One of the most revealing passages regarding God’s view of beauty can be found in 1 Samuel 16:1–13. This is one of my favorite stories in Scripture, and it has a lot to say about what God desires from each of us.
As the story begins, we realize that it’s time to anoint a new king of Israel. God has charged the prophet Samuel with the task of finding the new king. What criteria should he use? How should he decide who gets to lead God’s chosen people?
Should he crown the most talented man in the land? Should the bravest general become king? Does the new king need to have a certain look? Believe it or not, the answers to these questions reveal much about the way God feels about you.
Check it out.
In his search for the next king, Samuel heads to the house of Jesse. When he arrives, Samuel asks to see Jesse’s sons. The oldest son comes into the room to greet Samuel. He is handsome and strong, but the Lord tells Samuel that he will not be king.
Then the Lord speaks the most amazing words. He says, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7, emphasis added).
My question for you is, do you have a pretty heart? Is it full of love for others and passion for the things of God or is your heart preoccupied with worldly beauty and the affirmation of man? Do you desire the kind of beauty given and acknowledged by God or the kind of beauty provided and applauded by the world around you?
I’m not saying that outer beauty is bad. You don’t have to hide under a paper bag or stop taking care of yourself. But that’s not the source of your worth. Your beauty is God-given. Your hair, your eyes, your skin, and your figure are all gifts from God’s hand. But how often do we trade in our God-given beauty for the pale imitation of beauty that comes from seeking to please the world? How often do we use our beauty to draw others toward us instead of toward Christ? How often are we motivated by the approval of man, causing us to forget that God doesn’t look at the things man looks at?
God is pleased by your beauty. By His creation He gives us permission to be beautiful. But His standards are clear: “The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
Portions of this post are taken from Erin’s book, Graffiti: Learning to See the Art in Ourselves. You can learn more about this book at www.erindavis.org.