Are You Beautiful?
Modesty aside, do you think you’re attractive? Do you think you’re beautiful, if you’re a woman, or handsome, if you’re a man? Are you concerned about being beautiful, staying beautiful, and being around beautiful (handsome) people? No one wants to be ugly. All of us, to some degree, want to be beautiful or handsome…or, at least, attractive. But how do you determine who is or who is not beautiful? How do you define beauty and attractiveness? For many people, and especially for men, attractiveness and beauty are judged purely by what we see physically—by what a person looks like; by his or her outward appearance.
This was Samson’s problem! You will remember that most of the stories about him in the book of Judges involve a woman: first, his Philistine wife (Judges 14:1-20); then a prostitute (16:1-3); and finally, Delilah (16:4-21). And how was it that Samson chose his women? It was by what she “looked” like to him! That is certainly how he picked his wife. He saw this Philistine woman in Timnah, and he wanted her; so he said to his father, Manoah, “Get her for me, for she looks good to me” (14:1-3; 14:7 – NASB).
Are we as shallow as Samson was in how we “judge” beauty today? Does “beauty” depend on what a person “looks like” to us? Are we too physically oriented when it comes to how we define “beauty”? Let me ask you: what is “attractive” to you? On what basis do you decide who is “beautiful”?
Well, let’s talk about this from God’s perspective for just a minute. How does God define beauty? What’s attractive to Him? One thing is for sure: God does not see as man sees! When He looks for beauty, He doesn’t look so much on the outward man. God looks at the person’s heart (cf. 1 Sam. 16:7). Physical strength and physical beauty are not what God considers attractive. “He does not delight in the strength of the horse; He does not take pleasure in the legs of a man. The Lord favors those who fear Him, those who wait for His loving-kindness” (Psalm 147:10-11). “The Lord takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the afflicted one with salvation” (149:4). God can make hundreds of strong horses or human legs; He can make strong and beautiful human bodies. And so to see strong legs run—legs that He has made, and made to run—this does not “delight” the Lord.
What the Lord “favors” is those who fear Him and patiently wait in faith for His loving-kindness (cf. 147:11). You see, a respectful, patient, and trusting heart is one thing that our God simply does not make. Such a heart is something that a man voluntarily chooses to give back to God…and this is what “delights” the Lord! And with God, you don’t have to fret about whether or not you’re physically beautiful or attractive enough, because what is not physically beautiful (the afflicted), God will “beautify…with salvation” (149:4). And the salvation that the Lord gives to a person who turns in faith to Him makes that person beautiful to God. So understand, God does not define “beauty” like we do! He looks, not at the outward, but at the inside…at the “hidden man of the heart” (cf. 1 Peter 3:4).
Now please consider that since this is how God judges beauty—not looking at the outer man but at the heart—shouldn’t we judge beauty the same way? In the book of Proverbs, there is a section where a father and mother are strongly urging their son to avoid the adulteress woman (Prov. 6:20-25). The son is specifically told: “Do not desire her beauty in your heart, nor let her capture you with her eyelids” (6:25). There is a “beauty” that must not attract us. It is the outward, the physical, the flesh! Instead, we must look for the inner beauty. We must teach our children (especially our sons) not to be attracted primarily by outward beauty. We must look more inwardly at what the inner man looks like before we decide if she really is attractive. One who is physically attractive on the outside but ugly on the inside is just plain ugly! She is not beautiful!
I am afraid that we simply have not taught our children enough about what makes one beautiful. We live in a society that emphasizes and is obsessed with outer physical beauty! And we get caught up in it, too! We need to help our children to look at—and for—the inner beauty of a person. And we need to set the example for them by doing the same ourselves.
Do we delight in the physical…the outward? Or, like God, do we delight in the inner spiritual beauty of a person? Do you see and appreciate the beauty of saved men faithfully serving God, regardless of what the outside looks like? For ourselves and for our children, we need to develop and look for the inner beauty, the attractiveness that comes out of a person’s heart! So, once again, are you beautiful? Well, I guess that all depends on how you define beauty!