He has made everything beautiful in its time. Ecclesiastes 3:11
What do you think of when you think of beauty? Do you think of a model on a magazine? People, in general, spend a lot of time on outerward appearance, but God says in His Word that He is more concerned with the inner man.
The LORD does not look at the things that man looks at. Man looks at the outerward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7.
What God desires from us the most is spiritual beauty. Spiritual beauty is seen in the fruits of the Spirit, as listed in Galatians 5:22-25. These fruits are a sharp contrast to the works of the flesh listed earlier in the chapter (Galatians 5:19-21). Spiritual beauty can only be found by submitting to the Spirit (Galatians 5:16,25).
We cannot live a godly life or develop spiritual beauty by our own strength.
When Jesus confronted the Pharisee’s at the temple, He condemned their false spirituality. They appeared outwardly religious, but inwardly their hearts were far from God.
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.” Matthew 23:27-28.
Trying to obtain our own spiritual beauty, our own form of righteousness, always results in the same thing: stringent rules, religious laws, deception, and lies. It is as if we think that if we can make a hundred little rules, somehow we could get our human nature to conform to God’s standards.
The parable of the wedding feast, Jesus tells of how one guest attempts to enter the feast without wedding clothes. The guest was taken outside and thrown into outer darkness. Matthew 22:2-14
We become like that guest when we feel our righteousness is enough to please God. The wedding clothes represent God’s righteousness.
I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For He has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. Isaiah 61:10 (See also Zechariah 3:4).
This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference. Romans 3:22
Returning to the verse mentioned in the beginning, Ecclesiastes 3:11, God makes everything beautiful in its time.
The cross is the greatest example of this, think about it. At the time of the Jesus death, the cross was one of the most humiliating ways that a person could die. It was a symbol of dishonor, reserved for the worst of criminals. In fact, there was a saying that stated, “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree” (Deuteronomy 21:22-23, Galatians 3:13).
I wonder how many people could have guessed then, at the time of Jesus death, what the symbol of the cross would become? Jesus died humiliated, beaten, bloody, and naked. His disciples fled. The very people He created and loved mocked Him as He hung dying. And yet, centuries later, the cross is seen as a symbol of victory, love, hope, and eternal expectation. What’s more, Jesus death on the cross made it possible for sinful man to be reconciled with God. God took something ugly and shameful, and made it beautiful.
But there is something even better here.
If God can take something inanimate (the cross) and make it into a symbol of joy, hope, and peace, how much more can He do to the human heart? How much more wonderful can His work on the human heart be?
As examined before, God desires for us to have spiritual beauty. Sin brought rebellion, wickednessm and shame, so that none of us, in our natural human state, can ever hope to please God.
It wasn’t the cross itself that made the cross a symbol of God’s love, eternal hope, and salvation, but the One who died on it gave it meaning. So it is only by putting our hope in the One who hung on the tree that we can ever hope to be changed. We can get true beauty, spiritual beauty and righteousness through Jesus Christ!
And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the Man from heaven. 2 Corinthians 15:49
And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes frm the LORD, Who is Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18.
Through Christ’s death we can all become God’s sons and daughters.
Dear friends, now we are all children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when He appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. 1 John 3:2
It is a hope that purifies us (1 John 3:3).
Other types of beauty may please men, but it cannot please God. Outward appearance isn’t important to God. Strict religious observance, like the Pharisee’s kept, cannot please God. In fact, Jesus stated that unless your righteousness surpasses the righteousness of the Pharisees, you wouldn’t get to heaven (Matthew 5:20).
Spiritual beauty is what God desires, and that is through faith in Jesus Christ.
So either you can go on thinking your own works can recommend you to God, or you can accept what Jesus Christ has already done for you.
God can give you a beauty that does not face or dim with age, a beauty that grows brighter and brighter with each passing day. He can give you hope that last forever. All you have to do is trust in Him. God can do wonderful things in your life. He can change your heart and make you more like His Son Jesus Christ.
“…and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. Once you were ailenated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to presnt you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation.” Colossians 1:20-22.