Proverbs 31:30 | Genesis 2:9 | Matthew 6:28-29 | Philippians 4:8
That’s just not Christian! (Is it?)
Before we begin, let’s quickly discuss saying that something “isn’t Christian”. What does that even mean? If it means it isn’t Christ-like, then perhaps this phrase has some validity. If it means it isn’t something a Christian would/should do or say or like (et cetera), then the expression is not only flawed, but unnecessarily harsh.
That second meaning is full of condemnation and manipulation. It assumes that Christianity is little more than Behavior Guidelines that Christians follow perfectly as proof of God’s work in their lives. It says, “If you were really a Christian, you wouldn’t do that!” At best, this translates to, “You’re a lousy Christian.” At worst, “You’re NOT a Christian.” Wow, that’s harsh.
Is appreciating beauty Christ-like?
Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.Proverbs 31:30 NLT
Mia quoted this verse from the book of Proverbs. Notice it speaks specifically of a woman’s charm and physical beauty. It is included in the 21 verses of instruction on how to find a Wife of Noble Character. The writer is warning his son not to choose his wife based solely on her looks or even her fun personality–because that beauty fades. A true love of God only improves with age, so it should be an important consideration as well.
Proverbs 31 shows the noble wife taking a very active role in the marriage and the administration of all the family’s assets. This wise writing from thousands of years ago shows a strong woman buying land and making business deals (verses 16-18) and exuding dignity, confidence, wisdom, and kindness (verses 25-27).
What about an appreciation of beauty in a more general sense? Is it Christ-like? Consider this: God creates certain things to be beautiful as well as functional.
The Lord God made all sorts of trees grow up from the ground—trees that were beautiful and that produced delicious fruit.Genesis 2:9a NLT
As Alex pointed out, the trees God made in the Garden of Eden were not just for food, they were also beautiful. Apparently, he wants beauty to be a part of our earthly lives. On the other hand, he does not want us to worry about how beautiful we look.
“And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are.”Matthew 6:28-19 NLT
In fact, if you ever have the problem of your mind racing uncontrollably, you might try taking a few deep breaths and focusing your thoughts on beautiful things. The Apostle Paul encouraged the early Christians in Philippi to do that very thing.
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.Philippians 4:8 NLT
It is pretty clear that God creates beautiful things for our enjoyment, and that He wants us to enjoy them and remember Him as we do. You might even say that an appreciation of beauty is an appreciation of God’s provision and love for us.
Questions for Group Discussion
- Why do you think someone might argue that Beauty is not ‘Christian’?
- Does the idea of God creating certain things to be beautiful align with your understanding of who God is? If not, how? If so, why?
Application: You Need It
The following is a quote from C.S. Lewis, Oxford professor and famed author of The Chronicles of Narnia book series.
The Christian says, ‘Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists. A baby feels hunger: well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim: well, there is such a thing as water.’C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
Lewis goes on to argue that his need for things that this world cannot satisfy points to the existence of those things in heaven. He asserts that his Creator made him with those desires.
Is your need for beauty in your daily life part of how you were created? Write down your answer, using as many or as few words as you need to express your thoughts.