“But remember, for all your adult life you’ll be a woman. And how you live your life as a woman, all by yourself before God, is what makes the real you. Nothing on the exterior can touch or change that precious inner sanctuary—your heart, his dwelling place—unless you let it. And God, who loves you very much, has tailor made all your outer life—your circumstances, your relationships—to pressure you into becoming that beautiful woman he’s planned for you to be.”
~ Anne Ortlund ~
During our morning Bible study, I stood behind Barbie, her long thin legs nicely packaged in designer jeans and her flowing blond hair bouncing to the middle of her back. I attempted worship but my heart was elsewhere. I couldn't concentrate on the words to the songs because I was so distracted by the external beauty of this woman in front of me. In my heart, I secretly harbored jealousy and wondered, "God, why didn't you give me long legs or flowing hair?"
In my prayer time, the Lord nudged my heart, "The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” What was it that made David a man after God's own heart? It certainly had nothing to do with his external appearances. Was it his perfect adherence to God's laws? Doubtful. Did it have anything to do with his desire to put forth the best impression to the people? That might have worked if it hadn't been for the half naked dancing episode. So what does it look like to be someone after God's own heart?
A woman will be beautiful in God's eyes when she consecrates her heart as His dwelling place - His sanctuary. Do we realize that our hearts are God's home? His tabernacle has expanded to include many tents - the walking around kind of tents. In the original tabernacle, a specific place was set apart for the Holy of holies. Creating a holy place in our hearts does not mean following a prescribed list of acceptable behavior. Jesus said that OUT OF the heart the real you is revealed. It begins in our hearts (behavior follows belief) with a desire to be wholly His.
It's all about how we live when we are alone before God. When only His eyes are on us, when only He can see our thoughts and imaginations, and when only He knows our motivations. We need to stop worrying so much about being beautiful on the outside (both physically and spiritually) and start concentrating on being real before God. He wants the real, raw, uncensored you standing before Him with open arms, willing to listen to His voice. That's what He finds beautiful.
As I sat behind my beautiful friend, I was convicted that I had opened up the holy of holies in my heart and allowed something unholy and ugly to enter in and mar my heart's beauty. I will not keep this holy place pure by anything but honesty and through the grace of God's forgiveness and cleansing power.
Father, may my heart be consecrated unto You, completely Yours. Make it Your home and fill it with Your beauty.
Elise at Extravagant Grace is hosting "In Other Words" this week. Go visit her to read more about this quote.