“A new commandment I give you: Love one another as I have loved you.” Each of us is called to follow the example of Jesus. Beauty in our culture is in major transition. It is moving from an internal, invisible beauty, such as heart-felt concern, mannerly conduct, and spiritually directed, to a physical, visible, and external beauty, such as extreme body decorations, indiscreet dress, and arrogant presentation. This “beauty-battle” rages between self-centeredness and God-centeredness. Because of the culture, a small minority of us consider ourselves as beautiful or handsome. The large majority of us are considered plain, unattractive, or ugly. God views us all as being beautiful and handsome.
Each day we live is a priceless gift of God, loaded with possibilities to learn something new and to gain fresh insight. Either people believe in Jesus for salvation or they do not. There is no middle ground between heaven and hell. Five major warnings from God’s Word are the following: do not be deceived by culture proclamations; believers will suffer persecution of some kind; be aware of false prophets; do not believe those who say when Christ will return; and avoid becoming overly occupied with the cares of the world. No eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the human heart conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him.
There is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out in the open. We would not invite a thief into our house, so why would we allow thoughts that steal our joy to make them at home in our house. Where we have been, what we have done, and where we are now matters far less than where we are headed. With God’s help we have the power to encourage or discourage, to motivate or deflate, to generate joy or repel it. These are very realistic possibilities. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes (acceptable in good taste but not required); instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.
Self-reflection is always a good exercise. What I believe is a work in progress, not limited to these statements and subject to change. What do YOU believe?
Longtime Parma Hts. resident and educator in the Parma School district.