This phrase came to mind while I was scrubbing pans in my jammies one morning, sort of as a humorous take on an old 80’s commercial. There I was, complete with bedhead, no make up, coffee breath, rumpled bathrobe, and hands full of a greasy blue foam. Not my best look. My mind went to how God sees me as beautiful even with the above fashion statement going on, because of who I am in Christ. The Savior, who is altogether lovely – He is my beauty.
And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it.~Psalm 90:7
This is still one of my favorite hymn texts:
Fairest Lord Jesus, Ruler of all nature,
O Thou of God and man the Son,
Thee will I cherish, Thee will I honor,
Thou, my soul’s glory, joy and crown.
Fair are the meadows, fairer still the woodlands,
Robed in the blooming garb of spring;
Jesus is fairer, Jesus is purer,
Who makes the woeful heart to sing.
Fair is the sunshine,
Fairer still the moonlight,
And all the twinkling starry host;
Jesus shines brighter, Jesus shines purer
Than all the angels heaven can boast.
All fairest beauty, heavenly and earthly,
Wondrously, Jesus, is found in Thee;
None can be nearer, fairer or dearer,
Than Thou, my Savior, art to me.
Beautiful Savior! Lord of all the nations!
Son of God and Son of Man!
Glory and honor, praise, adoration,
Now and forever more be Thine.
Because I call myself a Christian, literally, “little Christ,” this beauty (not superficial beauty) should be found in me.
“But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.” ~Romans 13:14
Will everyone appreciate that you want to change? No. Will you sometimes fail in your attempts, and will some be quick to point out your failures? Well, probably. Will some despise you for desiring and trying to become like the Savior? Yes. Will others have a contempt toward any effort made to nudge them toward a closer walk with the Savior? Unfortunately. I read this quote recently:
“Let it never surprise true Christians if they are slandered and misrepresented in this world. They must not expect to fare better than their Lord.” ~ J.C. Ryle
Before you develop a martyr’s complex, though, take heed. When we begin to appropriate the title of martyr for ourselves, we are inviting trouble of all sorts. Pride lurks around the corner of every righteous act and intention. Look inside. Is it possible there has been a judgmental spirit? What is the likelihood that you may be pushing too hard? Are you remembering that that individual who may be weaker in an area where your strength shines, may also be your superior in a different area? Are you humble enough to learn from them?
Let God decide what is indeed persecution for righteousness’ sake. If He confirms that to you, count it all joy. Rejoice that God is enabling you to be a catalyst for Him. Be courageous.
Need, read, plead and heed.
- Need: Recognize your need to become more Christlike. (Phil 3:10)
- Read: Read the Word, to see what He looks like. (Good places to start: Phil 2, 1 Cor 13, Matt 5)
- Plead: Resort to prayer, wanting to understand how He thinks and who He is. (Jer 29:13)
- Heed: Resolve to put feet to what you learn. Make up your mind. (Ps 57:7)
Don’t compare. It steals joy. It also deceives, because we can lean on our own understanding with a deceitful heart. Let God decide if you are “spiritual” or not. Look for His “well done“…not approval from others, or a self-inflated sense of piety. Let God decide, and do it simply because you love Him.
Now that’s beautiful.