“Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you – if you find my beloved, what will you tell him? Tell him I am faint with love.” – Song of Solomon 5:8.
More and more people have issues with photoshopped images to eliminate flaws. Digital altering of the body has no limits. Wrinkles and pounds can disappear. Flaws are masked. It does make people look more attractive. But it is not real and more importantly it can be harmful. Our desire to be attractive and to match up to unrealistic body types has led to eating disorders and other emotional problems. And it has led to surgeries. More than 11 million cosmetic surgical and nonsurgical procedures were performed by board-certified plastic surgeons, and other doctors in the United States, totaling more than 12 billion dollars.
The Bible has a different perspective. Psalm 139:14 says, “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” We are created in the image of God, and God doesn’t make inferior things. Like a snowflake, every person is unique. No two are the same. God sees you as a masterpiece; the question is why don’t we. When you look in the mirror and sigh and wonder why (name) couldn’t be different or better or thinner, take a second and remember Psalm 139:14.
1 Samuel 16:7 says, “But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” The world focuses on the outside appearance. But God focuses on what people look like on the inside. So the question is if we are going to work on being attractive, do we spend more time and effort on the outside or the inside? There’s nothing wrong with selecting a nice outfit, or doing our hair, or even exercising to look good. We need to find a balance. We need to spend more time working out to become more attractive on the inside.
In a letter to his young assistant Timothy, the Apostle Paul wrote: “ …train yourself to be godly.” (1 Timothy 4:7). The Apostle compared physical fitness with spiritual fitness. “for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” (1 Timothy 4:8). For spiritual growth, nothing can take the place of prayer–simply spending time with God, thanking him for his gifts to you, praising him, asking for guidance, admitting your sins and asking forgiveness and help.
1 Timothy 4:12 says, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” 1 Timothy 4:16 adds, “…Keep a close watch on yourself.” From time to time, ask yourself how you are doing spiritually, and –take the steps necessary to continue growing.
Try this. Schedule your spiritual training just as you would an appointment at work or a date night with your spouse or an outing with the kids. If you don’t feel you are getting the results you desire, you may need to work a little harder on your spiritual training. Remember that prayer is a very important part of staying “spiritually fit”.
- Are you happy with the amount of spiritual growth in your life? Why or why not?
- What person has most encouraged you in your spiritual growth?
- What event/activity/season of life caused your spiritual life to grow the most?
- At what period of your life would you describe as the time when you were closest to God?
- What changes would you have to make in your life now in order to grow more spiritually?
- Pray and ask God for His help in making you attractive on the inside.