Field Of Flowers

0214. The Beauty Of Life Itself

In our culture today, beauty sells. We are bombarded with advertisements featuring beautiful spokespeople and celebrities. The houses are upscale, the cars are sleek and elegant, and the technology is pleasing to the eye. Steve Jobs did not only set out to just create a smartphone. He wanted the most eye-catching design so when people saw it, they just had to have one for themselves. The standards set by advertising trains all of us subconsciously to either be as beautiful as we can be, or seek out and obtain the most beautiful objects. Beauty is no longer in the eye of the beholder, but a weapon in the palm of the marketer.

But what if that product did not work anymore? What if your smartphone battery died? Would you continue to see it as beautiful, or as just a paper weight? What if your car motor needed replacing? Would you see that machine as sleek as when you first bought it, or as a lemon? And when the roof of your house starts to leak after years of weathering? Is it still your dream house, or a burden to maintain? All of the examples demonstrate that if most objects lose their functionality, it has a good chance of ending up in the garbage heap.

The same can be said for living things. If a piece of ripe fruit is left out in the open for a couple of weeks, what will happen? It will begin to rot, the color will fade and turn brown and black, and it will smell bad.  Not only that, it will attract the lowest of vermin, such as cockroaches, rats and vultures. The same can be said about flowers. They look good for a couple of weeks in a vase, but then they will begin to wilt. And before long, you are tossing them out with the garbage. So while these things are beautiful and attractive when alive, their beauty fades once they are dead.

So let’s now think about us human beings.  We pour billions of dollars into just looking beautiful. Makeup, dieting and exercise, cosmetic surgery, and fashion are just some of the many things that drives our culture. But have you ever thought about what happens to you when you die? The hair will stop growing, and all color will disappear from our bodies. If we are not cremated, then we will be embalmed long enough for loved ones to say goodbye. And as soon as the casket is closed and we are put into the ground, we begin the long journey of decomposing and returning to the earth. So for all the time and effort we spend making ourselves look beautiful, in the end it is no different for humanity as it is for other living things. Once we cease to exist, our beauty comes to an end.

So what if the beauty that we so desperately seek is not in the products we use to make ourselves look beautiful, but in the spirit of life itself? Would we give up physical beauty just to hold onto life for one more day? Jesus understood this concept, and taught us about the inner beauty of our souls. In 1 Peter 3:3-4 (CSB): “Don’t let your beauty consist of outward things like elaborate hairstyles and wearing gold jewelry or fine clothes, but rather what is inside the heart – the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”

Jesus is not just interested in the physical life we lead, but also the spiritual life in our hearts. The problem was that due to the sinful nature of humankind, we were cut off from God, and doomed to face not only a physical death, but a spiritual death as well. And if we thought what happens to us when we die physically was bad, it is nothing compared to what faces us in spiritual death. Revelation 20:15 (CSB) reveals this to us: “And anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.” And no amount of beauty products will help us if that is where we end up.

Fortunately, there is good news. God wanted us to avoid this fate so much, that he sent his son Jesus to take our place, and suffer on the cross for our sins. Only through his resurrection and conquering of death, could we also follow in his footsteps and avoid spiritual death. So while it is nice to be in shape and look pretty in the mirror every morning, our true beauty lies not within our physical attributes, but in the spiritual realm of life itself. It is only when we understand what death has in store for us can we truly understand the gift that Jesus has given us in the opportunity for eternal life. Remember what Romans 12:2 (CSB) teaches us: “Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.” Ponder that this week.

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