|Beautiful | Me, Beautiful?|
|May 9, 2009|
Part 1 of 3 | May 10, 2009
Happy Mother’s Day to all our moms here today. This is a special day, but it’s not because Hallmark decided that it was special. It’s a special day because we’re kicking off a brand new series here at Amelia called Beautiful. And I can’t think of a better day to launch this series than Mother’s Day.
This isn’t a series that is just for moms. This is for every single woman who is alive and breathing. Every woman has the desire to feel beautiful. Ladies, you would trade almost everything you’ve got to feel beautiful, wouldn’t you? I know that some of you have tried to deny this feeling because you don’t think it’s spiritual to care about beauty. So you say that you don’t care…but you know that you still do. You want to feel beautiful, but most of you don’t.
This series is for you. This one’s for the girls. For the next three weeks, we’re going to be exploring the Word of God to get a different perspective on this thing called beauty.
Here are the three messages that we’re going to be working through. Today, our message is Me, Beautiful? Some of you have absolutely bought the lie that you are not beautiful, you can never be beautiful. We’re going to rip that to shreds this week.
Next week, our message is called The Wedding Dress Doesn’t Fit Anymore. We’re going to talk about how to be a beautiful wife.
And we’re going to finish the series with a message called Stretch Marks are Beautiful, Too where we’re going to talk about how to be a beautiful mom.
And I know some of you ladies are thinking, “You’re talking about stretch marks and clothes that you don’t fit. You’d better watch yourself, boy.” Trust me. God is going to rock your world and He is going to revolutionize how you think about beauty.
And I also know that there are some guys here that are thinking, “Dude, I could so be watching SportsCenter right now. Why did I come for this?” Let me tell you something guys…if there is a woman in your life, God cares about how you treat them. God places a TON of emphasis on how we treat the women that he has blessed us with. In a very real way, the measure of a godly man is how he treats the women in his life. So if you have a wife, a daughter, a mother, a grandmother, etc., you’d better be here every single week of this series. God’s got a Word for you, too.
The focus text for this series comes from Psalm 45. Psalm 45 is a wedding song about the marriage of a king and a queen. But actually, the Psalm has a much deeper meaning. This is a messianic Psalm. In other words, it was written about the coming of Jesus centuries before he was born. So when you read about the king in this Psalm, you need to understand that that’s a reference to Jesus. If you understand that, then the theme verses for this series are really going to pack a punch.
Psalm 45:10-11 say, “Listen, O daughter, consider and give ear: Forget your people and your father's house. The king is enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord.” (Psalm 45:10-11, NIV)
Ladies, these verses bring up a couple of powerful questions that you need to answer.
Here’s the first question: Who do you listen to? Ladies, who do you listen to? Who do you allow to speak into your life? Whose opinion matters to you? Who do you listen to?
Psalm 45 says, “Listen, O daughter, consider and give ear: Forget your people and your father's house.” (Psalm 45:10, NIV)
Ladies, you don’t have to listen to everybody. In fact, you can’t listen to everybody. In this verse, God commands you to “forget your people and your father’s house.” In other words, you can’t let yourself listen to everyone’s opinion.
When it comes to your perception of beauty, who do you listen to? Who you listen to will go a long way to determining if you see yourself as beautiful or not. And I know that some of you think this is nothing but surface level, feel good fluff. Let me tell you something…we don’t preach fluff here at Amelia. This matters. And here’s why it matters.
God created women. He created femininity. He created beauty. And the desire to be beautiful is something hardwired into women by our Heavenly Father. If a woman is going to be who God created her to be, if she is going to be the witness for Christ that God wants her to be, then she has to have a right perspective on her beauty. You can rail against it all you want. You can call it shallow. You can call it unspiritual. But the reality is that, for a woman, everything she is and does is directly tied to her perspective of beauty. That’s just the way it is. And it’s a good thing because it’s a God thing. The problem is that so many women choose to listen to someone other than God when it comes to beauty.
