Category: What does the Bible say About


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Conceit is excessive pride in oneself. Conceited people love to talk about themselves and their achievements, showing lesser regard for the accomplishments of others. Conceited people often take the credit for every good thing God has done in their lives and consider themselves intrinsically superior to most other people. The Bible has harsh words for the conceited because pride gets in the way of all God wants to do in and through us.

We need to note the difference between healthy self-worth and sinful conceit. Some believe that to be proud of any achievement is wrong, and they may go to the other extreme of belittling themselves. However, self-abasement is just pride on its back. It masquerades as humility but is, in fact, another way of gaining attention. Social media is a showcase for this kind of conceit. For example, a woman posts a seductive selfie with the comment “Feeling so ugly today.” What happens? Within moments, an avalanche of statements to the contrary flood her post. Conceit sometimes wears a mask, and conceited people usually know how to fish for compliments while appearing humble.

Saul is a biblical example of a conceited man. The Bible describes him as “the most handsome man in Israel” (1 Samuel 9:2). God chose Saul to be the first king of Israel, and he had a great future ahead, if he would obey the Lord. But Saul’s conceit grew with his popularity, and it did not take long for him to usurp God’s authority in his life and make decisions that put him in a good light with the people. Rather than obey God completely, Saul decided that he knew better. First Samuel 15 recounts Saul’s slide away from God’s favor. The man who could have had it all got too big for his britches, and the Lord removed him as king.

Humility is the opposite of conceit, and C. S. Lewis had a perfect definition: “Humility is not thinking less of myself. Humility is thinking of myself less.” The conceited think of themselves constantly. They may hide that self-obsession with self-deprecating remarks (“I don’t think I’ll ever do as well as I did last time”), but they can’t hide the fact that self is their primary interest. To overcome an attitude of conceit, we must be willing to see ourselves honestly, the way God sees us. We must come to terms with the fact that we are not the center of the universe; we must acknowledge the reality that no one is as obsessed with us as we are. We cure our conceit by shifting our gaze from the mirror to the face of Jesus. “He must become greater; I must become less” (John 3:30).

Conceit is one of the traits of wicked people in the last days (2 Timothy 3:1–5). Conceit is at the root of most sins because we choose to please ourselves instead of pleasing God or helping someone else. In contrast, Philippians 2:3 instructs us to “do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.” None of us can do this naturally. Our sin natures want to put ourselves first. But in the power of the Holy Spirit we can be intentional about humbling ourselves and agreeing with God about our worth (1 Peter 5:6; James 4:10). By faith we can develop a healthy self-image that blesses the Lord and those around us.

A passive-aggressive person is one who appears to comply with a request but actually resists in subtle ways. The resistance can range from pouting to delayed vindictiveness. We all exhibit passive-aggressive behaviors at some point, usually as children when it was not safe to openly rebel. However, as we mature, we should be learning healthier behaviors such as setting boundaries and expressing disagreements more openly. The Bible does not use the term passive-aggression, but it does give us character sketches of people who exhibited passive-aggressive traits and the results of that behavior.

King David’s son Absalom is an example of a passive-aggressive person (2 Samuel 14:28–33). After Absalom had murdered his brother Amnon (2 Samuel 13:20), David banished him from the kingdom. Even when he was allowed to return, David refused to have anything to do with him. But Absalom was full of pride and hated his father. He summoned Joab, the commander of David’s armies, to send a message to David. When Joab twice refused the summons, Absalom set fire to his crops in the field. He then began plotting to take the kingdom from his father, but he did so by feigning compassion and concern for the citizenry. He hinted that his father was not attending to the needs of the people, and that, if crowned king, he, Absalom, would see that their needs were met. Absalom’s plan was working, and “he stole the hearts of the people of Israel” (2 Samuel 15:6). Passive-aggressive people are possibly more dangerous than openly aggressive ones because we don’t see the attack coming.

