I don’t know about y’all but I am so excited that spring has finally arrived in Tennessee! I feel long overdue for sunny, breezy days and rolling down the windows in my car and cruising down the highway jammin’ to my favorite tunes. Just around the corner are days filled with catching rays and making waves out on the water followed by barefoot, blue jean nights. In other words, sweet summer time! (Can you tell I’m a fan of country music?) I’m looking forward to spending my entire summer on camping adventures, out on the water or cooking out with friends. One thing I am dreading though…wearing a bathing suit. If cellulite and my obscene paleness were not factors in this then I honestly believe it wouldn’t be so bad. Seriously, I am white to the point of sparkling! It’s bad, y’all. I’m going to go ahead and apologize to anyone who sees me in shorts for the first month or so of “shorts weather.” Wear some sunglasses and your retinas should be just fine.
Speaking of bathing suits, I can’t ever decide what’s worse: shopping for them or wearing them in front of people. Therapists should offer a free session every summer to those of us scarred by shopping for these contraptions. I have nightmares about squeezing into Lycra that never quite fits my body or my wallet right… under fluorescent lighting, no less! *Shiver* I know there is somebody out there who can give me an “Amen” on that one.
When summer is on its way or special events are coming up, we tend to get preoccupied with whether we think we look good enough or not. If I may, I would like to pose a few questions that may result in serious personal insight. Do you ever sit down and think about what you look like on the inside (i.e your character)? Do you treat people with love and respect? When you speak about people, could it be considered gossip? How is your attitude about things? Are you predominately negative minded or positive minded?
(Note: I’m not trying to be preachy about this subject at all. My intent here is to encourage you and speak life into you today. I hope you understand that is my earnest heart’s desire.)
I think that we tend to be more bothered by how much we weigh versus how we treat people. Now, it is perfectly okay to have a desire to look and feel good about yourself. We should take care of ourselves by eating healthy and exercising. If you’re into styling your hair and wearing makeup, definitely enjoy doing those things. The danger that lies within self-improvement is the tendency to be dissatisfied and insecure. We can become concerned with our looks to the point of obsession and be blinded to the fact that we need to spruce up our character. No matter what you do or how hard you work to be whatever beautiful looks like to you, you will ruin it all with a terrible attitude. There will be no way that you can hide it for any extended period of time. People will notice and it will mar the way they see you.
At the end of the day, beauty fades, Whether by accident, illness or age our outward appearance will change drastically. It’s your inward beauty that has staying power. If you don’t believe me, let’s take a look at what scripture says.
“Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.” Proverbs 31:30
Charm is deceitful. Beauty is passing. Wow. That’s a strong cup of joe to swallow! I like the Amplified Bible version as well.
“Charm and grace are deceptive, and beauty is vain [because it is not lasting], but a woman who reverently and worshipfully fears the Lord, she shall be praised!”
To fear the Lord does not mean to be afraid of Him. It means to be reverent and honor Him. John McArthur states that the fear of the Lord is a state of mind in which one’s own attitudes, will, feelings, deeds, and goals are exchanged (in your own free will) for God’s.
This brings us to a great question. What behavior is expected of those of us who have been redeemed by God? Colossians 3:12-13a answers that for us.
“So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other…”
If I break things down and define them then I understand them better. Let’s do that here.
To be holy is to be set apart for God and His purposes. Being His beloved ones means that we are the recipient of God’s incomprehensible special love. Obviously we know what “put on” means. Some versions use the word “clothe” here and I think that is a perfect representation of what we should do with the following attributes. Compassion is a sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress coupled with a desire to alleviate it. Kindness refers to a goodness towards others that is not rooted in selfish gain. Humility is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less. It is the opposite of pride and self-love. Gentleness is the willingness to suffer insult or injury rather than inflicting that on another person. Patience can also be described as long-suffering. It is the opposite of quick anger, resentment, or revenge. It endures injustice and troublesome circumstances with hope for coming relief. (And it is a virtue I do not possess.) We must bear with one another and forgive one another no matter what our hurt feelings, anger, or impatience tells us what we should do. Stand by your brothers and sisters in Christ and work with them to resolve any issue you have so that y’all can get back to the work of God. Remember, the Lord says that because we have been forgiven of much so we must also forgive much.
That’s a tall order and there’s no way that you or I are capable of doing all these without daily submitting to Christ. Now that we know what to work towards, let’s do it with all the passion we use to prepare for summertime. Love one another boldly. Love one another like Christ has loved us. Love one another even when it gets hard or you don’t feel like it. And love yourself.
P.S. Ladies, make sure you make modesty a top priority at all times. I understand the desire to show off your hard work or the desire to feel sexy. Remember, there are people out there who struggle with lust and we shouldn’t give them an opportunity to sin any further. Think about it 🙂