Beauty Is Only Skin Deep 2-18-07
BEAUTY IS ONLY SKIN DEEP
Jeremiah 1:4 Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying: 5 Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations. 6 Then said I: Ah, Lord God! Behold, I cannot speak, for I am a youth. 7 But the Lord said to me: Do not say, I am a youth, For you shall go to all to whom I send you, And whatever I command you, you shall speak. 8 Do not be afraid of their faces, For I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord. 9 Then the Lord put forth His hand and touched my mouth, and the Lord said to me: Behold, I have put My words in your mouth. 10 See, I have this day set you over the nations and over the kingdoms, To root out and to pull down, To destroy and to throw down, To build and to plant.
Introduction: We live in a country that puts a great deal of stress on what has been defined as beauty, by those who want to sale us on an idea. For the most part the magazine, television and movie industry’s description of beauty is misguided and often times harmful because it is a representation of fantasy and hip. Most people don’t look like the models and actors we see, as a matter of fact, without glue, paint and make-up they don’t really look like that. But sadly the hip works to the point that many men and women go through life measuring themselves unjustly by unrealistic ideas that spoils their potential to be the best that God has made them to be. This would not be as disturbing if this attitude was absent in the safe house called the Church, but too often the ideas of the world inter the walls of the sanctuary.
If beauty can be measured, felt or seen, all of us should know that “Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly is to the bone.” I have seen some so called ugly people who were beautiful and I have seen some so called beautiful people who were really ugly. I know people who have sweet spirits who by certain standards are unattractive…I also know some folks who have great features but are ugly and mean to the very core of their being.
When a person does not fill good about themselves, they will usually go to the extreme of downing themselves. The only way to combat an attitude of low self-esteem is to begin thinking differently, acting and reacting differently. A person’s self-worth must not be measured by fillings, wrong views or the damaging words from parents, friends or even words they have spoken to themselves. The only picture of a person that really matters is the one that comes from the Lord.
Psalms 139:14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. 15 My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.
Psalms 139:14 (New Century Version) I praise you because you made me in an amazing and wonderful way. What you have done is wonderful. I know this very well. 15 You saw my bones being formed as I took shape in my mother’s body. When I was put together there, 16 you saw my body as it was formed. All the days planned for me were written in your book before I was one day old.
In this country we place extreme value on outer appearance. We value youth, beauty, athletic ability, intelligence, education, wealth and fame. But what happens when you have it all and lose it. What happens when Superman becomes a wheelchair man? What happens when a supermodel gains some super weight or gets super old?
What happens when a super intelligent person has a stroke? What happens when a superstar ends up in jail or addicted to drugs? What happens when you have a super career and lose it? What then? Where do you get your feelings of respect and personal worth, when everything that you have based your value is gone?
I realize that it takes wasted energy to have low self-esteem and it will take strength to build it up. I pray today that those of you that have battled and suffered with this problem will come to a new awakening of self-worth, God’s way.
In this passage from Jeremiah, the first thing I see is: A true view of yourself comes from an understanding of God’s viewpoint of who you are. When God told Jeremiah that He valued him and had plans to use his life, Jeremiah protested that he was only a child and could not possibly be of value to God. But the Lord said, “Do not say, ‘I am only a child.” You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you” (Jeremiah 1:6-7). God had plans for Jeremiah that Jeremiah could not understand. Jeremiah saw himself as having no value, but God saw him as having great value. His value was not how he saw himself, or even how others saw him. His value was in how God saw him. You may not seem like much in your own estimation, but it is who you are in God’s eyes that matters. The kind of self-esteem that says, “I’m worth something because I am doing well and others look up to me” is a black hole from which many people never escape. If your feelings of self-worth are based on how you see yourself, or how others see you, then you are hooked to the wrong star. You will spend your life climbing the ladder of success only to find it was leaning against the wrong building.
The Bible says, “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:27). Your life has value because you were created in the image of God, regardless of what you are able, or unable to do, what you look like, or fill like. Your life finds meaning only in a relationship with the God in whose image you were created. He has a purpose and plan for your life that is different from every other person who was ever created. He says; “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11). You are so important to him that, Jesus said, “But the very hairs of your head are all numbered” (Luke 12:7).
