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You Look Great!

Gerrit Scott Dawson

I live with two high school students. As they got ready for the first day of school this year, what do you think mattered most to them—memorizing their class schedules? discussing which figures from U.S. history were the most interesting? Of course not! The big questions in our house were, “Where will I sit during lunch?” and most important, “What am I going to wear?”

Cool Guy2 TSP 168312487 copyGuys seem to dispense with the whole clothes issue pretty quickly; their main objective is not to look like a goober. They just want to fit in, to be one of the guys. For the girls, however, appearance is a bigger deal, especially on the first day of school. Friends must be consulted about the latest clothing fashions. Then there’s the hair thing: Do I wear it up, down, or back? Should I get it cut or colored? There’s also the issue of makeup, perfume, and jewelry. It’s probably safe to say that few guys, if any, fully appreciate the time and effort that most girls put into trying to look good.

Except in rare cases, most high school boys aren’t nearly as mature-looking as girls. And believe me, they feel it. Beneath the gruff “whatever” exterior are boys who feel unsettled about how much they still look like boys and not men. Many boys feel intimated by their incredibly made-up counterparts. They ask themselves, Am I man enough to approach a girl who looks that good? But then I suspect that most of the girls who are entrancing the guys around them don’t feel so beautiful, lovely, or pretty either.

The Deal

So what’s the deal? It’s hard to understand what’s going on when your body, mind, and spirit are changing during adolescence. You’re becoming a different-looking you, but you’re not there yet. You wonder if how you look now and how you’ll look in the future will be enough. Meanwhile, magazines focus on celebrities—Ashton and Avril, Justin and J. Lo—who look great. Ads show kids with no acne, no fat, and no problems living the cool life. TV shows and movies feature great-looking teens who start their own companies, play music to huge crowds, and succeed in dating, academics, surfing, and dancing. Who could possibly compete with that?

I saw a magazine shoot once, and it did me a world of good. The model’s perfectly-fitting shirt was held together by nearly a hundred pins. Her perfect hair was constantly sprayed by a team of assistants. That fetching look of life and love wasn’t on her face off-camera. The whole thing was an illusion—a big fake set-up to make us ache for what can never be.

The Real Deal

God’s word has a different take on looks. Have you ever seen how someone who falls in love seems to change in appearance? And other people, who never before found that person particularly attractive, now notice how great he or she looks.

broken mirror FTR TS 94166235

Ezekiel 16:14b (NIV) says that God’s love confers beauty on people: “ . . . the splendor I had given you made your beauty perfect.” Jesus Christ confers on each of us the splendor of his love. We are his bride, and he adorns his beloved with gifts of grace, forgiveness, peace, acceptance, and tender regard. He gave his life for his bride, and he still gives us his life by pouring out the Holy Spirit into our hearts.

Jesus accepts us as we are, then cleanses our hearts and makes us shine with his love. When we know and experience ourselves as accepted by Christ, beloved by him for all eternity, and chosen to be his forever, our looks will be affected from the inside out. No longer needing to look at those wretched fashion magazines to see what we are not, we will look at the Word to see all that we are. In Christ’s eyes, you look great!

 

DIG DEEPER

Don’t look in the mirror today. Instead, look at these passages from God’s word: Isaiah 43:1–5, Colossians 3:12, 1 Peter 2:9–10, and 1 John 3:1–2. See yourself, not in a glass on the wall but reflected in the loving eyes of God.

Gerrit Scott Dawson looks and feels great as the pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Lenoir, North Carolina.

–from Devo’Zine (May/June2004). Copyright © 2004 by Upper Room Ministries. All rights reserved.
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