Tuesday, June 26, 2007

"So, What's Up With Jesus?"

In her blog, Solo Femininity, Carolyn McCulley quotes Micheal Lawrence's article, I'm Just Not Attracted to Her, in Boundless Webzine. It's an excellent article for everyone, not just singles, to read. I've known a few couples to struggle over the issue of losing interest in each other, and at least one couple that finally broke apart over it. As for me, it makes me appreciate my husband all the more! So, here's quoting Lawrence, who communicates better than I could on the subject. I encourage you to please read the rest of the article, even though his audience is other men.

No one in his right mind ever marries a woman he doesn't find beautiful. And it's no different with Jesus. Except for one problem. We aren't attractive. In our sin and rebellion, we are downright ugly. So what's up with Jesus?

I said earlier that Adam started off as a developer, making the beauty of Paradise flourish and grow. Adam failed, and we'll think more about what that means next time. But where Adam failed, Jesus succeeded. Only this second Adam had a much more difficult job. Not expanding perfection, but cleansing the dirty, forgiving the guilty, and making the ugly beautiful again. Paul tells us that like a husband, "Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless" (Ephesians 5:25-27).

Think about what that means. Jesus didn't come to earth looking for a beautiful bride, going back to heaven disappointed because no one lived up to His standards. No, He worked actively creating beauty through His death on the cross and the power of the gospel. He gave His life so that whoever repents of their sin and puts their faith in His finished work on the cross might become part of His dazzlingly beautiful bride! It's a promise He made and it's a promise He will keep.

As Christian men we can't do what Christ did, nor do we need to. But we are called to be like Him. That means we need to stop being beauty critics and get busy creating, honoring, and guarding real beauty in the women around us. How do we do that? We do it by appreciating women who resemble Christ more than a Vogue model. We do it by encouraging modesty rather than sexiness. We do it by extending grace to imperfect bodies and flawed personalities. We do it by rejecting the worldly values of beauty that lead women to starve themselves or spend a small fortune on clothes.

Whether you like it or not, whether you know it or not, you are a creator of beauty in the women around you. It's just a question of what kind. Take a look at the single women in your church or circle of friends. What kind of beauty are they focused on? Is it the beauty of what Peter calls "outward adornment" or is it the beauty of Christ in the gospel (1 Peter 3:3-5)? No doubt women have their own sinful motives in pursuing shallow forms of beauty. But the promise of beauty we make as men is heard loud and clear by our girlfriends and wives, even if we never open our mouths.

What promise of beauty are you making and who will keep it? Too many men are promising, "I'll be attracted to you if you're a size 2," and then waiting for the woman who will work hard to meet the condition. Jesus calls us to make a different kind of promise. "I'm attracted to you because of how much of Christ I already see in you and I promise to work hard to see even more of Christ in you."

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