by Natalie Horne
No, I did not just make a typo. It’s scandalous and paradoxical, isn’t it? It can be a true statement or a false statement depending on your point of view and definition of beauty, and I must shamefully admit that my view of beauty is often wrapped up in physical appearance. Although my heart knows that true beauty is God’s beauty, I have to constantly remind myself of what that God’s beauty is. We are living in a world where physical beauty is equated with power, success and happiness, and we are so often fooled into chasing after it.
Last week in my small group we began our journey into the gnarly depths of eschatology (end times prophesy) in the book of Daniel, and we spent a lot of time unpacking the nature of Satan, the great artist of deception.
While much of what we studied was something I had heard at least once before, one of Satan’s characteristics stood out to me above the rest: he is physically beautiful.
“Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. So I threw you to the earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings.” (Ezekiel 28:17)
Satan was once a beautiful angel, but because he worshiped his own appearance and “became proud” on account of his beauty, God through him out of heaven. I don’t know about you, but I find that frightening and convicting! On the other hand, Jesus was just the opposite:
“He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.” (Isaiah 53:2)
Satan is beautiful on the outside and rotten on the inside; Jesus has nothing to attract us to him physically, yet His love and truth are our hearts’ greatest desires. Reading these simple verses reminded me of how twisted my outlook has been–and at times continues to be–on the value of my appearance. Working for an athletic apparel company, living in Southern California and being a woman in general make me especially prone to this lie that beauty equals success, joy and good character.
If my goal is to become more and more like Christ, why am I spending so much time adorning my outside and so little time adorning my inside?
“Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” (Proverbs 31:30)
“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, 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 Peter 3:3-4)
Heavenly Father, help us remember your truth about what real beauty is. Open our eyes to the lies our hearts have been believing and guard us from temptation to fall for Satan’s deception. We know you value a heart after your own. Remind us that we are fearfully and wonderfully made by your hand. You know our details and you love us deeply.