Thursday, April 25, 2013

Inner Beauty: The Heart that God Cherishes ~ by Teresa

And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it. Psalm 90:17 KJV

            The snow shimmers in the cold winter sunshine, pristine in its beauty. It still amazes me how clear water droplets frozen into crystalline snowflakes added one upon the other in fluffy mounds of snow can look so pure and clean. I love the clean fresh beauty of snow with soft blue shadows accentuating its whiteness – how much more does our Lord delight in the beauty of a heart cleansed by His blood.

In a culture that mocks purity and promotes focusing on outward appearance, a heart that is focused on Jesus and a countenance that radiates His pure light is as dazzling as freshly fallen snow.
            As Christian women, our desire should be to please Jesus and learn what He cherishes. A heart that is washed with His precious blood and filled with His righteousness is what our great God loves and treasures. It is beyond worth and will never perish.
Do not let your adorning be external — the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear — but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious. I Peter 3:3-4 ESV

Though our inner thoughts are hidden from the world to see, God knows what is going on inside our hearts. He desires that they are beautified by the qualities of gentleness and quietness – the opposite of harshness, anxiety, and aggression. These qualities are cultivated by learning to trust Jesus with our future, by letting go of the controls on our lives, and by developing hearts of compassion for the hurting and hopeless.

The Refiner's Fire
            Like the process of the refining fires used to purify gold, God often uses fiery trials and pressures in our life to produce an inner beauty that does not fade with time.But He knows the way that I take; when He has tried me, I shall come out as gold. Job 23:10
Through the last several years, I have gone through various trials: a broken engagement, my family’s financial struggles, and some difficult health problems. Through each painful valley, the Lord drew my heart to Him. I have found that the Lord often uses trials to soften my heart. As I learn to rely on Him alone, it causes me to let go of the things my heart once craved and cling to Him instead. Then I receive something of inestimable value – a nearness to His tender heart that I never would have experienced before.

Transforming Beauty
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18 
This spirit of inner beauty that the Lord longs to work in our hearts is cultivated unconsciously in the life of a believer. If we were conscious of the fact, we would quickly become prideful of “our beauty.” It does not come as a result of our own effort and struggle. This inner beauty will only come through prayerful meditation on His Word each day as we seek His face. When we look to Jesus and not at ourselves, our lives will be transformed from one degree of glory to another.

Mary of Bethany
            We see in the life of Mary of Bethany a heart of inner beauty. She chose to sit at the feet of Jesus instead of frantically rushing around in last minute preparations. He treasured her devotion to Him above any other service she could have rendered. Again we see her falling at the feet of her Lord when Jesus came after Lazarus died. Her weeping “deeply moved” Him so that He wept too. (John 11:33&35) Shortly before Christ died, Mary anointed His feet with costly ointment – a lingering fragrance that was extravagant and sacrificial.  Her position before Jesus was always one of submission and reverence. Three times it was recorded that she was at His feet; in worship, sorrow, and love.

When we come to Jesus in quiet adoration, let’s come in reverence and submission like Mary did, sitting at His feet in wonder, love, and praise.

Sitting at the Feet of Jesus
By Joseph Lincoln Hall
Sitting at the feet of Jesus,
Oh, what words I hear Him say!
Happy place! so near, so precious!
May it find me there each day.
Sitting at the feet of Jesus,
I would look upon the past;
For His love has been so gracious,
It has won my heart at last.
Sitting at the feet of Jesus,
Where can mortal be more blest?
There I lay my sins and sorrows
And, when weary, find sweet rest.
Sitting at the feet of Jesus,
There I love to weep and pray,
While I from His fullness gather
Grace and comfort every day.
Bless me, O my Savior, bless me,
As I sit low at Thy feet.
Oh, look down in love upon me;
Let me see Thy face so sweet.
Give me, Lord, the mind of Jesus;
Make me holy as He is.
May I prove I’ve been with Jesus,
Who is all my righteousness.

The Heart of the Matter

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.” 1 Samuel 16:7

            Though our “outer” lives are important, our hearts are what the Lord is concerned about. As young ladies, it is so easy to look at our outward appearance and judge others by their looks or what they wear. Thankfully the Lord looks at our heart and judges our motives, not our appearance.  
And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve Him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. If you seek Him, He will be found by you, but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever. 1 Chronicles 28:9
When we possess inner beauty our lives will reflect Christ to those around us. We will come to see that it is of great worth – something that the Lord cherishes above all else. Inner beauty will actually start to transform us on the outside as well. Christ’s light will shine through our eyes, His loving words will be on our tongue, and His joy will cause our countenance to radiate His beauty.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Teresa for this article and thank you Amy for your multiple encouragements on this site..
    ~Mrs. W.