Beauty is Fleeting

Isaiah 53: 2bHe had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.

Take a look at the headlines in sports or fitness magazines:  “Beautiful Athletes” or “Gorgeous Athlete Bodies”.  ESPN publishes an annual Body Issue which glorifies the bodies of elite athletes.  You’d have to be blind not to recognize that these young men and women are beautiful physical specimens, toned machines ready for battle.  Add a gorgeous face to the body and that athlete will likely get a front page spread or millions of hits on social media.  Other adulation will come from impressive performances.  Professional athletes performing at the peak of their abilities, those that are called Superstars are revered like gods.  Their majestic performances get front page attention, their achievements fill the radio airwaves or the sports news broadcasts.  Young athletes look to these Superstars and dream to be just like them.

We are so immersed in our culture that it is extremely easy to be drawn into the same way of thinking, drawn into revering a person’s looks or their incredible abilities.  Young athletes may strive to look like an athlete they admire, or achieve what they have achieved, or perhaps they just seek the attention of the world.   As Christians, however, it is important to gain God’s perspective on all of this.  Isaiah 55:8 says: “’For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the LORD.

When Samuel was instructed to anoint David as King, Samuel actually first saw David’s older brother Eliab (who must have been an impressive, imposing figure) and thought to himself, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is before him, But 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.’” 1 Samuel 16:6b-7

And how about Jesus, how do you picture his looks, or his natural abilities?  I have seen beautiful pictures of a handsome Jesus with chiseled features and beautiful eyes and a well-toned body, but in the prophetic book of Isaiah chapter 53 we read: 2bHe had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.  King David recognized that [God’s] pleasure is not in the strength of the horse, nor his delight in the legs of the warrior” Psalm 147:10

Spend time in honest meditation with God.  Are you glorifying the looks and abilities of others, or placing undue value on these things in your own life?  Recognize that these things are fleeting and are of no eternal value.  God is looking for us to have internal beauty; he is looking for the Jesus inside of us to be visible on the outside. God is looking for the fruits of the spirit (love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control) to be ripe in our lives.  May it be so in our lives.

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