King Ahab of Israel demonstrated passive-aggressive behavior when he coveted the vineyard of a neighbor and was denied its purchase (1 Kings 21:1–4). His response to being denied what he wanted was to sulk and pout and refuse to eat. His passive-aggressive actions prompted his wicked wife Jezebel to concoct a scheme to kill Naboth, the vineyard owner, and give her husband the land. She lied, forged her husband’s signature, and slandered the innocent Naboth, leading to his public execution. The Lord immediately sent Elijah the prophet to proclaim to Ahab that God had seen all that happened and that Ahab’s death would soon follow Naboth’s (1 Kings 21:17–22). It was Ahab’s passive-aggressive behavior that had begun the disastrous chain of events.

Passive-aggressive speech and behavior are cowardly ways of avoiding conflict. By pretending to be pleasant while inwardly seething with resentment, we fool ourselves into thinking we are peacemakers practicing self-control. In truth, we are communicating contempt and disapproval without having the courage to openly say so. An ancient Chinese proverb defines passive-aggression like this: “Behind the smile, a hidden knife!”

Social media has turned passive-aggression into an art form. We all know what it means when we are “unfriended,” “unfollowed,” or blocked. Some find it easier to vent their frustrations on social media than have a private conversation with someone who has offended them. However, what begins as passive-aggression can quickly mushroom into online bullying. The internet and the proliferation of smartphones have created dozens of ways for passive-aggressive people to exact revenge from behind the relative safety of a screen. Whether spoken, acted, or typed, passive-aggressive responses are harmful and dishonest. We are pretending to be unoffended while secretly planning ways to get even.

Leviticus 19:17 says, “Do not harbor hatred against your brother. Rebuke your neighbor directly, and you will not incur guilt because of him.” The Bible instructs us to confront sin in a loving and humble way, taking someone with us if the offender will not listen (Matthew 18:15–17). We are to be ready to forgive and restore when someone repents (Luke 17:3). Passive-aggression bypasses those critical steps in a relationship and goes directly to judgment (John 7:24). Rather than openly confront the wrong and offer an opportunity to clear the air, passive-aggressive people slide silently into the judge’s seat and devise subtle ways to get even.

Passive-aggressive traits are often so well-concealed that we are not even aware of them. We can identify behaviors that may suggest we are being passive-aggressive by asking ourselves a few questions:

1. Do I imply guilt when someone has something I can’t have? Example: “I love your dress. I wish I could afford something like that, but I have to take care of my mother.”

2. Do I give backhanded compliments to mask my jealousy? Example: “Oh, your new house is cute—for a starter home.”

3. Do I make a point to ignore or behave coldly toward someone with whom I’ve disagreed? Example: The person strikes up a conversation, but I keep checking my phone or glancing over the person’s shoulder.

4. Do I gossip about someone rather than address that person directly? Example: James was confused when he did not get the promotion he was promised. But rather than confronting the boss about it, he started rumors that the boss was dishonest.

5. Do I try to sabotage someone else’s success when he or she has offended me? Example: “Oh, I know you’re on a diet, but I couldn’t resist blowing my paycheck on this cake for you.”

6. Do I keep score and make certain that slights and snubs are kept even? Example: Sue did not invite me to her last dinner, so I send my party invitations to everyone in the office but her.

7. Do I hide behind vague comments on social media, geared toward embarrassing, shaming, or exposing someone whom I have not addressed face to face? Example: John posts on Facebook, “Some people need to learn that friendship is more than asking for bail money.”

Keeping Jesus’ Golden Rule would obliterate passive-aggression (Matthew 7:12). We are to treat others the way we want them to treat us, not the way they have already treated us. Regardless of how someone else acts, we are to respond with kindness, patience, and forgiveness (Ephesians 4:31–32). When we stand before God one day, He will not ask us how we were treated, but how we treated others (Romans 14:12). With His help, we can recognize our own passive-aggressive tendencies and replace them with the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22–25).

Common sense is sound judgment in practical matters. In Proverbs 8:5 some translations speak of the need to develop “common sense,” which other translations simply call “prudence” or “discretion.” Biblically, common sense can be thought of as a combination of wisdom and discretion (Proverbs 3:21; 8:12–14). Wisdom is knowing what to do; discretion is knowing when and where to do it.

