we are his poem, we are his masterpiece: a pastors perspective | #thebeautybalance

I’ve been diving right into this 31 Day Writing Challenge, where each blogger chooses a topic to write about for 31(ish) days. Because it’s right where God has me, I’ve chosen to share on Blending Beauty with Balance.
(#thebeautybalance, if you want to follow along…or better yet, join the conversation using the hashtag!)

It’ll be a fun and encouraging 31(ish) days where I’ll be sharing tips and tricks while digging deeper, finding purpose, and blending beauty with balance — all with a heart of intention. {all 31(ish) Days will be linked here}

Today, Im excited to introduce you to my pastor, Matt Smith from Barabbas Road Church.
I pray you are just as blessed by his teaching, as my family and I have been over the years.


The words of Anthony Hoekema, are an excellent way to begin this discussion:


The Christian self image is never an end in itself. It is always a means to the end of living for God, for others, and for the preservation and development of God’s creation. It leads us outside ourselves. It delivers us from the preoccupation with ourselves and releases us so that we may happily serve God and others.1

Woman raising her arms at sunrise.

This proper view of ‘self’ however seems to be at odds with the rest of the modern world and most recently the Christian culture at large in America.2

Here is the argument as it relates to beauty: a proper Biblical view of ‘beauty’ will always be in the context of an outside relationship; whether it is with God or fellow man, it should always be viewed in the context of grace to be acted out with others. In other words, self-esteem is a means to an end, not an end in itself.

This is a subtle point so I don’t want to be misunderstood.

In todays culture the oppression of beauty comes at us from every angle. The pressure to be fitter or stronger or more successful, and in every case it comes to us with the provided motive to impress others. To combat this we tend to emphasize that we want to pursue beauty or success or fame etc. for ourselves and then pat ourselves on the back for not being shallow. The problem is that we are seeking a false solution thinking we are avoiding the shallowness trap we see in the earlier desire to impress others.

We still have the wrong focus.

After the Fall there was a two-fold perversion of the self-image. This manifested itself in either an inordinate heightening or lowering of man’s view of himself. This meant that man, at this point on, either viewed himself with hatred, ignoring the image he still imperfectly bore, or he viewed himself with the sinful pride that caused his fall in the first place. In the first case, man’s negative self-image began immediately after the fall when Adam and Eve realized that they were both naked and their eyes were opened (Gen. 3:7).

{1  Anthony A. Hoekema, Created in God’s Image (Grand Rapids, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1986), 111. 2  www.issuesetc.org/resource/journals/v2n1.htm}

Adam and Eve must have quickly read the self help book entitled, Making Your Own Sin Covering: Using What You Have to Be like God, because they tried to cover up their shame and sin with fig leaves. This is the religion of man and is man’s futile way of self-improvement that is so prevalent today. Man’s positive self view, from that point forward, could only properly be viewed in light of God’s all sufficient grace as pictured in the animal skins He made for them. D.G. Lindsay, in his work, Foundations for Creationism, has this to say regarding this subject:


God’s clothing of man with animal skins symbolized His desire to mend the broken relationship between Himself and man. The covering or clothing of our sin has always required a garment paid for with the shedding of blood. By giving Adam and Eve skins for clothing, God gave them a physical symbol of spiritual salvation. This was the first blood sacrifice made as a covering for sin.3


This act is one that should cultivate true humility while at the same time freeing one to have a positive self-image within the bounds of God’s grace. Here it is precisely the context of relation to God that is the source for self-esteem. This is fulfilled in the New Testament through the shed blood of Christ where in the redemptive process we see the perverted image of God in man being progressively renewed.


God wants us to be beautiful and excellent and successful for His glory.


When we pursue these things for this end then the results are not the point. That is to say, we are not more worthy because we are more beautiful, but we are worthy because of Christ and His sacrifice and we are free to seek to be beautiful for an audience of One.

Literally, the journey towards excellence in anything, when given to God, is an end in itself – worship itself.
There is no sacred – secular split.

Real spirituality is to be lived out on the altar of ordinary everyday life. Being a good mother for His glory, being a good friend for His glory and yes being beautiful for His glory is an act of worship.

 [3  Lindsay, D. G. (1998, c1990). Foundations for creationism . Dallas: Christ for the Nations. ]

Pastor Matt Smith

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