hear it in our voice through assertion. This is the measurement the devil has ruled and the appraisal we have allowed, and most hardening, the lie we have obtained.
1 Peter 3: 3-4 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. 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
Just as we perceive frustration, we recognize joy. It is unarguable that our ambience is directly associated with our mental state. We see our heart as if every one of us wore it on our sleeve, and there’s no hiding. So, it’s true, beauty is from within- but it’s because our vitality begins and ends with whatever foundation it sits on- our flesh, or Jesus; whichever definition we cling to, we know and follow, we unavoidably represent. The love of God cannot be silenced just as the enemy’s darkness cannot be lightened. We either shine or we fade; we either love or we hate; we either hope or we doubt.
Which one is more beautiful?
When I am in the word of God, standing strong in my relationship with Him, my attitude, presence, and judgement are all through His eyes- meaning I can see my reflection and love it, solely for the reason that I was created to be His daughter. Nothing less.
When I am far from Him, my ability to discern my life falls into the walls of my flesh- I see flaws, brokenness, jealousy, and doubt. I see it in my face and I hear it in my voice and in an instant, I lose that beauty we look for. I surrender my joy for anxiety, I drop my grace for restlessness, and I fail to remember that my body alone is not the measurement of elegance- but rather that purification, the cleansing, the refinement Jesus makes in our hearts and in our spirit. That, my friends, is what dictates our image; that, is what we strive to portray and what we desire to consume.
Jesus, is the only means of allure, and for Him alone do we desire it.
Associated Scripture Daniel 1: 1- 21
In Daniel, himself and 3 other men of Israel, were taken to the King to be brainwashed in order to serve his god. In chapter one, Daniel refuses to defile himself with the food of the king, and eventually asks for the servants to be tested and allow Daniel and those men to eat vegetables instead of the king’s food. In doing so for ten days, when it was time to be presented before the king, these men out stood all the others with their wisdom and presence. They were in God’s favor because of Daniel’s resolve. It was evident that the men of our true God out-shined those of the king.
There is no match for the power that our Lord in heaven has over us and in us. With Him inside us, we cannot fail; we stand strong and joyful; forgiven and loved; wise and bold to that of this world and the enemy. Daniel shows us the fruit of his devotion and the efficacy our God has on our image.