Part of being a fool is having no common sense or being “void of understanding,” as the KJV puts it (Proverbs 7:7; 24:30). The book of Proverbs proclaims the benefits of gaining wisdom and also shows the folly of being a fool (Proverbs 13:16; 16:22; 26:11). Proverbs 3:13–14 says, “Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold.” Wisdom allows us to see life the way God does. When we seek God’s perspective, we can make decisions based upon their eternal significance rather than selfish interest. When we choose to make decisions based on wisdom alone, we are exercising common sense.

The desire for instant gratification is the enemy of common sense. Many people have become ensnared in trouble and heartache because they rejected a wise path and sought instead immediate satisfaction. Common sense is often developed by learning from the consequences of such poor choices—the school of hard knocks educates many. Everyone makes bad decisions at some point. The difference between the wise and the foolish is that one learns from his mistakes and the other keeps repeating them. Some people seem born with a more level head, while others learn from experience. Either way, wisdom and common sense should be continually pursued in order to experience the best God has for us (Proverbs 2:1–8).

The Bible offers many principles to aid the process of making decisions that honor God. The following list is not exhaustive, but it does represent many teachings of Scripture.

First, begin with prayer. First Thessalonians 5:16-18 says, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” If we should pray in all situations, we should certainly pray in times of decision-making. As we pray, we ask for wisdom (James 1:5).

Second, define the issue. Wise decisions are informed decisions. It is important to understand what options are available. Once the factors are known, options can be further considered and evaluated.

Third, seek biblical wisdom. Some decisions become easy, if there is one clear choice consonant with God’s Word. Psalm 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” When we follow the teachings of God’s Word, He guides our path and provides knowledge to make wise choices.

Fourth, seek godly counsel. Proverbs 15:22 says, “Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.” Sometimes, consulting with a friend or family member is enough. At other times, consulting with a pastor or other trusted voice can make the difference between a harmful decision and a helpful one.

Fifth, trust the Lord with your decision. In other words, if you’ve made your decision with prayer, sound wisdom, and biblical counsel, trust God for the outcome. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”

Sixth, be willing to admit mistakes and adjust accordingly. In most cases, there is no wisdom in continuing down a wrong path after you have discovered it is wrong. Be willing to admit mistakes or failures and ask God for the grace to change.

Seventh, give praise to God for your success. When your decisions result in personal success, the temptation is to believe it is due to your own power, talent, or genius. However, it is God who blesses our efforts and gives strength. “A man can receive only what is given him from heaven” (John 3:27).

Doubt is an experience common to all people. Even those with faith in God struggle with doubt on occasion and say with the man in Mark 9, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (verse 24). Some people are hindered greatly by doubt; some see it as a springboard to life; and others see it as an obstacle to be overcome. The Bible has something to say about the cause of doubt and provides examples of people who struggled with it.

Classical humanism says that doubt, while uncomfortable, is absolutely essential for life. René Descartes said, “If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things.” This is similar to what the founder of Buddhism said: “Doubt everything. Find your own light.” If we take their advice, we would have to doubt what they said, which seems rather contradictory. Instead of taking the advice of skeptics and false teachers, we will see what the Bible has to say.

A working definition of doubt is “to lack confidence, to consider unlikely.” The very first expression of doubt in the Bible is in Genesis 3, when Satan tempted Eve. God had given a clear command regarding the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and had specified the consequence of disobedience. Satan introduced doubt into Eve’s mind when he asked, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” He wanted her to lack confidence in God’s command. When she affirmed God’s command, including the consequences, Satan replied with a denial, which is a stronger statement of doubt: “You will not surely die.” Doubt is a tool of Satan to make us lack confidence in God’s Word and consider His judgment unlikely.

