Monday, January 20, 2014
Today’s Topic: The Great Beautifier
Today’s Text: Psalm 149:4 For the LORD takes pleasure in his people; he adorns the humble with salvation.
We are surrounded by constant messages to be beautiful and good-looking. As soon as the Christmas shopping ads were over, the health-related commercials started. Every day we are bombarded with the lure of gym memberships, exercise programs, diets, and even pills, all promising that if we just looked better we would feel better about who we are and have a happier life.
Did you know that in 2009, 45.5 million people in America had a gym membership and spent 20 billion dollars on them. But here’s the real shocker – according to StatisticBrain.com only 33% of the people who had memberships actually went to the gym.
You see, we all want to look better, but two things keep us from getting there. Maybe we don’t want to do the work it takes to have that picture perfect body, or maybe after all the work we’ve discovered that it didn’t really change the quality of happiness in our lives. I think down underneath we all know that happiness doesn’t really come from how we look. If it did, we wouldn’t see so many beautiful people in so much trouble and even ending their own lives.
I came across a quote this morning that stuck out to me. It’s from the poet Ralph Waldo Emerson, who wrote – There is no beautifier of complexion, or form, or behavior, like the wish to scatter joy and not pain around us.
But there can be no wish to scatter joy if we do not have any joy. So where does the joy come from so that we can scatter it to others and thereby be made beautiful?
First, we must understand that human existence in sin is the great joy killer because it is downright ugly. I mean hideously ugly. I mean repulsively ugly. Yet we have embraced it because we have been lied to by the enemy of our souls and told that it’s really kind of pretty. We have declared what is ugly to be beautiful in an attempt to make ourselves appear beautiful.
The truth is that we haven’t change our appearance one bit. In fact, it has made us uglier than ever. Every chance we get we step on our neighbors, co-workers, and friends to move ahead of them, believing that this gives us more value. We lie, cheat, and steal to fluff up our own financial pillow thinking that when we lay our head on it we will have peace. We are dreadfully ugly.
It is only when sin is conquered that beauty can be exposed. Beauty can’t be seen in the dark. Only when the light – the True Light of God’s salvation – shines on us will the beauty of life be seen. Only in the joy of the Lord can we find the strength for each day.
And do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength. (Nehemiah 8:10)
You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. (Psalm 16:11)
The reason for such joy is that when we renounce sin and its lies, the Lord takes pleasure in us and adorns us with salvation. (Psalm 149:4) We are made beautiful in Christ. In God’s eyes, every one of us who is covered in the blood of Jesus is eternally beautiful.
Sounds freaky, doesn’t it. People who cover their sin with cultural beauty remain ugly, but those who cover themselves in blood – Christ’s blood – are transformed into the most beautiful of all beings. The joy of our salvation is the Great Beautifier.
And when we spread that joy to others, we become beautiful to people as well, not just to God. This is what I take from what Emerson said: by spreading joy and not pain we become beautiful in complexion, form, and behavior.
Today, let people see the beauty of Jesus in you, and they will call you beautiful too.