I recently partnered with a dear friend to create a Bible study series focusing on true beauty.
When I sat down to write my portion of the discussion, my first instinct was to talk about inner beauty.After all, how many times have we all heard that “true beauty comes from within”? But after doing some digging in Scripture, I came to the conclusion that this phrase is not giving us an exhaustive depiction of God’s perspective on beauty.
My process began when I stopped to ask, “Where does true beauty actually come from?” Does it come from inside of us? How can that be true knowing we are sinful and broken on the inside?
In some ways, humans are like God’s precious gems, distinctive to the rest of nature because we are the only creatures made in His image.
After searching through my Bible it hit me--I don’t know why I never thought of it this way before. All true beauty comes from God.
As James 1:17 tells us, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” And, of course, Genesis 1:26-27 reveals, “Then God said, ‘Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’ So God created mankind in his own image.”
Genesis helps us understand that every human being inherently possesses beauty not because of our own nature, but because of God’s perfect nature and the love He imprinted on us from the beginning of time.
Psalm 139 celebrates the delicate care God takes to create each of one of us, saying, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”
God’s love for us is what gives us our unique and irreplaceable value. In some ways, humans are like God’s precious gems, distinctive to the rest of nature because we are the only creatures made in His image.
Unfortunately, we strayed from God’s perfect nature when Adam and Eve gave in to the temptation to sin.
Theologians tell us that the Fall distorted God’s image in us but did not completely destroy it. Though the devil tried to strip it away, humans still bear God’s likeness and hold glimpses of His image. These remaining, precious glimmers are what give us the potential to be reformed through His Son Jesus.
Although we often think of God’s redemption plan simply as His means to save us from sin and death, it was more than that.
God also sent Jesus for the purpose of restoration. By accepting Christ, mankind can get back to God’s original, beautiful design through the Holy Spirit’s work in our hearts.
Like uncut, precious stones, humans are born with potential to become breathtakingly beautiful; but it’s up to each of us to accept our Maker’s plans to cut and shape us into the stunning gems He designed us to be--to allow Him to make us look more like His perfect Son.
This beautification process begins the day we accept Jesus into our hearts, but is not fully completed until we reach Heaven.
So the point that brought me to the end of my search is that while true beauty does EXIST on the inside of us, it is not in the sense we tend to think about it.
As God says in 1 Samuel 16:7: “The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
Beauty is not something we can claim as our own. True beauty comes from God and is developed through God.
We will become utterly radiant when God’s perfect nature is increased in our hearts through our dependence on Jesus.
This is humbling, but beautiful.