Thursday, October 16, 2008

Meditate Upon What is Lovely

(As a follow up exercise to a talk I gave at Meadowbrook on October 12, this is Part 5 of 7 meditations.)

In Philippians 4:8 the Apostle Paul gave us some practical coaching about how to live well. Paul told us to focus upon or meditate upon various facets of life. These points of focus are related or connected.

Therefore, today’s meditation, “think about what is lovely”, is connected to whatever is true, honorable, just and pure. Our world has its own definition of what is lovely or beautiful. A Christ-follower focus is not on the results of thin physiques, smooth skin and shapely curves. Rather, our view of lovely moves past the superficial.

Therefore a lovely woman or man is one who is also just and pure. A lovely leader would also be honorable. A lovely idea or proposal is also true.

Perhaps “lovely” requires more meditation than any of the other qualities on our list because there are so many antitheses to biblical loveliness. Of course the embodiment of loveliness is Jesus.

Yet notice the description of the Christ when the prophet Isaiah foresaw Him:

He (the Messiah or Christ) grew up before him (God the Father) like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no form or majesty that we should look at Him,
and no beauty that we should desire Him.
He was despised and rejected by men;
A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief,
and as One from whom men hide their faces,
He was despised and we esteemed Him not.
Isaiah 53:2-3

Jesus was the true, honorable, just, pure and lovely One and yet He was hated, despised, rejected and killed. Let there be no more denial that we are a sick and perverse people when we stare beauty in the face and we call Him grotesque.

As you reflect on the beauty of Christ today, recall scenes from the gospels in your mind. Watch Jesus embrace children that others are shoving aside. See Him touch and bless lepers, reach out to harlots and forgive His tormentors and executioners.

May we become lovely.

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