Tuesday, February 26, 2013

What is attractive?

Is it important for a husband to be "attracted" to his wife?  And for a wife to be attracted to her husband?   I say definitely YES!  But what's attractive?   I counsel single college students and married people alike to allow God's word, and the truth of the gospel to inform their "attraction."  Now certainly, at some level, beauty is something we respond to intuitively.  It's not something we can totally figure out like a math equation.  For sure.  But I do believe it is possible and critical to let the scriptures shape our thinking rightly in this area.

One huge truth that I think men and women really need to take hold of is the glaring fact that God made people.  Yes! (Genesis 1:27) And people -by his design are tall and short, skinny and fat, dark and light in tone.  The creation testifies loudly through and through that God loves diversity!  A lot.  He created it!  And among humans there are all different eye colors, nose shapes, leg lengths, hip widths, foot sizes, and everything else.  Cosmo, Maxim and the P90X infomercial proclaim that there are only certain body sizes and shapes that are beautiful, but apparently God disagrees!  He is the one who made you fearfully, wonderfully!  He knit you together in your mothers womb, so if you are short and pale -it's because that's how he wants you to be!   You're "big boned" are you?  God made you that way -truly your "frame" was not hidden from him.  You can feel bad about that -but only if you regard Jillian Michaels' opinion over God's and only if you crave the world's fickle approval over Jesus'.  

In heaven, we'll have glorified bodies.  That's clear enough in the scriptures.  But I can find no indication that all of our bodies will look the same!  I sincerely believe that when we get to heaven -and when we have new and perfected bodies, I'll still be skinny, my wife will still be short and Tim Tebow will still be a brick house!  Will  Edgar still be Asian?  I believe so...

Go ahead and work out!  Be healthy, move around, jog a little!  But seriously, start hating sin, and quit worrying about that butt God made you!

In 1 Peter 3:1-7, Peter informs the women that their "beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight."  He commends to them the "Holy Women of the Past" who were truly beautiful because they had Hope in God, contentment of spirit, Godly submissiveness and true fearlessness.  I pray that I can raise my daughter(s) to exemplify such character!  

At our meeting on Friday night, I asked the ladies to strive after that kind of beauty, and I challenged to guys to evaluate whether their standards of beauty have been informed more by the Bible or by pornography?  

Have your standards of beauty been shaped more by what God regards as beautiful or what contemporary porn affirms as beautiful?  

Should a guy be attracted to his wife and regard her as beautiful?  YES.  But where does he get his standard of beauty from? 
Gospel Coalition blog contributor Barry Cooper writes: 
"The pornography epidemic, raises (or rather, lowers) the bar on what we expect of a prospective spouse because of its unremitting insistence on physical performance and cosmetic beauty, over and against mental and moral qualities...[Christian men] may pray unctuously for the Lord to provide a wife of noble character (Proverbs 31:10-31), but [their] hearts are being continually conditioned to lust after the wife of maximal hotness. "Charm is deceitful," God protests, "and beauty is vain!" But we dismiss him like one of those impertinent pop-ups that gets in the way of what we really want to see.
How different would the world be if dudes were spending as much time in their Bibles as on the computer?

Christ-ones are called to be different in every way!   Reflecting on the way that the  Gospel changes everything, Tim Keller pointed out:
In the world, "Women tend to be attracted to men with good incomes, and men tend to be attracted to women with 'good looks.'  Is the Christian community behaving in exactly the same way?  Or have we been transformed by the gospel."

Is the word of God re-calibrating every area of our lives?  Including what we regard as attractive and fundamentally beautiful?   Or are Christian men and women just letting the magazine rack define things for us? 

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