Beauty – the beautiful life

 

I’m not sure what comes into your mind when you think of a beautiful person. Perhaps some shapely celebrity, or hunky footballer, leaps into your mind. For some people the whole notion of sex appeal might be the guiding principle. There are certainly no universal criteria for judging beauty and no way of measuring it on a scale of 1-100! Perhaps you will get closer to defining it by dreaming up a list of practical examples. I wonder who would be on your list?

Another way would be to write down a few words with a similar meaning – we call them synonyms. Gorgeous perhaps is one?

Our readings for the week just skirt around the issue.

All I am sure about is that I want my inner life to be beautiful, pleasing in the eyes of God, and sustainable throughout my entire life.

Read Psalm 15

v 1   Who may worship in your sanctuary, Lord?
    Who may enter your presence on your holy hill?

Good question! Perhaps it is one you have asked yourself on occasions when you become aware of some deep-rooted failure or sin in your life. The answer hits us hard, because it describes people of a beautiful character – Those who lead blameless lives and do what is right, speaking the truth from sincere hearts. Far from encouraging us to approach God and trust Him, this seems to push us away.  We know only too well that the answer to the question does not describe us – in fact it is miles away from the sad truth that we know about ourselves. We are failures, we have sinned, and we are not worthy to be accepted by God. The beautiful life the psalm describes is only a distant prospect; it simply is not me right now you want to shout. Is that a feeling you have had at some point?

The great thing is then that you are exactly the kind of person that Jesus describes in the parable about a Pharisee and a Tax Collector in Luke 18. But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’ I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” This readiness to face up to our unworthiness and confess our sin for what it is, is the very first evidence of a beautiful life. Such a life is devoid of self-righteousness and pride. Its beauty lies in that such a person has an honest view of themselves and can only call on God for mercy.

Monday 7th February Daily Notes from The Hub