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When we begin to see that physical beauty is the shadow, and righteousness the reality, it can be devastating. Although we know that as we age our physical beauty will diminish, we are much more successful at making ourselves physically attractive than we are at becoming righteous.
No one is righteous. Where it really matters most we are ugly, unattractive, and repulsive.
And to face that fact, with no way to fix it, leaves us utterly hopeless. So if I can’t be truly beautiful, if I can’t be beautiful in reality, I am tempted to substitute physical beauty for it. To feel good about myself because I at least look attractive.
But though we are unable to fix it, God has come into our world and offered us a way to actually become beautiful, by turning from life on our own terms to life on Jesus’ terms. It is the great exchange: our sins given to him, his righteousness given to us.
And he whispers to us the ending of the Great Story, that we will at last be made beautiful beyond comprehension.
…Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,
that he might sanctify her,
having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,
so that he might present the church to himself in splendor,
without spot or wrinkle or any such thing,
that she might be holy and without blemish.
~ Ephesian 5:25-27
When we truly believe that all who genuinely live by faith in him will be given beauty unspeakable, we can stop grasping for the shadows.
But when I stop grasping for physical beauty does it mean I can no longer wear mascara or fix my hair? No. It actually allows me to do those things in freedom instead of bondage.
I am no longer looking to feel good about myself in how I appear. I begin to see that the beauty my Father will bestow on me is of such great magnitude that there is nothing I can do to enhance it. I have adorned myself with the righteousness of Christ and while my physical beauty is imperfect and fading, my true beauty has been perfected.
Read a related post by Erin Davis at the True Woman Blog: “What are you really teaching your daughter about beauty?”
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