Hi guys, I hope you are all doing so well! God bless you! :)
I just had a feeling the other day that people are just worrying and focusing too much about what they look like.
I guess this is just a casual reminder of our focus on externalities in light of eternity.
My prayer is that we may shine like Christ, to be like Christ. That is, that His power, character and attributes may rest on us.
Like in my other blog on "What Does Beauty, Working Out, And Grace Have In Common?", we are reminded that our external features are a tent, transitory and will fade.
Relying on God is important as we can have an unwavering confidence in Him who never changes.
It can be tough sometimes, I know. Especially if you're going through persecution about something or feel left out because you don't have the latest XYZ. But we must believe The Beatitudes Matthew 5:11 when Jesus says, "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me".
Something special about The Beatitudes is that they are supreme blessings.
This world looks at the tangibles and the outside attires and says to us, "oh man, you're so blessed or you're so lucky!", but really, Jesus says that you are BLESSED because of Him and when anything in the Word occurs to you weather good or seemingly horrible in the moment.
Let's focus on our insides. They matter most. Like I said last time, I'm not saying neglect yourself, no, but there is a fine line in focusing your time & energy on the outside in order to be like the others than to focus on yourself to better yourself in a healthy formality. So it's not wrong to improve yourself, it's encouraged. It's about the extent of the focus, the aim and the motive of such, and if it's a higher aspect than Christ's aspects.
"He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by mankind,
a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him in low esteem." -Isaiah 53: 2-3
There was NOTHING beautiful about him, or handsome or ANYTHING (externally) that should have made us desire Him. What a sobering thought. I know you're thinking: "yea, but He's God..." yes, but He came down as a man, it's a sobering thought. He went through what we are going through: the pointing, the laughing, the stares, the gossip, the snares, He went through it all, so He understands what you are or might be going through.
Life can be so tough. We are measured, told we're too thin, too fat, too this, too that. I always loved quotes by Danielle La Porte. One of them is "You will always be too much of something for someone: too big, too loud, too soft, too edgy. If you round out your edges, you lose your edge", so be yourself. Besides, I truly believe just like Paul, our "thorns" or whatever we don't like truly keeps us humble...
"Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong." -2 Corinthians 12:9-10
...And yet it is those very things God uses for glory! Hallelujah.
The world will try to mold us and shape us, try to make us into this person we can hardly recognise. By shaping up, OUR type of shaping up as Christians, means to go back to the Word of God and seeing what it really means to be fit, to be in tact, to be whole, to be pure and so forth. We can look at the latest magazines, sure, but that changes the next day and month - "you're in, you're out" according to them! And we can look at celebrities, but a lot of them are being PAID to wear or be that type of representative!
So what kind of representative do we need? Christ.
We are able to make clearer choices in those areas of beauty, if we start from the foundation that is most concrete and stable. At the end of the day, you want to be able to be okay with yourself.
I love you loads. Christ loves you. And I'm praying for us all :)
I encourage you to do a Bible study on what beauty means from the inside out. The Proverbs 31 woman is one example, there's Esther, Ruth who had different characteristics, and of course there is Christ. Also a study on what it means "to just be", without the "stuff". I say this again, It can be tough, there is so much going on in this fast paced life, but look at yourself in the physical mirror and declare it out loud that you are beautiful, then look at yourself in the REALEST mirror (the Word) and know that you are founded in Christ, beautiful, loved, valuable, known intimately, and so special. What's in you has more value than what the world could offer. Keep up the good work guys, I'm so rooting for you and don't give up the fight! :) x
Yesterday, I posted on my Facebook page about how we are fearfully and wonderfully made. I feel like someone needed to be reminded of that, including myself! :) :)
I'm currently doing a study on Proverbs 31, and yesterday I was on verse 30, which says:
"Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised." Proverbs 31:30
I decided to look up the word 'fleeting', and it said: "lasting for a short time, short lived, quick, transitory...etc."
Looking around us, we tend to see a new "invention" for some type of beauty quick-fix, some get Botox, liposuction, etc. and wonder, "if only I could be like this". Yet, when we weigh that alongside the Bible, the Word says, physical beauty is transitory.
On the other hand, we also know that we can be confident that the Lord does not change like shifting shadows (James 1:17), and that heaven and earth will pass away, but His words will never pass away (Matthew 24:35).
"Err....So what does this have to do with beauty" you ask?
