Monday, April 29, 2013

Letter to A Young Friend #2

"Pretty is as pretty does..." : )

My Dear Young Friend,

I ponder the things we talked about last time, and numerous thoughts come to mind. 

Let us unpack the statement, "You just want to be pretty."

"You want..."  

"I want..."

Do those words raise a red flag in your mind? 

What is the essence of the life Jesus lived? He wanted the will of the Father more than anything else. Life was not about doing what He wanted. 

Anytime I find myself wanting something, I must ask, "Is this the way You want me to think, Father? Is this what You want for me?" 

Is being "pretty" the pattern of self-conception I should pursue? Who is defining pretty for me anyway? 

If I decide to pursue being "pretty," could this path lead me to compare myself to others? Could it lead me to rivalry and jealousy? How will I be inclined to feel about the "prettiness" of those who are older than I? How will I feel about myself as I am swept relentlessly in the same direction?

Is being "pretty" a justifiable basis for value in the life of a Christian? Do I want to be used of God? What influence might I have on others if I jump on the bandwagon of rushing to compete in the mad dash to achieve a high level of attractiveness? And what level will be high enough? Do I want the mind of Christ? If my mind becomes possessed by a consciousness of how I look and where I stand on the scale of what is considered "pretty," will I be able to honestly say I have the mind of Christ? Will such a pursuit likely lead me to selflessness and preoccupation with the welfare of others?

My friend, the forces you feel are real. As long as you are in a human body, you will feel them. But can you justify before God yielding to group-think, peer pressure, fantasy, celebrity, fan mentality, all natural forces of the flesh? 

Paul tells us many things about being in bodies of flesh. It is easy to be confused about what the "flesh" is. The NIV even translates "flesh" as "sinful nature." This is not an accurate translation and is misleading. The flesh is not inherently evil. It is independent and must be brought into submission. As Christians, we still feel urges and desires. Our eyes can be attracted by the bright, the comely, the symmetrical. However, we are responsible for how we respond to the urges, the desires, the attractions. My dear young friend, you and I have a choice to make. What will we do with this natural desire to be "pretty"?