In her book called Fresh-Brewed Life, Nicole Johnson wrote, “All women are assaulted on an hourly basis by an invisible attacker: comparison. We have spent years deciding if we’re pretty based on how we measure up to all the images swirling around us. But we measure ourselves not only against media stereotypes, but against every other woman that we know. Do you walk into a room and find yourself scanning it for anyone who might be more attractive than you? Women watch other women more than men do! We are weighing ourselves against other women. Am I thinner than she is? Do I look like that in my swimsuit? Her hair is beautiful; I wonder if mine will do that? How terribly sad to have so little confidence in our own worth as women that we can only find value in relation to others.” (Johnson, Nicole. Fresh Brewed Life. City: Nelson Books, 1999, pages 75-76.)
Who are you listening to, ladies? Who are you letting define your concept of beauty? Comparison is a losing game. You can’t win. If you compare yourself to someone else and feel that you come out ahead, that will produce pride. And there’s nothing uglier than pride.
On the other hand, if you compare and feel like you lose, then you become ungrateful for what you have. You lose your contentment, which again, is a very ugly thing.
Comparing will never make you beautiful. It will make you ugly, because however it turns out, it will produce a sinful attitude in you life.
Psalm 45 says, “Listen, O daughter.” This is God talking to you. Your Heavenly Father is saying, “Listen, O daughter. Consider, and give ear.” In other words, think about this. Think about who you are listening to. There are a lot of voices who want to influence you. There are a lot of voices telling you to compare yourself to the woman on the cover of Cosmo or the woman sitting a few chairs down from you right now. But God says, “Think about this. Listen, O daughter. Listen to me.”
Ladies, who you choose to listen to is going to determine the trajectory of your life. You can choose to listen to God, or you can choose to listen to somebody else. But understand this…that choice will determine the quality of your life. It will determine the direction of your life. It can even determine your impact for the cause of Christ. Who do you listen to?
And the second question from this passage goes hand-in-hand with that. Who do you want to please? You are living your life to please somebody. That’s not even a question. You are living your life to find the favor of somebody. The question is who? Who do you want to please?
Listen again to these words from Psalm 45. “The king is enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord.” (Psalm 45:11, NIV)
Now you’ve got to remember this: who is the king in this verse? Jesus. This verse says that Jesus is enthralled by your beauty.
I remember my wedding day like it was yesterday. When those doors opened and Nicki walked down the aisle, I couldn’t stop looking at her. I was captivated by her beauty. I think there were other people there that day, but I couldn’t tell you for sure. I was so enthralled by her beauty that I forgot about everyone else. I was captivated by the beauty of my bride. And I still am today.
But I can’t compete with the captivation that Jesus has for Nicki. He is completely enthralled by her beauty. And the same thing goes for every woman in this room. Jesus Christ is captivated by you. The king is enthralled by your beauty.
Ladies, I know this might feel a little weird, but I want you to say this out loud. The king is enthralled by my beauty. Say that out loud. The king is enthralled by my beauty. Say it again. The king is enthralled by my beauty.
You need to own this truth. The king is captivated…absolutely enthralled by your beauty. You need to memorize this verse. You need to own this verse. The king is enthralled by your beauty.
But you also need to know this. Our world is not. Our culture is not enthralled with your beauty because you don’t measure up. If you don’t believe me, go look at any magazine cover in the checkout lane at Kroger. Look at the cover of Cosmo. Look at the cover of Vanity Fair. Our world is not enthralled with your beauty because you don’t look like that.
But here’s what you’ve got to remember. The model on the cover of those magazines doesn’t even look like that. Here is how sick and twisted our culture’s view of beauty has become. You can’t be beautiful without Adobe Photoshop. The models on those magazine covers don’t even exist.
That’s not fair, is it ladies? But this is the reality that we live in. Our world is not enthralled by your beauty, because you’re competing with good lighting, an army of makeup artists, and a computer geek. That is not a competition you can win.
So you have to ask yourself the question: who do you want to please? Do you want to please Jesus, who already thinks you’re beautiful? Who is enthralled by your beauty?
