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What is True Beauty in the Eyes of God?

From $426 billion spent annually on beauty products to the prevalence of child beauty pageants, Americans are infatuated with what makes a beautiful appearance. Many people have varying opinions on what makes a person beautiful. If "beauty is in the eye of the beholder," whose gaze should we concern ourselves with? God is the final judge of whether or not a person is beautiful.

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The Prerequisites of Beauty

Psalm 33:1 set out the two prerequisites to be considered beautiful in God's sight: being righteous and upright. God sees as beautiful only those who look like Himself. His own perfection is the standard. Because only humans were made in the image of God, animals and other parts of creation cannot be called beautiful in the same way that we can.

Why are these the prerequisites? Beauty is based on what God loves -- righteousness and justice (Psalm 33:5). We cannot conjure these up in ourselves. But God is so loving that He provided the sacrifice we need to be counted righteous, His own Son. We must rest securely on His loyal love, which is evident every day in creation.

An upright person is one who is managed by God's Word. The truth is, no one is naturally beautiful. We need to be impacted by Jesus Christ. In our natural, sinful state, we are downright in need of help. Only God's Word has the power to make a person upright, because it is itself upright.

An upright and righteous person is first characterized by thankfulness, rooted in the settled reality of Heaven. A failure to be thankful is first on the list of characteristics of the sinful nature in Romans 1:21. What God counts as ugly is the rejection of His Son, Jesus Christ, the highest expression of love for you.

Praise is beautiful to God. God's people sing a new song (Psalm 33:3) because it is refreshed every day by the truth of the Bible. When we worship with skill, informed by the knowledge of God, God sees that as beautiful.

The Attitude of Beauty

A beautiful attitude before God is one of fear and reverence.

The middle section of Psalm 33 (verses 6-18")>verses 6-18) has an epic structure, with a prologue, an explanation, and a conclusion. We worship God because He is not like we are. There is an infinite gap between us, demonstrated by the act of Creation. The power to create out of nothing is so great, it is unsettling to limited human beings.

God not only created, but He sees all and understands all. He fashions everything to bring about our recognition of Him. He uses the events of nations to show that there is no human hope. We must cling to Jesus' indestructible life as our only hope.

In the face of such a God, our job is to be worshippers.

The Motivation of Beauty

Beauty is possessed only by those who make God the object of their hope (Psalm 33:18-22). Putting our hope in God is possible! We are constantly progressing in this reality.

If we are to live eternally, we need a different kind of body, one that is not defeated by death. The Lord is the only One who can deliver from death, rightly relate us to God, and give us every blessing that aligns with His will. We must base our hope and emotions in the future God has promised. Those who hope in God wait on His promises with their whole soul. We trust, long, rejoice, resolve, and proclaim our hope.

Application Points

  • Whose standard of beauty are you concerned about? Do you want to be attractive to the One in the universe whose opinion matters most? God is the ultimate authority and final judge of beauty. Make sure you are beautiful in God's eyes!
  • We cannot muster up beauty or righteousness on our own. We must be made beautiful on God's terms in order for our praise to be beautiful to the Lord. Have you come to Christ on His terms? Is your life managed by God's upright Word?
  • Are your emotions governed by the past, present, or future? Where do you put your hope? What are your dreams?

Tools for Further Study

Cross References to Explore
  • Romans 3:23 - No one is naturally beautiful.
  • Revelation 7:14-15 - All God's people have been made righteous by the blood of the Lamb of God.
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:18, Philippians 4:6 - Thankfulness is the solution to anxious living.
  • Lamentations 3:22-24 - The source of our new song is God's unfailing mercy.
  • 1 Corinthians 15:50-57 - We need a body that works on earth and in Heaven.
A Hymn to Encourage: "I Am Not Skilled to Understand"

I am not skilled to understand
What God hath willed, what God hath planned;
I only know at His right hand
Stands One who is my Savior.

I take Him at His word indeed:
“Christ died for sinners”—this I read;
And in my heart I find a need
Of Him to be my Savior!

And was there then no other way
For God to take? I cannot say;
I only bless Him, day by day,
Who saved me through my Savior.

That He should leave His place on high
And come for sinful man to die,
You count it strange? So once did I
Before I knew my Savior!

Yes, living, dying, let me bring
My strength, my solace from this spring—
That He who lives to be my King
Once died to be my Savior!