Oct 13, 2020 • Written by Judy Episcopo
God's Beauty Regimen
Women love beauty! Beauty is important to us as we decorate our surroundings and adorn our faces. It seems hard wired into us. Somehow beauty makes us feel valued, wanted, and even powerful.
I don’t believe our desire for beauty is a bad thing. A truly beautiful woman is meant to display the attractiveness and desirability of the Gospel, and in turn men should be able to illustrate its power and strength to change lives.
But unfortunately most of us have had our ideas about beauty and strength and womanhood shaped by cultural norms rather than the eternal truths found in the Word of God. Our identity as women and the beauty we seek after in the world is temporary and fades. All the creams, hair color and exercise cannot stave off the wrinkles, the weakness and grey of old age. At 60, I am more aware of the temporary nature of worldly beauty than ever! That doesn’t mean it's wrong to want to look our best, but when it becomes the first place we go to for our identity and value, then we are bound to become depressed about our fading desirability and beauty.
God’s Word tells us about a beauty that lasts, an intrinsic beauty that age will never diminish. God’s beauty regimen begins with what your Creator says about you; not social media, not other people’s opinions, not the scale and not the celebrities. And like any beauty routine it begins with a mirror. It just so happens that James 1:22-26 describes the Word of God as a mirror.
When we look into God’s “mirror” the very first thing God says about you and me is that we have been created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27)! From angels to animals, we stand apart in that we are the only created beings made in His Image. Much can be said about what exactly that means, but suffice to say, you and I are unique and special in that somehow whatever we do or say has the potential to communicate something about who God is. Our identity is not rooted in what we can do or can’t do, or what happens to us or even how we feel…rather it is rooted in the very image of God our Creator.
Furthermore, God’s Word says in Psalm 139 that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made". From womb to birth to death we have been planned and wanted. None of us are a mistake. And along with this, according to Genesis 1:28, we have been given an important responsibility that comes with being made in the image of God. We are appointed by God to go and live fruitful and productive lives.
But when we look in the mirror of God’s Word, we also see our flaws. If God made us in His Image and we are supposed to reflect an almighty, perfect, loving God, we have certainly failed miserably. In fact, when any of us look into God’s mirror, probably the first thing we see are the flaws, the failures, the ugliness that we immediately want to cover up.
And yes, God’s mirror, does reveal this too. He says things like, “All have sinned….” (Romans 3:23) or “our good deeds are like filthy rags..." (Isaiah 64:6). As much as we scrub, cover up or exercise our will power, we can never eliminate our flaws. Therefore, the next step in our divine beauty treatment is to find a way to permanently cover up the flaws. We can only do this when we learn to apply the love of Jesus Christ.
How can we know and apply his love? God says in 1 John 3:16, “this is how we know what love is; Jesus Christ laid down his life for us…” And further on in 1 John 4:10, God’s Word says “This is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins". Atoning means “covering.” God’s love covers our sins! His love covers ALL our flaws! His love is not warm and fuzzy, it is deeply sacrificial. He is willing to sacrifice the very best he has for our eternal beauty. When we apply his sacrifice and love by faith, nothing can shake us: nobody’s opinions, thoughts or judgments will matter! Zephaniah 3:17 (ESV) says this:
“The LORD your God is in your midst; a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over your with loud singing!"
Picture it! The almighty God of the Universe, dancing around you and singing very loudly his love song he wrote especially for you! As you listen, you will realize that his loud singing drowns out all the other negative messages you receive. God’s love frees us from the tyranny of just not being enough and gives us the freedom to live our potential.
Finally, my mother always told me that beauty involves pain; the plucking, the piercing, the pushups, the diets…and just as it is in the physical realm, so it’s true in the spiritual realm.
God’s most often used method of beauty treatment involves our broken world. None of us like pain or suffering. In fact the temptation is to doubt God’s love and sovereignty when confronted by it. Yet listen to what the apostle Peter says about the process in I Peter 1:6-7:
“Now for a little while you have suffered grief in all kinds of trials. These kinds of trials have come so that your faith of greater worth than gold may be proved genuine and pure.”
Just as the value of gold and silver involve a refining process, so does our faith and beauty. The refining process of God’s discipline purifies us from our flaws and helps us to be “transformed into his likeness with every increasing glory” (2 Corinthians 3:18). This refined and flawless faith makes us beautiful in our Creator’s eyes. Suffering is not our punishment (he took our punishment on the cross) and it is not to shame us (there is no condemnation in Jesus Christ ~ Romans 8:1). God allows the pain to expose our need for his healing. He strengthens us and refines us into the beauty of Himself.
What will we choose; the fading beauty of the world or God’s transformational and everlasting makeover?