I would like to share something personal that God used to stir me recently. It happened through a conversation with my daughter on the way to her school.
Wearing her school uniform, with Dad (me) carrying her backpack, my daughter and I headed out of our home. As we were talking, she started talking about her friend. “My friend says she wants to be the most beautiful girl in school.” She became visibly bothered by the thought and continued, “but she’s not! She can’t say that, Daddy.” Always wanting to encourage my little girl, I was quick to reply. “Of course not, Sweetie. She can’t be the prettiest girl in school, because you are!” “No!” she retorted. “I want everyone in school to be the most beautiful and handsome.” It prompted me to giggle to myself, but on the other hand, she was serious and that was a profound statement. I could not argue with her wisdom. She was right.
Why does anyone have to desire to be “the most beautiful?” What would it prove if they were? Why do they have to “win?” Of course I realize much of this is very childlike, but many “grown-ups” never seem to outgrow the need to lord over others and that makes them childish. And on this day, my daughter also caught me looking through the wrong lens. In my effort to build her up, I was also suggesting that she should or could be greater than others.
After considering her statement for a minute or two, I was became curious to find out if she really meant it. “Who taught you that?” I asked. And after a short pause.. “Do you know how I teached myself that, Dad?” “No. How?” “Because I saw a lot of people.”
Pardon the simplicity of my story, but that really stirred me!
Do you see “a lot of people?” Or do you only see yourself? Are people beautiful to you? If not, then it is difficult to share and even enjoy the love God has for each one of us.
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment…” (1John 4:18) Why do we torment ourselves with fear of not being the best; not being the “winner?” Jesus never conquers people. He did not come as a man to conquer man. “And being found in the appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” (Philippians 2:8) Jesus did not come to be the ultimate beauty queen. He came as a servant and is our highest example of servanthood. He is the example for our lives.
Jesus did not come to promote you over others. Your career is not what matters most. (That may be a revelation to some.) Celebrity status does not make any person more beautiful or valuable than persons who are not celebrities. Jesus did not come so you could win and others lose. It is carnal thinking to pride ourselves on success and in our hearts feel great satisfaction over the failures of other people who have also tried and failed. Jesus does not endorse this kind of thinking.
We love what is beautiful. If we do not look through the cross, we will not find people beautiful. Additionally, we will not even see ourselves as beautiful! The ladies especially will pick up every magazine, tip and trick in an effort to become what they believe they are not.
Now look through the lens of the cross. Why do we think Jesus would die for ugly people like you and me? He didn’t. Although we have sinned and done some terrible, rotten and ugly things, Jesus still sees beauty. He loves us because the image of God is still a part of us. (Genesis 1:26; Luke 20:22-25) There was still something redeemable. He loves what He thinks is beautiful and the most beautiful thing to God is people like you and me being together with Him. (Romans 9:25-26)
Do you see “a lot of people?” God does. Every one of them are the most beautiful thing He ever saw, and they belong to Him. A little girl showed me that. 😉
Jason Betler is the founding evangelist of The Nations Hope, and an ordained minister of The Foursquare Church. A "dad joke" enthusiast, Jason and his wife Angelique reside with their three children in San Jose, California.
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