Lest we think that we can lay all of the blame on Satan, the Bible clearly holds us accountable for our own doubts. When Zechariah was visited by the angel of the Lord and told that he would have a son (Luke 1:11-17), he doubted the word given to him. He logically assumed that he and his wife were too old to have children, and in response to his doubt, the angel said he would be mute until the day God’s promise was fulfilled (Luke 1:18-20). Zechariah doubted God’s ability to overcome natural obstacles – many people today share the same doubt. Any time we allow human reason to overshadow faith in God, sinful doubt is the result. No matter how logical our reasons may seem, God has made foolish the wisdom of the world (1 Corinthians 1:20), and His seemingly foolish plans are far wiser than man’s. Faith is trusting God even when His plan goes against human reason or experience.

Contrary to the humanistic view that doubt is essential to life, the Bible says that doubt is a destroyer of life. James 1:5-8 tells us that when we ask God for wisdom, we are to ask in faith, without doubt. If we doubt God’s ability to respond to our request, what would be the point of asking in the first place? God says that if we doubt while we ask, we will not receive anything from Him, because we are unstable. “He who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind” (James 1:6).

The remedy for doubt is faith, and faith comes by hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17). God gave us the Bible as a testimony of His works in the past, so we will have a reason to trust Him in the present. “I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago” (Psalm 77:11). In order for us to have faith in God, we must study to know what He has said. Once we have an understanding of what God has done in the past, what He has promised us for the present, and what we can expect from Him in the future, we are able to act in faith instead of doubt.

The most famous doubter in the Bible was Thomas, who declared that he would not believe that the Lord was resurrected unless he could see and touch Jesus himself (John 20:25-28). When he later saw Jesus and believed, he received the gentle rebuke, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” Hebrews 11:1 says, “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” We can have confidence even in the things we cannot see, because God has proven Himself faithful, true, and able.

Complementarianism is the teaching that masculinity and femininity are ordained by God and that men and women are created to complement, or complete, each other. Complementarians believe that the gender roles found in the Bible are purposeful and meaningful distinctions that, when applied in the home and church, promote the spiritual health of both men and women. Embracing the divinely ordained roles of men and woman furthers the ministry of God’s people and allows men and women to reach their God-given potential.

The complementarian view starts with Genesis 1:26–27, which says that God created humanity, male and female, in His own image. Genesis 2:18 contains the further detail that God created Eve specifically to complement Adam: “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” The two genders are, therefore, part of God’s created order. Any modern-day blurring of the genders or distortion of the roles is a result of the Fall.

Complementarianism follows Ephesians 5:21–33 as the model for the home. The husband has the role of headship in the family. He is to nurture his wife and lead his family lovingly, humbly, and sacrificially. The wife has the role of nurturing her children and intentionally, willingly submitting to her husband’s leadership. When both husband and wife are complementing each other in this way, Christ is honored. In fact, the marriage itself becomes what it was designed to be: a living picture of Christ and the church (verse 32).

In the church, complementarianism follows 1 Timothy 2:11 — 3:7 and Titus 2:3–5 as the model. Biblically, the men in the church bear the responsibility to provide spiritual leadership and training. The women are to exercise their spiritual gifts in any way that Scripture allows—the only prohibition is “to teach or to assume authority over a man” (2 Timothy 2:12). When men and women are fulfilling their God-given roles within a church, Christ is honored. In fact, the church itself becomes what it was designed to be: a living picture of Christ’s body (1 Corinthians 12:12–27).

The opposing view is egalitarianism, which teaches that, in Christ, there are no gender distinctions anymore. This idea comes from Galatians 3:28. Because all believers are one in Christ, egalitarians say, men’s and women’s roles are interchangeable in church leadership and in the household. Egalitarianism sees gender distinctions as a result of the Fall and Christ’s redemption as removing those distinctions, bringing unity. Complementarianism sees gender distinctions as a result of Creation and Christ’s redemption as a return to those distinctions, avoiding confusion. Paul sides with the complementarians, citing the order of creation as the basis for his teaching: “For Adam was formed first, then Eve” (1 Timothy 2:15).

A difference in role does not equate to a difference in quality, importance, or value. Men and women are equally valued in God’s sight and in His plan. Complementarianism seeks to preserve the biblical differences between men’s and women’s roles while valuing the quality and importance of both genders. The result of true complementarianism is honor to Christ and harmony in the church and in the home.

 Does a faith healer heal with the same power as Jesus?

