Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Beauty Is in the Reflection

Leslie Basham: If it's true that we are what we eat, then it's truer still that we become what we look at.

This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss for Wednesday, November 6. Here's Nancy.

Nancy DeMoss: What do you think of when you think of a woman who is really beautiful? All this week we've been listening to a message that I think is a very important message for women to hear today, especially our younger women. The message was given by my friend, Carolyn Mahaney and she's challenging us to think about the difference between the world's definition of beauty and God's definition of beauty. Let's join Carolyn.

Carolyn Mahaney: Our culture defines beauty by how we look on the outside. God defines beauty by how we look on the inside. Our culture puts forth a standard of beauty that is unattainable by most. God puts forth a standard of beauty to which we can all attain if we but surrender to His work of grace in our lives. Our culture encourages women to cultivate a beauty that's fleeting.

Elizabeth Taylor will never again look like she did when she was 16 years old and starring in National Velvet in spite of all the cosmetic alterations she has undergone. She'll never look that beautiful again.

Our culture encourages women to cultivate a beauty that would only last for a brief amount of time. God encourages women to cultivate a beauty that will never fade. And it will only grow more attractive with the passing of time. Our culture seeks to entice us to cultivate a beauty that is for the eyes of all to behold and to impress everyone.

God summons us to cultivate a beauty for His eyes only--a beauty that is of great worth in His sight. Our culture solicits us to aspire to the beauty of the latest glamorous model or this season's most popular actress. God bids us to aspire to the beauty of the holy women of the past who put their hope in God. The beauty our culture esteems...it may turn some heads. But, the beauty God calls us to cultivate...it will make a lasting impact.

I mean, think about it. When someone physically attractive walks by, we notice. Men in particular notice. But that's the end of it. It makes a brief, momentary impression. But a woman who cultivates inner beauty, who fears God and lives to serve others makes a difference in people's lives.

Her beauty makes a lasting impact on the lives of those she touches. Think about the ones who have affected your life. You'll never forget them. They don't make a brief impact, they make a lasting impact on your life. Physical beauty may turn some heads, but inner beauty leaves an indelible mark on the lives of others.

Our culture's pursuit of beauty can be summarized with this definition: A love of self. God's definition of beauty can be summarized with this definition: A love for God. Which beauty are we seeking to cultivate? Are we intentionally and actively cultivating an inner beauty or do we give more attention to our outward appearance?

See, the way we think about and attend to our personal appearance is really a mirror on our hearts. It shows whether our priority is to cultivate inner beauty or outer beauty. It actually reveals either a love for God or a love for self. It either reflects godly motivations or selfish motivations. It's questions like these that have helped me to see that all too often my desire is for self-glory rather than desiring God's glory.

First Corinthians 10:31 calls me to an altogether different standard. It says, "Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." Everything we do should be for God's glory, not our own. We are to pursue holiness in every aspect of our lives including our beauty pursuit.

How is this possible? How can we possibly please God in our pursuit of beauty? How can we cultivate a beauty that reflects a love for God rather than a love for self? How can we put to death those evil desires in our heart that result in craving attention from others, that lead us to comparing ourselves with others, evil desires which tempt us to be absorbed with ourselves, evil desires which tempt us to be preoccupied with our personal appearance? How can we deal with these evil desires in our hearts? How can we cultivate biblical thoughts, biblical motives and biblical actions in our quest for beauty?

I believe it begins by setting our hearts and minds on things above. Let's read Colossians 3:1-5. It's printed on your outline. As we read this section of Scripture, I want you to note a natural progression in these verses. Pay close attention.

"Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexually immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry."

Did you catch the progression? See, before we are told to put to death our evil desires, we are told to set our hearts and minds on things above. This is such an important point. The key to putting to death our evil desires, the starting point for any repentance is setting our hearts and minds on things above. What does that mean? What does it mean to set my heart and mind on things above?

It means to direct our attention toward Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross. To set our hearts and minds on things above means to aggressively focus on Jesus Christ and continually remind ourselves that because of His death on the cross, we are forgiven of every evil desire, we are justified from every evil desire. And we are no longer enslaved by any evil desire.

Jesus died to redeem us from both the penalty and the power of sin in our lives. May we revel in His grace. May we marvel at His mercy in our lives. See, to set our hearts and minds on things above means to be taken up with the beauty of His amazing grace and His undeserved mercy in our lives.

Do you know what? As we devote our attention to His beauty, we will only grow more beautiful. We need to ask the Holy Spirit to give us eyes to see the beauty of the Lord. Beholding His beauty is what makes us beautiful.

Nancy DeMoss: That's Carolyn Mahaney helping us to understand what it means to be truly beautiful. As I listened to Carolyn sharing that last portion of her message, I'm reminded of the passage in the Old Testament where Moses went up into a mountain and spent time alone just in the presence of the Lord.

When he came off that mountain, do you remember what his face looked like? The Scripture says the glory of God shone from his face. There was a visible difference after he had been in the presence of the Lord because he was reflecting the glory and the beauty of the Lord.

I think about a chorus I learned when I was a little girl and I've sung it many times over the years. The words go like this:

 

*Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me,
all His wonderful passion and purity.
Oh thou Spirit divine, all my nature refine
'til the beauty of Jesus be seen in me.

 

I don't know about you, but I know that as I've listened to this message I've been stirred once again to want to have that kind of beauty. I know there's only one way to get it. You don't get it by going to charm school or beauty school or reading beauty magazines. You get it by opening the Word of God, getting into the Lord's presence and taking that long, hard look at Jesus. In His presence we are transformed into His likeness.

So would you just join me now in praying that prayer from Psalm 90:17 "May the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us." Lord, I do pray that prayer. I want to be filled with your spirit. I want for my spirit, my countenance, my manner, my words, everything about me to reflect the beauty of the Lord Jesus. We pray together with the Psalmist, "let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us" for Jesus' sake we pray it, Amen.

Leslie Basham: Beholding God's beauty is what makes us beautiful. That's a truth we all need to hold in our hearts today. I trust this series on true beauty is encouraging and helpful to you. We would like to underscore the truth of these broadcasts by sending to you a Revive Our Hearts Wall Calendar.

Each month describes through colorful photography, Scripture and challenging quotations, a liberating truth about God and the way He wants to relate to us. The 2003 Revive Our Hearts Wall Calendar can be yours simply by calling 1-800-569-5959 or by writing to Revive Our Hearts. When you write, would you prayerfully consider including a donation? Your financial support and prayer help keep Revive Our Hearts on the air in your community.

When you contact us, why don't you ask about the book, Biblical Womanhood in the Home? Nancy edited the book and Carolyn Mahaney, today's guest, is one of the book's contributors. If you've been inspired to be a beautiful, godly woman today, this book will show you how. It's available for a $13 suggested donation.

Tomorrow Carolyn Mahaney continues her message on true beauty by offering some practical and biblical advice on becoming an attractive woman. I hope you can join us again for Revive Our Hearts.

*Orsborn, Albert, Jones, Tom. "Let The Beauty Of Jesus Be Seen In Me."

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is a ministry partnership of Life Action Ministries.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.