11.23.2016

Not Your Normal Post On True Beauty


"...the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit...
is very precious in the sight of God..."
1 Peter 3:4 

Have you heard that verse before? I have heard it maybe hundreds of times...;) Around the beginning of the semester I watched a Leslie Ludy sermon on "True Beauty". I was expecting it to be just what the Christian culture emphasizes..."Accept yourself, love who you are, feel good about yourself" kind of message. I've honestly been tired of hearing it and yet that message is everywhere in the Christian culture. But Leslie Ludy came out with a completely different message that challenged me and convicted me. This post is based off of her message. Things she said are in quotes(not the short quotations, but the longer ones:) I hope that you are challenged in how you think of this area!

Inner beauty - a myth of the culture. The culture tells us that we need to have a certain body shape and look a certain way. Because of this women are walking around insecure. And so the Christian culture came up with inner beauty. It tells us that if we would just tap into this "inner beauty" and embrace it we would be these amazing Christian women and all our insecurities would melt away. Women are attracted to this message of "feel good about yourself"..."embrace your inner beauty" because they're insecure. Inner beauty is like the world's solution to insecurity. Leslie Ludy tells a story of how when she was younger her youth pastor got up in front of everyone and told all the young people to go home, look in the mirror, and say to themselves "I Love You". He told them "God wants you to feel good about yourselves" and so..."You need to love yourself". But Leslie says however many times she tried to look inside herself and find her "inner beauty" she just felt as insecure as ever. 

The modern definition of inner beauty is: "being confident in who you are; having a positive "sense of self"; appreciating your own uniqueness and personal qualities." That sounds good...what's wrong with it?

It's unbiblical. 

"If a soul has any beauty it is because Christ has endowed that soul with His own, for on our own we are deformed and defiled! There is no beauty in any of us, but what our Lord has worked in us."
- Charles Spurgeon

There is no beauty in any of us...except what our Lord has worked in us. This doesn't mean that we don't have any value to God, quite the opposite. "But when we try to find our own beauty, except a beauty of a life fully surrendered to Jesus Christ, we do not have any because of sin."

Now let's go to incorruptible beauty. The definition being: " Uncorrupted(pure) and immortal (of heaven, not earth)." That is the biblical meaning. "God is asking us to cultivate a beauty not of this earth, in other words, reflecting the purity and heavenly nature of Jesus Christ in and through your character and conduct." 

The main thing wrong with the inner beauty message is not that God wants us to feel terrible about ourselves, but that we bypass that any beauty within us needs to be the beauty of Christ. Christianity is not about esteeming self, but denying self and esteeming Christ."

The Bible says in Luke 9:23 "Then he said to them all: Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me." Not esteem themselves...deny themselves. Deny is to "forget oneself, lose sight of one's own interests". How different is this than what we hear today? "Do what makes you happy, make all your dreams come true...it's all about me, me, me." But the Bible says to let all your dreams and pursuits get swallowed up in Him. 

"Our joy should be complete when we see Him, not when people see us. This doesn't mean you won't have unique personalities and gifts. They were given to you by God himself. But when you use those gifts to draw attention to yourself instead of Jesus Christ then they are out of their place. When you say how can I get more out of the way so He increases and I decrease that's when incorruptible beauty shines through

Proverbs 9:13 says that a "foolish woman is clamorous". The definition of clamorous is "to makes noise, to draw attention to oneself, to cause a stir." Now that doesn't mean mean you're outgoing. Having a Facebook page, blogging about yourself, having Pinterest boards, and most of social media can all "create a stir". And yet we naturally love it. It's wonderful to get a nice ego boost...and yet drawing attention to ourselves Proverbs says is foolish.  

Now lets go back up to the verse at the beginning. For most of my life I've wondered if this verse means that everyone should have this quiet personality...I knew that couldn't be true, but it just seems to say that. Mrs. Ludy brought it to a whole new level for me. She said that this verse does not mean that we all need to have this "quiet, shy, mousy little personality", but that a quiet spirit means that self is quiet.  Isn't that challenging?

And so by now you may be thinking...okay this is wonderful...and yet how do I apply this to my life? I totally understand where you're coming from. I have heard these amazing quotes and teachings and yet when I'm done I'm like "Wow. That was amazing...but...ummm...how do I apply that to daily, practical life?" Leslie Ludy didn't end her message though by saying that "we should all try to keep self quiet". She ended her message by sharing practical ways we can cultivate this incorruptible beauty. 

"Cultivating It:
1. Exchange Self-Promotion For Godly Humility
2. Exchange Idle Chatter for Godly Edification
2. Exchange Temporal Distractions for True Satisfaction"

#1: Exchange Self-Promotion For Godly Humility

Our culture finds so many ways that we can promote ourselves and have people look at us...here are a few.

Social Media - Look at ME
Posting Selfies - Look at ME
Online Dating - Look at ME
Sensual Clothing - Look at ME
Flirting - Look at ME
Pinterest Boards - Look at ME

Leslie said that she's not saying that we should completely take away all social media, but we must make sure we are guarded and not promoting ourselves. 

And so I want to really challenge you. 

In blogging how are you drawing attention to yourself? 
In writing how are you drawing attention to yourself? 
In conversations how are you drawing attention to yourself? 
In friendships how are you drawing attention to yourself?
In social media posts how are you drawing attention to yourself? 
In emails how are you drawing attention to yourself? 

