Beautiful – Ministry Spot



People love beauty. Beautiful places. Beautiful faces. Beautiful homes and gardens. Beautiful cars. Beautiful holidays. Beautiful music. Beautiful food and drink. Beautiful times with beautiful friends. The list goes on; and there are magazines and websites for them all. You might have your own definitions of what is beautiful; but we nearly all love beauty.

A Beautiful World

This deep attachment to beauty is not accidental. It has been there from the very beginning. The story of beauty begins in the first two chapters of the Bible. In Genesis 1 God creates a world full of beauty – the beauty of the sun and moon, of stars and galaxies. The beauty of oceans and rivers, of plants and trees. The beauty of the animal world, of the sea teeming with living creatures, and of birds soaring in the sky. And at the height of it all, the creation of two beautiful people made in God’s very image. Two people who were perfect in every way and who were hard-wired to love the beauty God had given to them, in the world he had made for them.

God then placed those two people in a beautiful Garden. Eden was paradise. There was an abundance of life, symbolised by the tree of life. There were precious stones, “good gold”, vast rivers that ensured a lush and fertile land, and food that was pleasing to the eye and wonderful to taste. And there was the beauty of physical attraction and intimacy in the first marriage on earth (Gen 2:8-24).

A Beautiful God

This accent on beauty was highly intentional. God was making a statement. He was showing-casing in creation that he is the God of beauty – the God who loves beautiful things. He shows that he is pro pleasure, joy and delight and that he loves excellence. The size of the creation also indicates he is not averse to quite some extravagance.

But it is not just that God loves beauty. He is beauty. Creation is simply displaying something of the Creator. The heavens declare the glory of God (Psalm 19:1). In creation, his invisible qualities are seen by the human eye (Rom 1:20). God intends us to see in the beauty of his world a reflection of himself. Every time we enjoy a beautiful sunset, or a lovely day at the beach, or fine wine, or fresh bread, we are meant to lift our eyes to God and remember him.

God’s beauty, however, is not physical or material. He is Spirit, so his beauty is spiritual beauty. The true beauty of God is his moral beauty. His is the beauty of absolute, perfect, untainted holiness.

You may well know people who, though perhaps not particularly pretty to look at, nonetheless do beautiful things and live in a beautiful way. Their generosity, care, integrity, or sincerity is beautiful. In a world where we so often see the ugliness of greed, lust, abuse and debauchery, such virtue is beautiful.

But no one matches God himself in true goodness. His love is beautiful because in it there is no hint of anything unkind, impure, selfish, or inappropriate. His justice is beautiful because he always acts uprightly, fairly, graciously, wisely, and knowingly. His power is beautiful because it is not only vast but it is only ever directed toward all that is good, right and true. Every attribute of God is beautiful because it is in perfect proportion to all his other attributes.

A Beautiful Saviour

This beauty of the invisible God came to physical expression when God himself took on flesh and blood. In Jesus, the Son of God, all the fulness of God lives in bodily form (Col 1:1). So the richness of God’s beauty is fully manifest in him. Isaiah tells us that his beauty was not external or physical. “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him” (Is 53:2, NIV). Rather, his was the beauty of godliness, seen in his countless interactions with people. If you were an unclean leper, it must have been an overwhelmingly beautiful thing when Jesus actually touched you and healed you. How beautiful for blind people to have their eyes opened, for lame people to take up their beds and walk, for grieving people to hug a loved one raised from the dead. How beautiful when outcasts, sinners, and prostitutes found love and forgiveness. How beautiful for the thief being crucified next to Jesus, to hear him say, “Today, you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). And then came the most beautiful day of all, when Jesus stepped out of a grave, victorious over sin and death.

Beautiful People

One of the wonderful things about the beauty of Jesus is it is transformative of those who bask in it. When I spend time with people who look beautiful, their beauty does not rub off on me. I have found, unfortunately, their good looks don’t improve mine. But spending time with Jesus changes us. Since, by the Spirit, Christ is in us and we in him, his beauty transforms us because it becomes a part of us. Little by little, we are changed into his likeness and find ourselves becoming a bit more generous, loving, thoughtful; somewhat more given to purity and godliness. As sin is increasingly put to death in us and righteousness is brought to life, we become more beautiful people. In fact, no person is more beautiful than a truly godly person.

Since this beauty treatment takes place as we fix our eyes on Jesus, we need to take our eyes off lesser beauty. Our deep, God-given, heart obsession with beauty means we crave beautiful things, but if we pursue those things apart from God, they become cheapened. We find ourselves becoming obsessed with superficial beauty as we scroll endless pictures, crave constant holidays, desire better and better food, drink, homes, cars, clothes or whatever else seems beautiful to our eyes. Such things may be genuinely good and lovely, but as soon as we pursue them apart from delight in the God who gave them to us, they begin to devour us rather than satisfy our souls. They bring out the worst of us not the best. We find ourselves becoming greedy, compulsive, proud, discontent.

To become more beautiful, therefore, we need to handle beautiful things with care. Whether we’re enjoying the beauty of creation or experiencing pleasure in some of the beautiful things this world offers, we must intentionally lift our eyes to the God of beauty and worship him. The most beautiful things in creation are but faint reflections of his true beauty. The most wonderful experiences this world offers are mere shadows compared with the endless joy and delight of his presence, now and eternally. If we try to enjoy beauty apart from enjoying it as a gift from God, as reflective of his deeper beauty, and as a foretaste of eternal beauty, we will turn it into an idol and therefore into something spiritually ugly.

The Beauty Package

When we put all these dimensions of the Bible’s perspectives on beauty together, we see that God offers us a beauty package that far exceeds an anything you’ll find at a day spa centre. And best of all, this beauty therapy is free!

So, what is the beauty package? In summary, it is this: a beautiful world, created by a beautiful God, who hard-wired us to love beauty, and who made himself known in a beautiful saviour, who renews us and makes us more beautiful, as we await the eternal beauty of life with God forever.

This is a beauty offer we ought not refuse. Make sure you enjoy God’s beautiful world, taking time to look at a sunset, stomp in autumn leaves, gaze at the stars. Relish the beautiful things God gives you day by day, be they small or large. But do so, taking them as droplets from the vast ocean of his true beauty. Keep your eyes firmly fixed on the beauty of his holiness, seen and experienced in relationship with Jesus, our beautiful Saviour, as we await an eternity of absolute beauty in his glorious presence.