Or do you want to try to please our culture, who can always find someone sexier, someone thinner, someone with better hair, someone with more fashionable clothes, etc?
Ladies, you live for the one who says, “I see you as beautiful NOW.” Not the one who says, “I’ll see you as beautiful IF…” I’ll see you as beautiful if you starve yourself to lose some weight. I’ll see you as beautiful if you wear more makeup and less clothes. I’ll see you as beautiful if you change your hair color. I’ll see you as beautiful if you look like the Victoria’s Secret models.
Our culture’s view of beauty always comes with an “if.” “I’ll see you as beautiful IF…” Meanwhile, the king is enthralled by your beauty right now. You couldn’t be more beautiful to him.
Who do you want to please? The one who is enthralled by your beauty right now, or the one who will keep changing the rules, keep moving the goal line so you can never win. Which is it going to be ladies?
Now, guys…I told you that we were going to get to you. The women in your life are struggling. You need to listen up. Especially if you have a girlfriend, a wife, or a daughter. They’re struggling because our culture has set impossible standards of beauty for them. The king is enthralled by their beauty, but they’re going to need to be reminded of that over and over and over again. In their mind, that truth has a hard time standing up to the barrage of images that they see everyday.
That’s where you come in. The king is enthralled by their beauty, and you are His representative. In everything you do, in every word you say, you had better communicate to the women in your life that they are beautiful. Everything the see and hear from you should communicate this truth. The king is enthralled by your beauty…and so am I.
But here’s the danger for us as men. We see the images, too. I’ve gotta tell you…there are times that I hate going grocery shopping because of the images that I see on the magazines in the checkout aisle. It infuriates me. All I wanted to do was pick up a gallon of milk, not be inundated with soft core porn. But it’s the reality that we live in. As frustrating as it is, this is the world we live in. We have to man up and deal with it.
Guys, you can’t allow those images of imaginary women to distort the image of your real wife. She needs you to tell her how beautiful, and attractive and sexy that she is to you.
For those of you who have daughters…man, this is a rough time to be a young girl. The pressure on girls today is enormous. Men, your girls need to see their beauty in your eyes. You need to teach them about godly beauty. You need to teach them, and teach them, and teach them so more that they can’t waste their time on a guy who wants them to compromise who they are so he can prove to himself who he is.
Fellas, this is the mantra that the women in your life need to hear. The king is enthralled by your beauty…and so am I. And if you’ve got a problem doing that, you’d better man up. God has graciously allowed you to have some beautiful women in your life. He is enthralled by their beauty. And if you treat them as something less than beautiful…I wouldn’t want to be you. Guys, it’s time to quit acting like some moronic, pubescent Jr. High boy in a locker room. You honor God by being His man. And you do that by treating His women in a way that is worthy of who they are and who God is.
Ladies, you can’t hear this enough. “The king is enthralled by your beauty.” He already thinks you’re beautiful, so you live to please him. You can’t please our world. You’ll never measure up. You live to please the King. This verse says that, because “the king is enthralled by your beauty,” your response is to honor him. You “honor him, for he is your lord.” (Psalm 45:11, NIV)
The king is enthralled by your beauty. Your life’s purpose is to honor him. And God’s Word tells you how to do that.
The Apostle Peter wrote, “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes.”
Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight.
For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful.” (1 Peter 3:3-5, NIV)
Peter said that, “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes.” (1 Peter 3:3, NIV) Now, did you notice that he didn’t say you can’t wear jewelry. He didn’t say you can’t wear nice clothes. What he said is that these things aren’t the source of beauty. You can drop some serious coin for a new hairstyle, you can wear the latest and greatest fashion, and still be ugly. Here’s why.
Your beauty comes from “your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight.” (1 Peter 3:4, NIV)
Ladies, there is nothing wrong with wearing things that make you feel pretty. As long as you understand that they won’t make you beautiful. And there’s a big difference between pretty and beautiful. Beauty is an inside job.
