Dark Ages part 2 Dark Filters

“They looked unto Him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed.” (Psalm 34:5)

Continuing on in the same vein as part one, think about the concept of the “keynote”. That first note sounded from which the rest of the song plays out, and rests. Now, as God cannot be seen with our eyes (at least not like you or I) we must resort to a system of metaphors and similes and analogies and parallels in order to “see” anything and in order to actually see Him as He has made Himself available for viewing, so to speak.

“And the Father Himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His shape.” (John 5:37, emphasis mine)

“Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O Lord, in the light of Thy countenance.” (Psalm 89:15)

Layers

People talk all the livelong day about “inner beauty”. But what does inner beauty look like? And how does one wrest their attention–living in a physical body themselves–from the purely physical to something both invisible, and also spiritual? Because while the inner workings of the human body are indeed beautiful (The circulatory system is beautifully complex–and also exponentially more important than perfect hair or skin, I might add.) a glimpse, even a fleeting one of God, is necessary in order to prepare oneself for a life lived to the fullest. And also necessary to see any kind of beauty correctly and in its proper context. It’s not the inner beauty beneath the skin to which people are referring and to which they are drawn. And holiness in any area will enable us to see God.

“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8)

“Thy people shall be willing in the day of Thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: Thou hast the dew of Thy youth.” (Psalm 110:3, emphasis mine)

David the psalmist continues to describe attributes befitting someone really special. “Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.” (vs. 4b) I’ve read it refers to Jesus and I’m inclined to believe it. Leading up to David’s declaration of “Thou hast the dew of Thy youth”, he speaks of “strength” and “power” and then he says “the beauties of holiness”. See that. What do you think of when you ponder holiness? Because it does require more than just a passing thought. Holiness is a way of life that, as it says in the verse above from Psalm 89, enables one to “walk…in the light of [God’s] countenance.” His face. There’s a reason the bride is veiled during the wedding ceremony. A reason why some couples elect to practice certain rituals in the presence of one another without laying eyes on the other. Because the deeper the beauty, the more important and also beautiful said beauty really is. To where we can do something to see God, even as we speak of it in terms that are foreign to that which we use to “see”. Everything in life, from the way you look, to anything you would deem beautiful–is intended to reflect upon Him. Otherwise, it’s subjective to the point of irrationality and dilution. It’s not “beauty”. It just “is”.

“Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s” (Psalm 103:5)

Elements

God is so good. He has this storehouse of blessing that is ours for the asking and the appropriation. Things you’d never expect and never even think to want. Things that are beautiful. In speaking to the question raised in the first part, the reason I might not think I’m beautiful at times has no bearing on what I sense on my insides nor on what I look at in the mirror. The truth is, God has made it possible to look just like Him on a spiritual level. We take after “Our Father in Heaven.” And I don’t mean to be blunt, but rising from that level to an outer one (whatever it may be) is really ours for the working-out. Based, of course, on the principles found from the heart (Word) of God. Not, as some might seek to legislate, based on what other people think or don’t think.

You are beautiful. Not because I say so, but because God does.

Dark Ages part 1 Unattractive Truths

“Thou hast made his glory to cease, and cast his throne down to the ground.” (Psalm 89:44)

How firm a foundation?

“Then Job answered and said…He hath stripped me of my glory, and taken the crown from my head.” (Job 19:1,9)

Job continues to line out all the ways things had changed for the worse in his world. Think about what he points to in the above passage. He says God is the one to have altered the way he was esteemed in society. Both verses point to royalty in the case of whomever it is God is dealing with. I find several passages in the Bible that refer to an upset in a very base basis for our confidence in this world, namely our appearance. Here’s one:

“In that day the Lord will take away the bravery of their tinkling ornaments about their feet, and their cauls (essentially a “netting for the hair” says Strong’s), and their round tires like the moon (a pendant).” (Isaiah 3:18)

What day? Admittedly it refers to a specific point in time as it is a specific prophecy. Who knows if it’s come to pass in the way it was orated. Thing is, the double standard of relying on outward appearance only in interpersonal comportment is just that. I find that anything under–as in below, less than–Christ-like interaction with those of the opposite sex feels like flirting. Or at least that’s what seems to be under the surface. As I am innately shy after a certain point for any number of reasons (but am told I’m cute by those who would know) I find it hard to interact with ones whose motives aren’t necessarily on the table to the casual (causal?) observer. It’s not you, it’s me. Paul tells Timothy to treat the “younger” women “as sisters” (1 Timothy 5:2) And thank you Paul, for that. I don’t know how many times I’ve had to resort to that piece of wisdom in interaction with girls at church. The idea behind boys and girls, men and women as friends only, and with no hint of romantic or otherwise relational capacity is allayed and answered by appealing to the love that Jesus showed women.

“As a jewel of gold in a swine’s snout, so is a fair woman without discretion.” (Proverbs 11:22)

Picking our poison

Seriously. There are times I see women out and about (especially now Summer’s here) where I feel like–not whistling–but shouting “Don’t kill anyone!” And I hope I don’t come across in any way as chauvinist whatever. Lest you think I equate myself with Jesus and therefore see myself as above people (women) in some way, shape, form, understand that the basis for life is as Jesus exemplified. It is not, as is commonly thought (and taught) to “procreate”. Nor even under the revisionist definition of “be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28). Life is about meeting God and finding out what He put you here to do. That’s what your body is for. What it merely looks like in so doing is ancillary, tertiary even. Made possible by the blood of Jesus.

“For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.” (James 1:23-24)

I have a confession to make. There are times I go about my day where I don’t realize what I look like. No, it has nothing to do with the fact that my clothes don’t match (I wear a lot of black) or my hair doesn’t look just so. It has more to do with deriving some sort of confidence from my appearance. To be perfectly honest, I wouldn’t consider myself photogenic and I sometimes forget (as referred to however metaphorically in the above passage) just what it is I do look like. There’s that kernel of confidence (that I think some people possess and play to the hilt, and as a weapon), that I feel I’m missing at times. I don’t understand. There may be something there God has to tweak or realign or what have you. Then again, part of me here feels I’ve only strayed into coming across as overly honest to a fault and yet I also don’t feel I’ve hit the depth of my person. Not that it’s any of your business; something reserved for God alone.

“For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the Spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. Though I might also have confidence in the flesh, If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more:” (Philippians 3:3-4)

He’s not talking about appearance, he’s talking about taking confidence from his abilities and standing and talents and “pride of life” as John would term it (1 John 2:16). Job lost all that and more whilst being overhauled by God. Best, then, to focus on this and let God pick up the pieces and put them back in their proper place:

“For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he (and she) that doeth the will of God abideth forever.” (1 John 2:16-17)