Hello, women! I know your eyes were drawn to that header. And men too, what is this thing we have with beauty?

Hollywood seems to define it and yet simultaneously can’t touch it, and can’t attain it. Their quest for what is beautiful cites finite requirements, but they change! The pants you just bought will go out of season, and that lipstick will run dry. Your hair will have bad days and consequently, so will your self esteem. There is no prolonged satisfaction or consistent beauty when your qualifiers are all over the map. One who agrees with everything therefore agrees with nothing, and so the search for beauty goes on.

Illustrious beauty, where for art thou?

Beauty as defined by people is only so radical, but it is radical nevertheless. It is radical in its ability to be so flippant and yet pined after. Sometimes I find myself looking down at my body, wondering who it was that decided that my body is/is not beautiful? Who was it that declared a certain body type to be a model for beauty? It became clear to me that I needed a new standard for beauty which was not so limited.

Perhaps it is too much too soon to say that it isn’t gonna be found where Hollywood is looking. But you already knew that? It’s pretty obvious? Funny how its messages of beauty are so strong, and yet transparent. And most of all, how we still choose to listen to them!

The Gospel of Jesus plays a dramatic role in defining my standard for beauty; that is, that there is none apart from God who is the standard. Pretty intense, no? Don’t worry, this standard is attainable in full.

Technically, because of His perfection we are unable to come close to fitting His standard for beauty–physically and spiritually we are ugly. Since sin entered the world (see Genesis 3), such ugliness as pride, selfish ambition, vanity, and conceit made its way into our flesh. These qualities and more like them are but masquerading as beauty itself! But He loved us deeply and gave his Son Jesus to die for our sins, and to cleanse us from all iniquity (1 John 1:9).

After acknowledging the gospel message, grappling with it at times, I have come to see that beauty, like love, is not a separate entity from God. He is beauty, as is His creation–it is all beautiful! But like a plant that isn’t watered or a flower that is separated from its vine, things die and become ugly. The same is with those things that are separate from the source of beauty itself. It is only through God’s gift of salvation that allows us to stay close to him, that we are able to live lives that are blessed, joyous, and totally beautiful.

How has the gospel transformed your perspective and pursuit of beauty?

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2 Responses to Beauty.

  1. jchiasson10 says:

    to answer the question of how the Gospel has changed my perception of beauty: my perception is similar to the one outlined, it’s God’s upside down kingdom-or perhaps more accurately right side up with our perception in fact being upside down- Jesus had no form of comeliness Isaiah 53 states and yet the greatest display of love was made in this state on the cross.

    Furthermore, I realized one day that what GOD says about us is even MORE great that the nicest thing humans can say to us. For instance, if I am called beautiful, this is true but God’s standard is even higher He says I am fearfully and wonderfully made, I am His delight etc. This encouraged me to receive human words but not to settle for only man’s words but rather go to God and ask Him what He thinks about me… this ensures that I see myself in the fullness that God intended.

    Furthermore, God’s vision of who we are can be used to break agreements with negative things that we come to believe about our bodies or beauty. Essentially, some of us tie beauty to VALUE. When we see our VALUE as determined by what Jesus did for us on the cross, then the temporary and fleeting vanities are less likely to preoccupy us or play on our perception of ourselves.

    • Excellent thoughts! I really like what you said about how human’s words of encouragement can be true to our standards, but because God’s standards are so much greater, we can find value and a true beauty in that.

      I often have to remind myself that I have the ability to break agreements with my own/others perceptions. It’s easy to forget:)

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