There is no doubt that God has the power to heal anyone at any time. The question is whether He chooses to do so through those who are called “faith healers.” These individuals typically convince their audiences that God wants them to be well and that through their faith—and usually a financial offering—God will reward their faith by healing them through the power of Jesus.

By comparing the healing ministry of the Lord Jesus to that of the modern faith healers, we can determine whether their claims have any basis in Scripture. If, as they say, they heal through the same power and in the same way that Jesus healed, we should be able to see marked similarities between them. However, just the opposite is true. Mark 1:29-34 gives us a description of just one day of Jesus’ healing ministry. His power to heal—and to do all kinds of miracles—was evidence that He had power over both the physical and spiritual effects of the curse of sin. He healed those afflicted with physical diseases, illnesses, and injuries, even raising the dead, and He cast demons out of those who were possessed by them. Only God can rescue us from the results of the Fall of man into sin—disease and death—and by His miracles, Jesus proved His deity.

There are several distinctive in the way Jesus healed that are not characteristic of the modern faith healers. First, He healed instantly. Peter’s mother-in-law (Mark 1:31), the centurion’s servant (Matthew 8:13), Jairus’ daughter (Mark 5:41-42), and the paralytic (Luke 5:24-25) were all healed immediately. They did not have to go home and start to get better, as is the advice from many faith healers. Second, Jesus healed totally. Peter’s mother-in-law was fully functional after being healed from an illness so severe she was bedridden, but when Jesus healed her, she rose immediately and prepared a meal for all who were in the house. The blind beggars in Matthew 20:34 were given instant sight. Third, Jesus healed everyone (Matthew 4:24; Luke 4:40). They were not required to be pre-screened by the disciples before coming to Jesus for healing, as is the standard procedure with the healers today. There was no healing line they had to qualify for. Jesus healed all the time in many places, not in a studio with carefully-controlled circumstances.

Fourth, Jesus healed actual organic diseases, not symptoms as the faith healers do. Jesus never healed anyone of a headache or back pain. He healed leprosy, blindness, and paralysis, miracles that were truly verifiable. Finally, Jesus healed the ultimate disease—death. He brought forth Lazarus after four days in the grave. No faith healer can duplicate that. In addition, His healings did not require faith as a precondition. In fact, most of those He healed were unbelievers.

There have always been false healers who prey on the suffering and the desperate in order to pad their bank accounts. Such behavior is the worst kind of blasphemy because many whose money is wasted on false promises reject Christ outright because He does not do what the healer has promised. Why, if faith healers have the power to heal, do they not walk the halls of the hospitals healing everyone and releasing them all? Why do they not go to clinics and cure all the AIDS patients? They do not because they cannot. They do not have the power of healing that Jesus possessed.

 

The phrase “reprobate mind” is found in Romans 1:28 in reference to those whom God has rejected as godless and wicked. They “suppress the truth by their wickedness,” and it is upon these people that the wrath of God rests (Romans 1:18). The Greek word translated “reprobate” in the New Testament is adokimos, which means literally “unapproved, that is, rejected; by implication, worthless (literally or morally).”

Paul describes two men named Jannes and Jambres as those who “resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith” (2 Timothy 3:8). Here the reprobation is regarding the resistance to the truth because of corrupt minds. In Titus, Paul also refers to those whose works are reprobate: “They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate” (Titus 1:16). Therefore, the reprobate mind is one that is corrupt and worthless.

As we can see in the verses above, people who are classified as having a reprobate mind have some knowledge of God and perhaps know of His commandments. However, they live impure lives and have very little desire to please God. Those who have reprobate minds live corrupt and selfish lives. Sin is justified and acceptable to them. The reprobates are those whom God has rejected and has left to their own devices.

Can a Christian have a reprobate mind? Someone who has sincerely accepted Jesus Christ by faith will not have this mindset because the old person with a reprobate mind has been recreated into a new creation: “The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Christians are basically “new” people. We live differently and speak differently. Our world is centered on our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and how we can serve Him. Also, if we are truly in the faith, we will have the Holy Spirit to help us live a God-honoring life (John 14:26). Those with reprobate minds do not have the Spirit and live only for themselves.

