It’s that time of year again.
Every year around this time, People magazine publishes their annual World’s Most Beautiful People edition. The sales skyrocket as women and men alike grab the magazines off the shelves to be “in” on what (and who) is beautiful this year. Every year the list changes. Every year contenders are dropped down (or off) the list in order to make room for the “more beautiful”. Every year we watch beauty being replaced by beauty.
And every year we buy it.
We buy the lie that beauty is constantly changing. We buy into the lie that beauty is a “fad”. We believe that we are only beautiful when we look like People Magazine’s #1 Most Beautiful. We change our bodies to meet the current definition. We change our looks to match the styles. We change our lives to match the lives of those around us.
Then the next year rolls around, and we change again.
Why the constant changing? Why do we always seem to chase the newest definition of beauty? Why do we conform to the standards of the Most Beautiful?
I don’t know why you do it, but I know why I do: I like to fit in. I like to be liked. I don’t want to stand out. I don’t want to be on the World’s Most Ugly list. So I change, compromise, and compete. I get to the top of the list…and then I drop off. Never to be seen again.
I used to think I was the only one who felt this pressure to fit in with the crowd. I thought I was the only one who thought fitting into the size of beauty would satisfy me. Then I met other girls, and I knew I wasn’t alone. I knew that other girls felt this pressure. I knew that other women constantly chased the new definition of beauty. What I didn’t know is this: our full-on sprint after beauty is not a new phenomenon.
It’s an old one. And when I say old, I mean old. As in Bible times. As in Old Testament old.
I found myself today in the middle of Ezekiel 16, and let me tell you- I would have been happy not to have found myself there. In this chapter, God is revealing the sin of Jerusalem to Ezekiel. Idols are common. Prostitution is common. Beauty is common.
It sounded like much of the Israelite’s history until I came to these verses that hit much too close to home:
“…You became very beautiful and rose to be a queen. And your fame spread among the nations on account of your beauty, because the splendor I had given you made your beauty perfect, declares the Sovereign Lord. But you trusted in your beauty and used your fame to become a prostitute…At the head of every street you built your lofty shrines and degraded your beauty…” (Ezekiel 16: 13-15, 25)
That’s not all. Here’s the real clencher:
“You not only walked in their ways and copied their destestable practices, but in all your ways you soon became more depraved than they.” (Ezekiel 16:47)
Have you ever used your beauty to fit in? Has your beauty ever led you to spiritual prostitution? Have you sold your image in order to worship the idols?
If you have, you’re not alone. In fact, you are in the company of thousands of Israelites.
Here’s the good news, though: God is in the business of restoring. He is in the business of buying back what we have sold off. He is in the business of taking back beauty.
Today’s challenge is to stop chasing after the beauty of this world. Stop building the shrines. Stop blending into the customs. Stop living lives of depravity.
I have seen the effects of this world’s beauty on my life, and I do not want to ever go there again. And the only way I know to prevent that is to change my pursuits.
When you stop pursuing the men, you cease to be a prostitute. In the same way, when you stop pursuing “beauty”, you cease being a “depraved” child and instead return to being “perfect” in beauty.
Despite what the People magazine issue says this year.
Verse: “Turn my eyes from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word.” (Psalm 119:37)