You are beautiful. I’m sorry if you don’t feel it. I’m sorry if you don’t believe it. I’m sorry if you don’t think that it is important. But you are beautiful. God said it. Song of Songs 4:1, “You are beautiful, my darling, beautiful beyond words”. This verse is about you.
It doesn’t matter if you don’t feel it. It doesn’t matter if you don’t believe it. It doesn’t matter if you don’t think it’s important. This verse is personal. This verse is living. This verse is eternal. It is true.
For those who are peeved at women’s ministry leaders who tell them they are beautiful, throw some grace my way and hang in there.
While the reality of your beauty is not the most important Biblical point I can make, that doesn’t make the truth of your beauty irrelevant. God’s beauty and your beauty are not mutually exclusive. It’s not an either-or scenario. It’s part of the big, luscious, expansive, complex, rich package that comes with the gift of salvation.
Before salvation you were a sinner, it was ugly. Jesus died for your sins. When you accept salvation you are no longer defined by your ugly sins. You are now defined by his beautiful love. You are his child. He loves you. To him you are beautiful.
For every woman with her insecurities, her failures, living in her mess, this can be liberating news. It’s liberating because it is the word of God, and the word of God is powerful. It’s not positive thinking. It’s not a compliment. It’s not Christian cheer leading. It’s truth. Eternal, unchanging, powerful truth.
So why do we struggle with the truth of our beauty? Perhaps, there are two real issues that need to be clarified to prevent us getting peeved off.
First, how do we define beauty? Secondly, do we believe beauty is important?
If we define beauty by cultural standards, that is, your face and body conform to worldly measures of attractiveness then we are in trouble. Being told you are culturally beautiful from the church platform is dumb. I know I’m not Gigi Hadid. She is an attractive woman, she makes an honest wage and works hard, good for her.
But I don’t look like Gigi Hadid. And it is OK because God doesn’t call me to conform to worldly standards but to crave the culture of the Kingdom. Kingdom culture has a very different definition of beauty.
Kingdom culture defines your beauty as image bearers of a beautiful God. As image bearers we reflect God visibly. We reflect his love, liberty, grace, compassion, joy, holiness and power. When you express these qualities with your face, with your body, with your words, with your actions – you are beautiful.
Our beauty is the manifestation of God’s love.
Kingdom beauty is defined by God’s love. When God looks at you, he feels love, he feels pleasure, he feels delight. Zephaniah 3:17 tells us that God delights in us with gladness, that he rejoices over us with songs of joy. Our beauty is manifestation of this unfailing love, it is a reflection of his glory in our life.
Beauty is one of the ingredients in God’s glory. God’s glory is a combination of planet crushing power, pure righteousness and splendorous beauty. If we selectively diminish the importance of one of those ingredients, we water down how we conceive God’s glory. Beauty is part and parcel of God’s glory and we are called to become bearers of his glory in increasing degrees.
Why are we called to increase in God’s glory and therefore his beauty? This brings us to the second issue- is beauty important?
Beauty is important because it is powerful.
Beauty can create a response, evoke emotion, inspire action, cause us to change. These responses, emotions, actions and changes may be divine or destructive. In the hands of heaven, beauty has godly power.
Beauty has the power to evangelize. Father Baron, a theologian and author, believes beauty is a powerful evangelism tool. “Begin with the beautiful, which leads you to the good, which leads you to the truth”(1). In post modern times when ideas of truth and goodness are fluid, beauty is a gentle place to begin a hard conversation.
Beauty has the power to give hope in the hopeless. Imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp, Dr. Frankl intentionally absorbed the beauty of nature during a forced march. By using the power of beauty, he was able to endure the unendurable. When a woman wears hope as an expression of her godly beauty, she can give hope to the hopeless.
Beauty gives courage. In Psalm 27 David is surrounded by his enemies. It is then he declares he will meditate on the beauty of God, this focus builds his courage. When our lives point to the joys and wonders of life, we remind others why we fight for what is good and true.
Godly beauty isn’t about generating compliments, it’s about generating hope, courage and joy. Godly beauty isn’t about your weight, its about the weight of God’s glory. Godly beauty isn’t about cosmetics, it’s about his craftsmanship. Godly beauty isn’t about pretty, it’s about power.
Satan himself knows the power of beauty. It was the desire to possess God’s beauty that corrupted him and led to his downfall (see Ezekiel 28:17).
Evil dictatorships know the power of beauty. One of the first acts of dictatorship by Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot and Stalin was to exile or execute artists, musicians and authors. Hitler defined superiority as white skin, blue eyes and blonde hair. Dictators know beauty fully expressed had the power to bring freedom of thought. So beauty had to be captured and manipulated for their depraved purposes.
The famous author and philosopher Dostoevsky said, “The awful thing is that beauty is mysterious as well as terrible. God and the devil are fighting there and the battlefield is the heart of man.
There is a battle for beauty. It’s not just about dictators. For women, it’s personal. Beauty is not just about art, it’s about anorexia. It’s not just about music, its about airbrushed images. It’s not just about poetry, its about body shame. Perverted definitions of beauty have the power to destroy a woman’s body and soul. It’s a personal attack which is why Songs of Songs 4:1 needs to be taken personally.
If women’s ministry doesn’t act as an agent to define true beauty, the gap will be filled by worldly culture, or worse still it will be defined by evil.
Satan knows the power of beauty and he doesn’t want it to get in the hands of the godly. He deceives us by convincing us our beauty is fluffy, frivolous, egotistical. Yeh, well devil, I’m not playing your game.
I cannot talk about my beauty, without talking about God.
I cannot express my beauty, without expressing God’s love.
I cannot embrace beauty without embracing God.
God’s beauty and my beauty are inextricably connected. My beauty declares by my demeanor, “I am loved by the King of Kings!” So are the other women in my world and I’m going to loudly and publicly declare it.
True beauty cannot be separated from God’s glory. If your women’s ministry leaders are focusing singularly on your beauty without reference to God’s glory over the course of their ministry, then they have a problem. If so, I suggest you follow Biblical procedure and correct them in private.
However, if your leaders are calling you beautiful within the context of God’s love and glory and you cringe, then perhaps, perhaps, dear woman you need to honestly and humbly ask yourself if you have a problem. Ask yourself if you are fully embracing the truth of his love for you, a love that makes you beautiful.
by Elissa Macpherson
speaker, author, coffee drinker, feisty and feminine, Jesus lover