Picture This – Beauty

By Tara Shingle

What is our concept, our picture, of our body? Is it beautiful, ugly, out of shape, just okay? A guest writer, Tara Shingle, has found three references to the word "picture" in the Bible. These references can help change the way we view our bodies, ourselves. They can help us clear out old, unhealthy, and degrading pictures of ourselves and replace them with new, uplifting, and healthy views of our bodies and our appearance. Here is how she has worked with these passages.

Some people might say, "What good will a healthy view do me if I'm still fat?" But when there is a need for physical change, these healthy views make it a lot easier.

1. And the Lord spake unto Moses in the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye are passed over Jordan into the land of Canaan; Then ye shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, and destroy all their pictures, and destroy all their molten images, and quite pluck down all their high places: And ye shall dispossess the inhabitants of the land, and dwell therein: for I have given you the land to possess it. (Num. 33:50-53)

To understand the lessons in the Bible, lots of times we have to think of things as symbols. We're like Moses because we want to get to a new land, only the "land" is a state of mind. We want to get to that state of mind where we are conscious of our own beauty. But before Moses could inhabit the land, he had to clear it out. A picture of ourselves as anything less than beautiful does not come from God and has to be erased from our thoughts. We all have the God-given dominion to drive out such pictures, just as Moses did!

2. A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver. As an earring of gold, and an ornament of fine gold, so is a wise reprover upon an obedient ear. (Prov. 25:11-12)

The right word at the right time
     is like a custom-made piece of jewelry,
And a wise friend's timely reprimand
     is like a gold ring slipped on your finger.
    (The Message Prov. 25:11-12)

What is a "wise reprover"? It could be our conscience; it could be good advice from an adult friend. I think it means anything that represents the voice for good in our thoughts. We can be the "obedient ear," learning to recognize and trust God's voice. And when it's our turn to be the "wise reprover," helping a friend or little brother or sister, we can listen to God for the healing words that will stand up for truth and love in any situation.

3. For the day of the Lord of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low: And upon all the ships of Tarshish, and upon all pleasant pictures. And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day. And the idols he shall utterly abolish. (Isa. 2:12, 16-18)

To me, this is a loving warning not to place our hopes where there isn't any real opportunity - on earthly goods. I can testify to the rewards that come from striving to glorify God, instead of myself. God is the source of our strength, beauty, health, and happiness. He supplies us with these things because He loves us. Nothing changes God's love for us one bit or gets us any more or less of those blessings, even if we happen to be a supermodel. So when we use our lives to glorify God, we bring out the truth of our own spiritual beauty, the way God made us. Let's make sure that we aren't praying to make our body a "pleasant picture." We have to be careful what we pray for. We don't need to be part of "the loftiness of man." Instead, we can pray a prayer of gratitude, trusting God as the only power, knowing that He makes the complete and beautiful truth of our being clearly visible.

How important it is to be aware of our mental pictures and make sure those pictures are the ones God made! Everyone is beautiful. Beauty is a reflection of a healthy self-image that puts love for God first. I'm very grateful for the gentle hand of the Bible, leading us to the ideas we need to recognize our true form - the picture of ourselves that God has drawn.