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Thursday, 7 June 2012


I rarely call a person 'beautiful', I usually say they are 'pretty' or 'handsome', if people ask my opinion on someone's appearance.  Yet if I see a face that shows some kind of suffering on it, whether it is an old person who is heavily lined or a child from a third world country with tear stained dirty cheeks and hungry eyes, I see a beauty that causes me to weep.  I remember once painting a picture from a newspaper article of two children from Bangladesh who had been laid next to one another in a refugee camp.  They did not know one another and they were both dying of hunger.  The picture showed them holding hands, faces turned towards one another, minutes before thy died.  I don't think I have ever seen two more beautiful children.  I never understood why these kind of unbelievably sad faces have appeared so beautiful to me until I became a christian and began to know the Lord.

Suffering produces a strength of character which itself has a beauty that cannot be attained through ease of life, and is the tool used to induce compassion in the heart of the onlooker.  The word translated as 'compassion' in the new testament is from the Greek, meaning 'to suffer with', and it could not describe better what I am trying to portray here.  When I see suffering in a face, I feel as if I am suffering myself, and when the suffering of one is tempered with the compassion of another there springs forth a bonding that far surpasses what the physical is capable of achieving.

I cannot see Jesus, yet He appears as beautiful to me.  So what is it that is beautiful to me if it is not physical?  Our physical eyes will look for what the flesh desires, but our spiritual eyes search for what the Spirit desires.  Psalm 149 v.4 tells us that the Lord will beautify the meek with salvation.  It is salvation which causes us to have all the spiritual attributes which make us beautiful to the Lord.  This is the Godly beauty which the spiritual eye seeks to look upon, and the beauty that God wishes His sons and daughters to attain. 

Jesus is the express image of the God of Israel, the only true God and the creator, who desires to create mankind in His image.  God is a Spirit and in Genesis ch.1 v.27 we are told that God, on the sixth day, created man in His own image.  The Hebrew word here used for man is 'adam', which is collective, referring to mankind, and this is what God is doing through Jesus in this latter day, creating us in His Spiritual image through salvation in His Son Jesus.

As we submit ourselves to the word of the Lord we put off our physical nature, providing we are doers of the word ( as it says in James ch.1 v.22 ), and not just hearers, and put on the spiritual nature.  Just like the butterfly, who struggles to leave the shell of the chrysalis, which serves as both tomb and womb, so too we who have been born again struggle to leave our old sinful nature to emerge as a new creation after the image of our beautiful Saviour Jesus.  I do not think it coincidence that the chrysalis is a drab, ugly shell with absolutely no resemblance to the beautiful creature which will emerge from it.  It is indeed very symbolic of how our carnal, sinful state appears to God.  As we grow in the Lord we begin to recognize the difference between the attributes of the flesh and the attributes of the spirit.  Once we recognize these differences we are able to walk in the newness of the Spirit and put off the old nature of the man of dust.

New Life

Oh caterpillar slow and green
how I was so like you
weighed down with problems large and small
of how to see life through
I was in my world of fear
with Satan everywhere
You tried so hard to hide yourself
from fowls of the air



                 But then regeneration came               
                 while hanging from your thread
                 inside new life was stirring
                 while outside all was dead
                 So too new life is forming
                 inside this earthly shell
                 For faith joins me to Jesus
                 who lifts me from this hell

                                   And just as one day you will change
                                   and fly away so free
                                   I too will be made perfect
                                   when Jesus comes for me

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me His own.

Philippians ch3 v12


T-Childs said...

Great post Brenda; beauty is in the eye of the beholder, or as one person once put it 'beauty is in the eye of the beer-holder!' Seriously, there is a spiritual beauty to people that goes beyond the senses.

child of God said...

Beautifully put!
I have noticed in Christians that are suffering there is a deep beauty that shines from within. I believe this is the Holy Spirit sustaining them during their trial. The more they lean on God the more beautiful they become.

Physical beauty comes and then as age comes upon a person, it leaves. But, the person who relies on God and invests their time in God's Word and putting that Word into practice, then when they are old, grey and wrinkled the beauty of Christ will shine our of their being and they themselves will be fully beautiful. I know a lady just like this. She is 80 years old, grey and wrinkled but she is the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. The Spirit of Christ shines through her smile, her eyes and her Christ like attitude.

Blessings sister, good reading.

Brenda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brenda said...

Thank you both Tim and child of God for your comments. Tim, I like your sense of humour, and I agree with you both absolutely about what you have both said about spiritual beauty.

Frank E. Blasi said...

Dear Brenda,
Thank you for posting such a lovely article. For a long time I too have likened the caterpillar to butterfly metamorphosis as a figure, first of Jesus Christ before his death and after his resurrection, then of us, in our sinful state and after our regeneration.
And thank you for commenting on my blog about James 2:14-26. You have brought up a good point which has made me think carefully in what I believe and have posted. Yes, of course God wants us as believers to show goodness to others. But these works are valuable because we are saved by Jesus Christ, and they don't play any role in achieving our salvation or even to secure it, as Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:8-9, Romans 4:1-8 and other Scriptures.
My next blog, "Conflict Over Salvation!" will look more deeply into this issue.
Watch this space and may God bless you.

Brenda said...

Thankyou Frank for your kind comment. That's right, we can only be saved by grace, we cannot earn it. No matter how many 'good works'of our own we do, they are all filthy rags to God. Ephesians ch. 2 v.10 states that we are a new creation that God has created in His Son for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. So there are good works to be done, but they are the ones that God has prepared for us to walk in. In Romans ch.4,vs.1-8 Abraham's righteousness came solely from believing God and doing what God was instructing him to do without question. Jesus said 'If you love Me keep My commands', and I believe that the Holy Spirit is able to teach us to hear what the Lord is saying to us, and often asking us to do, as individuals in order that we may mature as christians and walk in those good works that God has prepared for us.
God bless you Frank, and I look foreward to reading your new blog.