Well, it also says that:
"For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands." 2 Corinthians 5:1
We will be lifted up in our heavenly bodies one day. So God won't be judging you on how well you put on your mascara, how you kept up with your earthly body, or how well you kept up appearances. He will be more concerned about how you were keeping up with yourself in the relationship with Lord Himself. Because it says that those who seek Him will find Him, it's always possible to seek Him and put your face toward Him and begin this relationship of knowing Him deeper. From there, the Spirit leads you to do the things that need to be done, and to fully be the woman you so wonderfully are created to be!
You might be saying: "well, I think it IS important to keep your body fit etc". It's true, but not in a religious way, because religion never works. I can work out because I want to look good, but never know the basis of it in the Lord. As Pastor T.D. Jakes likes to say, "religious people are of the letter of the text, but not the spirit of it'', meaning, they don't take the spiritual side of it where one isn't damned if they 'do or do not do' something that's written down, nor understand the notion of grace.
Let's take an example: So, if I worked out, and I finally "looked good"...what's next? I'd still be working to attain something else because I would've been done "looking good" in that area, and if we don't look as "good" one day we start thinking "my life is ruined!". It's not really a fun game is it? -___-
But if I work out because I know that it will give me energy to do the work I need to do, then it becomes a different story.
When I connect that with the story of grace, it TOTALLY becomes a new story, because grace becomes this thing where God allows you to be yourself. We start to know that we are nothing without Him, and yet He gives us EVERYTHING we need even though we don't deserve it!
Grace becomes a full fledged mountain that blocks all self attained effort, keeps you from puffing you up, and decreases the desire to want to achieve anything on your own. Living in grace enables us to say, "I'm not capable of doing this, but with my Abba, all things are possible." That's what grace does to you, and from there, you can work out, knowing that you are doing it for the Lord, not for others, and knowing that the Lord is showing you what to do.
I remember when I first lost some weight from the year 2010, it was a process. It was a learning process where I realized that change was first more of a shift in my mentality, than the physical body. I did have a season of my full working-out sessions, until it became my "thing-I-have-to-do", but God graciously reminded me that it wasn't going to turn into my ''go-to"!! haha!!" So I had to regroup, regroup into understanding that no matter how much I worked out, or completed a "goal" it didn't amount to my worth.
I feel like a lot of sisters are in that position right now, trying to work out to look good for other people, trying to get recognition from other people.
'Grace' knows that slip-ups will happen.
'Religion' punishes one self when they don't wake up early to go to the gym or run, or if they ate what they said they wouldn't, and it goes on and on about it. Grace says, "it's okay, repent if needed, and move on, there is always another chance."
I remember when I went through a rough season last summer. The season I told you about where I was working hard! LOL! Well, one of the weeks, I had finished writing in my journal and decided to go buy a new one. As I opened to write in the new journal that morning, the Lord spoke to me, and said: "mercy has no end." I remember I was just in awe at the fact that He had said that. Don't you just long for moments of breathing out and saying: 'ah..praise God, I can relax now, I don't need to succumb to the pressure anymore!"? Even though I was at a rough stage and that season seemed unpleasant, God showed me that He was still there. He is was always willing to give us chance after chance.
He shows His mercy, and it is limitless. Same with His love, His grace, it has no limit. Because of it, we can say, "okay, if GOD permits, today I will do x,y,z. or I will be x,y and z." It's about humbling ourselves, whilst realizing that we can also ask for wisdom so we won't be led astray. It is also knowing that this given wisdom isn't in itself our final destination, but that it's about the Giver who has assured us that His grace is sufficient enough, and that His power is made perfect in weakness.
So ladies, what does this have to do with beauty?
Well, being beautiful means you lay yourself to the Lord, and you give Him your heart, so He can change it. Being beautiful is to understand that this world is not perfect, but God, who designed you, can tell you just how uniquely perfect you are.
Being beautiful is to choose to listen to God's definition of beauty, not ours, or the worlds.
Being beautiful is to spend time with God so we can know these things, so He can smile and shine upon our face. It is to know that it is better to be fully clothed in a spiritual armor as opposed to a worldly, transitory 'amour' that fades away day by day.
Being beautiful, is putting our hope in God, no matter what :) we can only do that, if we spend time with Him :)
So what does beauty, working out, and grace have in common?
It's having Jesus at the centre of it all.