The second thing I see in this passage from Jeremiah is; a correct view of yourself comes from knowing the truth about who you are. The truth was that Jeremiah was only a child in his experience and understanding. According to the world’s standards he had nothing to offer. If it had not been for God putting His Words in Jeremiah’s mouth, he would have had nothing to say. But because God had created him, as he has all of us, for a special purpose, God did not want him to belittle himself. God said to Jeremiah, “Do not say, I am only a child.”
God has great and wonderful plans for us but when low self-esteem filters into our lives, it becomes a weapon that the devil uses to destroy or hold us at bay. You see when we allow the enemy to keep feeding us with wrong estimations of ourselves, wrong thoughts, wrong words; we fall into the trap and fail to be what God wants us to be. So the biggest problem to being healed from low self-worth is who you are listening to.
The third thing I see in this passage from Jeremiah is; a correct view of yourself comes from a humble view of who you are. Throughout his life, Jeremiah maintained a sense of humility. He did not see God’s calling on his life as something that he could feel superior. Even Jesus did not exalt himself.
The Bible says your attitude should be the same as Christ Jesus: “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.” (Philippians 2:5-7). Jesus said; “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matt 11:29). Self esteem comes from humility, not pride.
Isaiah 66:2 For all those things My hand has made, And all those things exist, Says the Lord. But on this one will I look: On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word.
We are in fact seeking God’s value of us, not self-esteem.
I. Proper Self-Esteem Begins with SOUND Judgment
1. In the Christian arena, FAITH is what sets us apart
- Many Christians price themselves outwardly, based upon things that will not last.
- But sometimes those the world defines as failures are God’s success stories and those selected as winners are failures in God’s eyes.
- We have to ask, “Which value system do we use?”
2. God’s Viewpoint: The solution to “ARROGANCE,” is not hating and belittling yourselves, but a correct outlook concerning who you are in Christ.
How much better it is to say with Paul; “But by the grace of God I am what I am” (1 Cor 15:10).
Phil 2:3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.
The point is that the focus is off of you. Low self-esteem is just another form of pride. It is feeling bad that you are not as good as or better than others. Pride is a matter of being self-focused. A person who feels constantly inferior is merely someone who is focused upon themselves. As we grow in God, we turn the focus away from ourselves and we focus upon God. We focus on the gifts of others and we rejoice with them for what God has given them. There will always be someone who can do what we do better than we can do it, but we continue to do what God has called us to do. If God has given you something you can do, do it with all your might.
Col 3:23 And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.
Don’t worry about what you can’t do; concentrate on what you can do. Don’t worry about whether it is as good as someone else can do it, do the best you can do. What if only the best preachers preached? This pulpit would be empty here today. What if only the best singer sang? What if only the wealthiest people gave? What if only the best teachers taught?
We are to be full of confidence, because God has made us and has called us to serve Him. There is no one else like you in the world…God has seen to that. No one else has your particular personality and gifts. You look the way you do because that is the way God wanted you to look. You have exactly the amount of intelligence and ability that He planned for you to have. There will always be someone with more than you, but there will never be anyone exactly like you. You are His gift to the world, exactly as you are. You can put down His gifts to you, or you can pick them up and develop them to the full. You can try to live in your own strength, or you can rely upon His strength for the full development of what He has given you.
What I am trying to say is this; One day your looks will change. Your abilities will weaken. You will not be able to think or remember as you once did. You may lose friends and what then? On what will you base your self-esteem? If your self-esteem is based on your looks, intelligence, education, youth, or abilities then your self-esteem will be crushed. The only thing that will last…the only thing that no one can take from you…is your relationship with God and your value to Him. This relationship with God will guide you in your youth and keep you as you grow old. It will provide you with the meaning and fulfillment that only God can give.
An American tourist in Paris, who purchased an inexpensive amber necklace in a trinket shop, was shocked when he had to pay quite a high duty on it to clear customs in New York. This aroused his curiosity, so he had it appraised. After looking at the object under a magnifying glass, the jeweler said, “I'll give you $25,000 for it.” Greatly surprised, the man decided to have another expert examine it. When he did, he was offered $10,000 more. “What do you see that’s so valuable about this old necklace?” asked the astonished man. “Look through this glass,” replied the jeweler. There before his eyes was an inscription: “From Napoleon Bonaparte to Josephine.” The value of the necklace came from its identification with a famous person.
Our identity and who we are also comes from a famous person…Jesus Christ who is Lord of all. We are all valuable in His sight. We are who we are because of design and purpose. So today you can have a new beginning and a whole new outlook on your life because of what our Lord Jesus has done for us.
Remember…Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly is to the bone.