The Fight For Radiance
Can I be Radiant Looking Like This?
Wouldn’t you like to look in the mirror each day and find a reflection that is becoming more and more attractive? And it be yours? Millions of us deplete our fortunes to cover flaws and attempt to defy gravity—for the sole aim of attaining greater personal beauty. It can be a fight. We want to be beautiful and we want to be perceived as beautiful.
Thanks to the Laws of Thermodynamics, physically, you and I are in a constant state of winding down on this planet. Although we might possibly manage to delay the process, our trajectory is the same. The physical beauty we so desire will likely not be our reality.
Or will it? What if the desire to be beautiful and to be found beautiful is not simply a sinful quest of vanity, but a God-instilled hunger for what we cannot see? Thankfully, Scripture communicates that God is not as caught up in physical beauty as you and I.
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Proverbs 31:30
In Proverbs 31:30 the yearning is acknowledged—but redirected. Seeking the LORD is the greater pursuit. But if we look more closely at the benefits of that seeking—beauty does come.
Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed. Psalm 34:5
In Psalms 34:5, we find the person who is willing to humble herself, to look up to God for help, in her difficult situations, and impossible circumstances, in faith—to be radiant. The Hebrew word for radiance means to “beam with joy.” In Aramaic, the word gives a sense of “shining.” We see this concept a little more clearly in Isaiah 60:5 because it uses the word similarly.
Then you shall see and be radiant; your heart shall thrill and exult, because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you, the wealth of the nations shall come to you. Isaiah 60:5
What we find described in these instances is that the outward appearance begins to tell of an inward condition. These verses suggest that living a life pursuing Christ is worth more than any amount of beauty or accolades one could receive for possessing it on this earth. That knowledge, alone, is enough to encourage us to pursue Christ relentlessly. But these Scriptures also suggest a brightness, a lightness, a shining, and an in-containable beaming of joy that come to the pursuer, making her radiant. You and I can literally become more and more radiant with every new wrinkle, brown spot, and grey hair.
That kind of beauty is worth more than anything this world can offer.