I know you may be thinking "Oh, I couldn't do that. Everybody would think I'm crazy. You're not actually expecting me to not talk about myself a lot are you?" I think Jesus isn't expecting us to never talk about ourselves, but a better question would be 

Do I think Jesus would be more pleased if I posted selfies or didn't?
Do I think Jesus would be more pleased if I blogged about myself or about Him? 
Do I think Jesus would be more pleased if I talked about myself on Facebook or didn't?
Do I think Jesus would be more pleased if I talked about myself with my friends and in my emails and chats or talked more about Him?
...we should live for His applause only...for in Who's presence will we be for eternity? Let's be radical. 

"What I am called to be is nothing. Jesus made himself nothing."
-Elizabeth Elliot

16 comments:

  1. Hannah, I love your posts that encourage me towards a deeper devotion to Christ. Thank you! Isn't it so true that our culture makes it easy, normal and desirable to promote ourselves??

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    1. Jordy, you are very sweet. I appreciate your encouragement very much! And yes. I mean literally everything people post on social media is all about themselves...but I was just thinking maybe they would say "Well, if I completely stopped that would be legalistic..." That's kind of what we were talking about...maybe we get true legalism and wholehearted devotion mixed up? What do you think about how we can use social media to draw attention to Him and not ourselves?

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    2. Hmm... good question. We could make our status updates centred around what God has been teaching us.

      I think it would also make a huge difference simply to not shy away from giving God credit where it's due Him. For example, we might post about how fantastic of a camping trip we had with our family; how special they are to us and how beautiful the landscape is. We could end there. We could shy away from giving the glory to God... OR we could could acknowledge Him as the source of all good.

      What about you? Ideas?

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    3. Yes, that is true! We definitely should be giving glory to God for everything that's happened. But then we could just not talk about ourselves much at all and talk all about Him. :) It is hard though!

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    4. I though I might jump in here with a few of my ideas! =)
      1) A lot of the time, I find myself e-mailing others and talking about more trivial things, such as, 'What are you doing for the holidays?' 'What have you been reading?' 'What did you do today?' and that sort of thing. I think a way that we can give glory to God in that area is perhaps asking deeper questions, such as, 'How can I pray for you?' or talking about what God has done in your life, and asking what He is doing in your friend's life.
      2) I think I need to start using my time wisely on media, instead of using that spare media time when I'm bored to just 'blog surf' as I call it. =) I should use it to glorify God--writing posts which magnify His name, e-mailing encouraging notes to others, things like that.
      Those are just a couple suggestions; I'm sure we could think of many more! =)
      -Ariel

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    5. Ariel, those are some of my exact thoughts! We tend to ask and talk about meaningless things instead of meaningful things. It's something I'm trying to work on! And the second one...yes! I struggle with that so much. Just check this website and that and waste my time on meaningless things and posts. It's so hard to break though! :(

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  2. ^^ Jordy's comment is basically what I was going to say as well....this is an amazing post, Hannah! You do an amazing job of drawing people to Him instead of yourself with your blog posts.
    Love you! <3

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    1. Aww, you're too sweet Emily! I love you too!! ♥ What are your thoughts, like I asked Jordy, on how we can use social media to point away from ourselves and to Him?

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    2. I like Jordy's note- when we post pretty nature pictures, or anything, always give the glory to God, and maybe include a short something about what He did or taught you through that particular trip, picture, event, etc. I don't think it's wrong to post pictures (like nature) every now and then, when we're enjoying the beautiful things God gave us! Of course, if we only post selfies all the time, then that's a totally different story, but hopefully no one does that that's reading this. xD
      Anyway, sorry that I'm late responding... those are just a few random thoughts!

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    3. Yes, I agree! Nature pictures definitely can bring glory to God when we give him the glory for them. For sure! And yes, haha. I hope not. xD

      And no problem! Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

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  3. Woah... this was really powerful, Hannah. Definitely something to think about. I'm going to try and e-mail you soon and we can talk more about this! =)
    -Ariel

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    1. I'm glad you were challenged by it, Ariel. I was super challenged just writing it. :) And I'd love to hear your thoughts in an email!!

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  4. This is so encouraging, Hannah!

    Have a good Thanksgiving! :)

    With love and all joy,
    Allie D.
    www.alliesblogdesigns.blogspot.com
    www.friendlovesatalltimes.blogspot.com
    www.sincerelyallied.blogspot.com
    www.spreadingmyjoy.blogspot.com

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    1. I'm so glad you were encouraged, Allie! I hope you had a wonderful thanksgiving too!

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  5. Hannah, I just wanted to say, this is one of the best posts Ive read on this topic for a while - so personally relevant and convicting, yet also encouraging and inspiring to see other girls wanting to serve God with every part of their life. Keep shining for Him! xx

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    1. Aww, thank you so much Jessica! That means a lot. *hugs* I think somehow it freed me a lot when I watched the message on it because I had been struggling a bit with "What is true beauty?" and not liking what the "Christian culture" said that if we can just accept ourselves and love who we are we will have this true beauty and never be insecure. But the message of taking all focus off of ourselves and laying down our lives for Him and others will make all our insecurities melt away was so freeing to hear.

      You're so sweet, Jessica! Thank you for commenting!

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