The Beholder
      "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder."  Likely you've heard that saying, and for sure it's a true one.  Everyone has their own definition of beauty, but I've been thinking of late as to just what the Father's definition would be, is?  We live in a culture obsessed with beauty, and the church has not been immune from the obsession, at least not here in the west.
       Our flesh is drawn to what we consider "beautiful," but is His?  His Word speaks a great deal about the relationship between Christ and His church, of His love for her, His bride.  That love is one that penetrates to the very depth of her being, to who she is, and the beauty of who she is moves His heart.  His eye doesn't stop at the surface of her being, but goes to her heart, and it is to her heart that He is drawn.  That "glorious church without spot or wrinkle."  There are depths to explore here beyond this short devotional, but I'm wondering today just how far our definition of her beauty may have drifted from His?  In the life of the church, wherever you or I are placed in it, who is it that we most long to attract, 
men, or Christ?  Is it our deepest desire to be beautiful in His eyes, or theirs?
      Writer and pastor Donald Rumble said, "The church has been impressed with has attracted men.  If our goal has been to attract men to the church, than what they think will govern our actions."  This is hugely convicting.  In the "planning" of our worship, our outreach, our "strategies," how much prayer and thought goes into what will please men and women, the flesh?  Do we hope to attract more people, or more Holy Spirit?  Do we want to make our fellowships a place where people want to be, or a holy place where He truly dwells?  Yes, we need to be a "welcoming" place, but it is a welcome that is extended from His heart, and not ours.  It is a welcome that says "Come to Me," and such a welcome brings with it the command that we come not just as we are, but with all that we are.  I think we worry so much that people might be "uncomfortable" in our fellowships that we do everything we can to see that they're not.  No, we cannot have a legalistic, judgemental, rules and behavior oriented church, but the simple fact is, that if Christ is truly present in a manifested way, our flesh will be decidedly uncomfortable.  It can't be otherwise.  Jesus told His disciples, "The world hates Me because I convict it of sin."  This will always be so, and I think if we try to lessen this reality in the desire to be more acceptable to the flesh, we may be "attractive" to it, but not to Him.  Whose favor do we really want?  In whose eyes do we really wish to be beautiful?  
     In Acts 7:20, it is said of Moses at his birth that "he was beautiful in the Lord's sight."  Not because he would be perfect, without sin, or that he would do everything right and never fail, but it was because he, like David after him, had a heart and life that was set to pursue the Father with all its might.  This is what is beautiful in His sight.  Yes, this heart wants to reach people for Him, but the overwhelming, the all encompassing desire of that heart is to know and worship Him.  Nothing can take the place of that desire, nothing can get in its way.  There will be the desire that others come to Him, but the desire for Him will never be compromised by a desire to reach them.  When we become such a person, and our fellowships are comprised of such people, we will truly be beautiful in His sight, and He will truly dwell among us.  Others will be drawn to that beauty that only He can possess.  We no longer have to come up with plans to reach men because He is so powerfully in our midst that hearts are being drawn to Him through His beauty in us, and if they are not, then no plan is of any value anyway.  May it be our deepest desire that we be beautiful in His eyes as He beholds us, forsaking the favor of men, for the favor and glory of God.  Beautiful in the eyes of the Beholder.

Pastor O
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   May 2019   
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