To define what is beautiful is difficult because beauty is, as the old saying goes, in the eyes of the beholder. What is beautiful to us may be ugly to another. To regard something as beautiful, it must meet our own definition and concept of beauty. The fact that beauty is an individual concept is understood clearly by all. However, many don’t realize that God’s concept of beauty also is His own. No one defines for God His concept of beauty. If a person is beautiful to God, he fits God’s concept of beauty.

For example, God never uses one’s outward physical appearance to determine beauty. When the prophet Samuel examined Jesse’s sons in search of the next king of Israel, he was impressed with Eliab’s appearance. God told Samuel: “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). Nothing in a person’s outward appearance impresses God. God looks upon the inner beauty, the beauty of one’s heart.

God never uses the origin or culture of a person as the criterion of beauty. People of one culture seldom see beauty in people of a different culture. Only a divine revelation could convince Peter to enter a Gentile’s house and preach the gospel to him (Acts 10). It took an angel to get Peter the Jew and Cornelius the Gentile together. Only a divine sign convinced the Jewish witnesses that Gentiles unquestionably had the right to be God’s children. When Peter said, “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism (Acts 10:34), he was saying, “At last, I understand.” Peter realized that God is unconcerned about a person’s origin or culture. God gladly accepts those who revere and obey Him. His concept of beauty is different because He ignores cultural preferences and prejudices.

While our opinions are strongly influenced by one’s address, occupation, and social role, God never determines beauty by social rank or life circumstances. When we speak of the so-called “beautiful people,” rarely do we mean those who are struggling to survive, who make their living by menial jobs, or who come from “backward” areas. In contrast, God never notices those things when He considers beauty in people. Paul wrote, “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:26-28).

What is beautiful in God’s eyes? Recognizing the qualities God has cherished in the lives of other people is one way to determine His concept of beauty. Noah’s implicit trust in God led him to construct a gigantic boat miles from water. Abraham trusted God’s promise so implicitly that he would have sacrificed his son of promise without hesitation. Moses yielded total control of his life to God and became the man of meekness. David gave his whole being to doing the will of God. No consequence or shameful treatment could keep Daniel from reverencing his God. Peter, Paul, Barnabas, and Timothy were ruled by God in every consideration and decision. They were totally focused upon Jesus’ will as they shared the gospel with all. In all these qualities God saw great beauty.

While all these people were beautiful to God, virtually nothing is known about their physical appearance. It was not their physique or stateliness but their faith and service that made them beautiful. The same was true of God’s beautiful women: Rahab, Hannah, Ruth, Deborah, and Mary of Bethany. Those noted for physical beauty were often great spiritual disappointments. Rebekah was “very beautiful” (Genesis 26:7), but she was also a deceiver and manipulator. Saul was a man of physical beauty, but his disobedience against God hurt the nation of Israel.

Peter directed Christian women to focus on the inner, spiritual qualities in order to be truly beautiful: “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful” (1 Peter 3:3-5). Peter is not prohibiting nice clothes or nice hairstyles; he is simply saying that a gentle and quiet spirit is even more beautiful in God’s eyes.

The qualities God wants in His people further reveal His concept of beauty. The beatitudes reveal some of God’s standards of beauty. An awareness of one’s spiritual poverty, sorrow for wickedness, hunger and thirst for righteousness, mercy, purity of heart, and being a peacemaker are all qualities of beauty. The epistles also stress attributes valued by God: keeping a living faith while enduring physical hardships, controlling the tongue, enduring personal harm to protect the church’s influence, making sacrifices for the good of others, and living by Christian convictions in the face of ridicule. All these are beautiful to God.

However, just as a beautiful appearance can become ugly through neglect, a beautiful life of righteousness can become ugly through neglect. Spiritual beauty must never be taken for granted or be neglected. We must remember that just as it is possible to be one of society’s most impressive people and be ugly in the eyes of God, it is also possible to be an unknown in society and to be radiantly beautiful in His eyes.