If there is one thing I have learned over the course of the past few years, it is this: I cannot be free until I redefine what beauty means to me. As long as I keep the world’s definition of beauty in the forefront of my mind, I will continue to worship the image and bow down to the standards. As long as I cling to the definition of physical beauty, I will continue to make choices and compromises that I am not proud of making.
The challenge for today is to redefine beauty. Reconstruct it’s meaning in your life. Rework the wording so that it reveals the truth instead of the lie. Reform the clay of the idol into the face of the real deal.
Beauty is not about you, and it is not about me. To be beautiful is not about resting in who I am. In the end, beauty is not even about being true to myself and shunning the destructive standards of beauty. To be beautiful means looking at the cross and accepting Christ’s sacrifice. The moment I take away the cross is the moment I take away the very essence of what it means to be beautiful. I am beautiful because I look upon the face of the Beautiful One. You are beautiful not because you resist the standards of this world, but because you embrace the love of the only one who matters.
When Christ came to this earth, He did not meet the definition of beauty. Isaiah says, “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him” (Isaiah 53:2). The people around Him did not stand in awe of His beauty. The disciples did not vote Him Israel’s Top Male Model. God did not plan for Him to win the earth’s beauty contest. By all appearances, Christ was not the definition of beauty. He was plain and average. His face did not stand out from the crowd around Him.
So what makes Him beautiful? What makes Christ the definition of beauty?
The fact that He is Christ, and He is God.
In scripture, it is repeatedly proclaimed that God is the most beautiful thing we will ever lay eyes on. He wins the beauty contest because He created beauty. And what did He create beauty out of? Himself. He was the first beauty, and He is the last beauty. His beauty is what will remain, not the beauty you will see today on the magazine rack. God is Beauty, and He does not compete. He knows that the definition lies in Himself and in His son.
Christ carries on the definition of beauty through the cross. This sacrifice for you and for me is the single most beautiful act in all creation. The perfect One laid down His life so that you could be free. Free from the definitions of this world. Free from the power of death. Free from the bondage of sin. Free from the hopeless that abounds in this life.
Christ is Beauty. The cross showcases His beauty. The Father holds His beauty. And we reflect His beauty.
You want to know what it means to be beautiful?
Look to the cross.
“Who has believed our message
and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
and like a root out of dry ground.
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 men,
a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.
Like one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he took up our infirmities
and carried our sorrows,
yet we considered him stricken by God,
smitten by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before her shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
By oppression and judgment he was taken away.
And who can speak of his descendants?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
for the transgression of my people he was stricken.
He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
nor was any deceit in his mouth.
Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering,
he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.
After the suffering of his soul,
he will see the light of life and be satisfied ;
by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,
and he will bear their iniquities.
Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,
and he will divide the spoils with the strong,
because he poured out his life unto death,
and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors.” (Isaiah 53)