Thursday, January 16, 2014

Beauty Of Holiness

Before we get into this, let's define holiness. It's not really a churchy term. Holiness simply means "sacred or set apart". Ok, let's go.

Different people have different standards of beauty. For instance, if you ask 10 guys what a beautiful girl looks like, you will generally get different answers. The same goes for girls and...I don't know...clothes! (That is unless they have bought into the standard of beauty that the media pushes. And that's a conversation for another time.) But whatever the definition of beauty, when we see something that meets those standards we tend to set that apart in our minds. We call it valuable. We say, "That person/thing is not like everything else because THAT is beautiful and everything else is not." And what comes next? We want what's beautiful. We make efforts and provisions in our lives to acquire what we believe to be beautiful. That process is called worship.

Chasing beauty isn't all bad. As a Christian, I am called to pursue an infinitely beautiful God. And even God pursues His beautiful bride. Here's the real issue: we need to allow holiness to tell us what beauty looks like instead of allowing beauty to tell us what holiness looks like.

Let's step into a locker room for some guy talk. We'll say that most of the guys in this locker room think that this one girl in particular is beautiful. "Did you see Barbie today?" "Yeah, wow! She's hot!" And it's all good until that one dude chimes in and says, "Yeah I heard she slept with Ken two weeks ago. And she slept with Ken's best friend last week."
"Yeah! In fact, we're actually hooking up tomorrow!"
What just happened to Barbie? Her looks didn't change but somehow she just lost her value and respect. The men in the locker room who are broken in their sexual life just received hope that maybe one day they too could hook up with Barbie. And the guys with standards just got turned off. Did their physical standards of beauty change? No. But there was one standard that they never factored in - holiness.

Here's the fact. We value holiness more than we think we do. Getting a new car is great because we like the way the car looks AND because no one else has driven it. Building a dream house is cool because we can build it just the way we like it AND because we will be the only owners. A relationship is great when you are with a beautiful person AND because that person has chosen to be exclusively yours. One of the social justice issues that has come to the surface (and one that tears me up every time it is mentioned) is the issue of sex trafficking. Did you know that in the sex trade, men put a higher value on virgins than on women who have previously been sexually active? Why? Because of one word. Holiness.

Let me wrap up with this scripture in Revelation 4:2-8:

2 Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne. 3 And He who sat there was like a jasper and a sardius stone in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, in appearance like an emerald. 4 Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and on the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white robes; and they had crowns of gold on their heads. And from the throne proceeded lightnings, thunderings, and voices. Seven lamps of fire were burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.

6 Before the throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal. And in the midst of the throne, and around the throne,were four living creatures full of eyes in front and in back. 7 The first living creature was like a lion, the second living creature like a calf, the third living creature had a face like a man, and the fourth living creature was like a flying eagle.8 The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying:
Holy, holy, holy,
Lord God Almighty,
Who was and is and is to come!”

John is in heaven and he is trying to describe the most beautiful and exotic sight he has ever seen! In this vision he sees four living creatures around the throne who are grasping for words to describe the same sight that he sees. But the creatures could only come up with one word - Holy! And they repeat that word day and night...for eternity...without rest. In looking at a Person so beautiful in a place so beautiful, you would think that the creatures would yell,
"Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful is the Lord God Almighty..."
They don't because they understand something that we often don't. At this moment, they understand that holiness is the only thing that makes beauty last. God is infinitely beautiful BECAUSE He is infinitely holy. Heaven is infinitely beautiful BECAUSE the standard will forever be that nothing that is sinful is allowed in its gates.

In our daily lives, let's look at beauty through God's perspective. True beauty will always be sustained by holiness.

Thank you for reading,


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