You are beautiful when you live with a gentle and quiet spirit. Ladies, if you want to turn the beauty up, you need to turn the volume down. There is nothing beautiful about a woman who screams. Some of you are sitting there thinking, “My husband never tells me that I’m beautiful.” Do you ever stop yelling at him enough to listen?
Your beauty is found in quietness and gentleness. Listen to me, not as a preacher, but just as a guy. It’s not attractive when women yell and scream. It’s just not. That is a turn off with a capital “T.”
But Peter reminds us that when a woman chooses to live with a gentle, quiet, godly spirit, that beauty is unfading. It doesn’t fade with age. In fact, that beauty intensifies the older you get.
The king is enthralled with your beauty and He has called you to honor Him. Peter reminds us that, when you live with an inner godly beauty, that is of great worth in God’s sight.
Which goes back to the question: who do you want to please? Who are you trying to impress? Some of you are willing to sell out what God thinks to impress a sinful, broken, messed up person. Your priorities need realigned quick. The king is enthralled by your beauty. You live to please Him.
The Bible says in 1 Timothy 2, “I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.” (1 Timothy 2:9-10, NIV)
I love the way that The Message paraphrase reads in these verses. Godly woman are “not primping before a mirror or chasing the latest fashions but doing something beautiful for God and becoming beautiful doing it.” (1 Timothy 2:9-10, The Message)
You know what you get from these verses? Beauty is a verb. You are made beautiful by what you do. Not only by how you look.
This isn’t just some platitude. I’ve seen this truth become vividly real in my life. I’ve met women that I thought were attractive. But after I got to know them, man…they were ugly. Their attitudes, their words, their deeds, made them ugly.
Or, as it says so poetically in the book of Proverbs: “A beautiful woman who lacks discretion is like a gold ring in a pig’s snout.” (Proverbs 11:22, NLT)
I love Proverbs! I’m not sure if you can get swine flu from a pig’s nose, but I wouldn’t take the chance.
Seriously, as hilarious as this verse is, it’s true. If you live foolishly, if you live with no godly discretion, you can paint up the outside all you want. You’ll still be nothing more than jewelry in a pig’s nose.
Beauty is a verb. It emanates from the gentle, quiet spirit inside you. It spills out into the way you treat others, the godly way you give of yourself, they way you live to honor the king who is enthralled by your beauty. That is how you become a beautiful woman of God.
And by the way, a beautiful heart carries over to the outside. I’ve met a lot of women who could never appear on a magazine cover. They don’t have movie star good looks. But once I got to know them, I thought they were beautiful. Seriously.
“But you don’t understand…I still don’t feel beautiful.” A lot of you are thinking that. Some of you would rather hear me say, “You’re not good enough,” because you could receive that. You understand that. That fits the template that you’ve created in your mind.
But you can’t receive it when I say, “You’re beautiful,” because you’ve never heard it before. You’ve only heard the opposite. And you’ve trained yourself to believe that you’re not beautiful. You never have felt beautiful.
It’s time to stop trusting your feelings and start trusting God’s feelings. The king is enthralled by your beauty. You can never please our culture. You can never measure up to those standards. But you can please God. You can honor Him…and you can become incredibly beautiful in the process.
“But I’m the exception. I can’t be beautiful because I’m damaged goods. I’m divorced. I’m a single mom. I’ve got a horrible sexual past. I had an abortion. Maybe I used to be beautiful, but not now.”
If you believe that, then can I point something out to you? You believe that the cross of Jesus Christ is worthless. You’re thinking, “No way! I don’t believe that!” Yes you do. Let me tell you something…if the cross isn’t powerful enough to make you beautiful, then it’s worthless.
The Bible says in Ephesians 5, “…Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.” (Ephesians 5:25b-27, NIV)
What do you call something that is radiant…that is without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish? You know what you call that? You call it beautiful.
Jesus died to make the church, His bride, beautiful. And we’re all a part of the beauty that is the church.
The cross of Jesus Christ is all you need to forgive the ugliness of your past. The king is enthralled by your beauty. He gave His life to make you beautiful.
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