How often is it that we make the outward things the main things?
When did the focal point become the focus point? It’s becoming all too clear that our physical is affecting our metaphysical rather than the other way around. We’re allowing circumstantial pressure, influence by osmosis, and a general negativity so haphazardly displayed among our peers to change and shape us. If beauty were only skin deep, we would not even have the question, “Is beauty only skin deep?” There would be no affinity to an antithesis or contrarian statement to that effect. If it were true that face value is the only viable way to determine value period, why do we doubt these seemingly universal acknowledgments and accreditation of the superiority of the outward over the inward?
From a logical standpoint, there is no question without doubt. Thus, the very fact that a question exists infers a level of uncertainty and a definite possibility of at least two different results or answers. Therefore, to say that beauty is only skin deep as a statement is to reject the possibility that it could be otherwise also. Yet, to ask the question, “Is beauty only skin deep?”, makes the statement you believe in the possibility of different answers.
Essentially, our culture has written it off as irrelevant whether or not a person’s inward beauty matches their outward. Oh sure, you still hear the odd pop song about inward beauty and worth outside of what the culture dictates, (and by the way, culture dictates all terms). But, even those are acts of rebellion and glimmers of innocence against the culture’s current precedent: that if the people want idols, give them idols.
We worship human China dolls, golden-voiced liberal serpents, those with mouths like open graves, out of which proceed death, malice, and hate, and the latest skew of current, beauty, truth, justice, or morality. The culture has given us idols, figures who embody what the human being desires to be: the American dream, right? Money, fame, popularity, power… Every 9-5, work-force, middle-class American’s dream. But, maybe the deception is more in our perception rather than cultures conception. What they’ve created, the stigma placed on Christianity and morality, it’s not our job to live by those terms. Many Christians are cold to the things of God and the evil around them. I believe this is directly related to their perception or perspective.
When we change how we view the world, it changes everything about us
When we stop focusing on the outward, and start focusing on the inward we eliminate culture from the equation. The power of a secular world is in their ability to manipulate and conform people by appealing to their innate human instincts and desires. When we change our perception of people to look not upon the outward as Man does, but look upon the inward as God does, we break the power of culture over us. Culture no longer dictates the terms, we can affect true change in our environments.
If you’re focused on your inward appearance, your relationship with God, your relationship with others, your virtues, your character, integrity, and the beauty within, you’re not focused on your faults or flaws, and you’re not focused on those in others. Why? Because the more you look inside yourself, the more inadequacies, the more failures and shortcomings you’ll find. This drives us to grow closer to God.
The more we see ourselves for who we truly are, the less we see others through the eyes of Man, and the more we see them through the eyes of God. A lot of it has to do with identity. If you know who you really are, no one can take that away from you. The difficulty is knowing who you truly are. At that point, it comes to finding yourself in Christ. Since He is the only solid rock, the only sure foundation, there is no identity outside of Him.
This is why we find so many non-Christians self identifying as one thing or another. Without a solid foundation there’s no stable ground to rest your identity on. At that point, you take your validation from the approval of others: from their acceptance of your outward appearance rather than your inward appearance. You can imagine the despair and hopelessness of relying on Man’s approval for love, for acceptance, for security, and for peace. Sadly, none of these things mankind is capable of giving.
There is no identity apart from God. Only finding yourself in Him can prevent you from losing yourself in the world.
As life changes for me, I’m growing older, things are happening with my family ministry, many of which I don’t fully understand. Yet, no matter where God takes me in life; no matter what the next step may be for me, I want my identity to be sure in Christ. I always want to be looking on the beauty inside others; always looking at the heart; always looking at myself inwardly and examining who I am.
It’s about where you set your focus
On the camera, for example: on the iPhone camera, you tap the screen to set your focus. If I tap on the foreground, like I did with the header image, the leaf is in focus. If I tap on the background, the leaf would blur as the stream in the background would come into focus. It changes the perspective of the entire picture. Our eyes never gravitate towards what is blurred, what is in focus is the focal point. Immediately the perception is of what is in focus rather than what is not. It’s all about where you set your focus, your perspective on life, your perception of the world around you. Fix your eyes. Be in-focused and not out-focused.
As always, thanks for reading.
—the anonymous novelist