Lately I've been working hard trying to get into shape for summer. Swim suit weather will be upon us before we know it, guys! And as a result I am feeling myself slowly transform, but can’t see the results much yet. If you are a human being whose been on this planet for longer than thirteen years, you probably can sympathize with how frustrating that is.
It makes me wonder, though, why it is I’m not entirely happy with the way God made me. It’s not that getting in shape is wrong, but I think part of it is motivated by the feeling that God didn't quite make me perfect. Which is totally ridiculous, considering “perfect” is a fluid concept in today’s world and “beautiful” is almost unattainable without Photoshop and a paint brush. Then why do we, as human beings, fall into this trap? Why are we plagued by constant discontentment when it comes to how we look? Is there something wrong with us?
Well, yes, there is. It’s called sin. Sin festers inside, making us feel gross and unhappy, which oozes out of us into what we see. Even if we are Believers saved by grace, we've had that old self rotting inside of us so long we still see it when we look in the mirror. We still have to fight to transform our brains to the way that God thinks. And that’s like climbing a mountain backwards- it goes against our nature (the “natural” or sinful man), and gravity (the “World” or society) fights to pull us down.
Think about it. Everywhere we look “beautiful” women and men grace the covers of magazines, are used in advertisements, and act on television. It’s only been recently that “imperfection” has been touted as a desirable trait. And I think it’s because people are tired of trying to measure up. So instead of working our tails off to look like a runway model, why not use models that look like us? Why not idolize the actors that have imperfect teeth or a plus size body? If we force that to be our idea of beauty, then we’ll all be beautiful.
The only problem with that is we really aren't- at least not on the inside, in God’s eyes. If we lower our standard of beauty so that we, too, can be beautiful it makes it that much easier to squash the little voice that’s been telling us we aren't good enough. And we need that voice. We need it desperately. Without it, we don’t realize just how much we need Jesus.
But in the end, maybe seeing the imperfect as beautiful could be a good thing, too- as long as we transform our minds to see as God sees. Everyone knows the verse in Psalm 139 that says, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” But I think the last half of verse 14 is often overlooked.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.
“Wonderful”. The King James Version uses the world “marvelous”, as in “something to be marveled at”. Synonyms for that would be: an awesome sight, amazing thing, sensation, miracle, or phenomenon. Or, as I like to think, perfect. Perfect are your works.
Who are we to tell the Artist of the World that his work is less than amazing? Who are we to think that we can “improve” upon it? If I was born with a turned up nose, how can I say it isn't as beautiful as someone else’s? If I have a scar, how can I call it ugly when it’s what God chose to give me? How can I dishonor His marvelous creation like that?
That’s not to say we shouldn't exercise or remove a cancerous mole, but the reasons why we do these things are very important. Just like our motives for changing our inner selves need to be Godly and pure, the reasons for changing the outer need to be the same. The outside reflects the inside, after all.
So how do we change how we think about ourselves? How do we make sure our motives please God?
This next part just blows my mind. Read verses 17 and 18 of the same chapter:
How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you.
Notice how this section comes immediately after the one that talks about how God created us and our lives. Now, I know I may be stretching a bit, but consider this: how often do you look at your garish freckles or too thick/thin body and think, “I wonder what God thinks about this”?
Often I've thought in terms of “what does Scripture say on this subject” but for some reason actually asking myself what God thinks about something isn't a habit for me. In fact, the mere thought of what God thinks is too much for my mortal brain to handle. It produces the same reaction that the Psalmist has in verse 6. It is too wonderful for me. It is too high, I cannot attain it.
What God thinks should be something we consider all the time. We should meditate on it, prize it. Instead of distancing ourselves from problems by thinking in terms of “Scripture says”, we should be up close and personal. We should ask, “What does God think?” (Which is found in the Scriptures so don’t abandon them!) A simple change of words can transform the way we see the world.
So what does He think? He thinks you and I are marvelous. Who are we to say otherwise?
What areas in your life do you need to reconsider from God’s point of view? Have you been distancing yourself from God by using the wrong terms? Would changing them make a difference in that situation?
Think about it.
P.S.- I just wanted to leave you with some verses to reflect on how marvelous His Works truly are. I hope they encourage you!
For you, O LORD, have made me glad by your work; at the works of your hands I sing for joy. How great are your works, O LORD! Your thoughts are very deep!
O LORD, how manifold are your works! In wisdom have you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.
O LORD, you are my God; I will exalt you; I will praise your name, for you have done wonderful things, plans formed of old, faithful and sure.
"As for me, I would seek God, and to God would I commit my cause, who does great things and unsearchable, marvelous things without number: he gives rain on the earth and sends waters on the fields; he sets on high those who are lowly, and those who mourn are lifted to safety.”
He is wise in heart and mighty in strength --who has hardened himself against him, and succeeded?-- he who removes mountains, and they know it not, when he overturns them in his anger, who shakes the earth out of its place, and its pillars tremble; who commands the sun, and it does not rise; who seals up the stars; who alone stretched out the heavens and trampled the waves of the sea; who made the Bear and Orion, the Pleiades and the chambers of the south; who does great things beyond searching out, and marvelous things beyond number.
Oh sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things! His right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him. The LORD has made known his salvation; he has revealed his righteousness in the sight of the nations. He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness to the house of Israel. All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.
The stone that the builders rejected (Jesus) has become the cornerstone. This is the LORD's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.