"Man does not see what the Lord sees, for man sees what is visible, but the Lord sees the heart." (1 Samuel 16:7)
Pride is a killer. It takes no prisoners. It infects and destroys all in its path. It was the first of all sins... and began in Heaven of all places. Lucifer, who we now call Satan was once a beautiful angel... the most beautiful. But he allowed pride to enter and set up shop in his heart. He then revolted against God and took a third of the angels with him, eventually populating the realm of darkness and attacking the human race. All because of pride.
Pride is exaggerated self-esteem. It is born when we consider ourselves the source of that which is entirely a gift of God. There are several areas in our lives where pride can find a foothold. One of those areas is in how we look. We can call this "Pride of Face".
We live in a very visually focused culture. What we see is extremely powerful. The judgments we make based on visual perception are very strong. This means how we present ourselves consumes us. We have placed a premium on looks, beauty, attractiveness, and sexiness. There are entire industries that exist only to feed this pursuit of beauty.
It would be an understatement to say that many find their personal value in their looks. There are some people who are naturally gorgeous. There are others who. with a little help from the makeup kit can appear gorgeous. Regardless of how the beauty comes, it is a snare. Some people think their physical beauty makes them more appealing as a human being. They even think attractiveness makes them better than other people. They have "Pride of Face".
While everyone plays a role in this human phenomenon, the "Pride of Face" monster tends to find a place more in women than in men. I think most would agree that women are basically more attractive than men. God did good in that way. But with that God-gifted grace comes pressure. And the enemy knows this about us. So the Devil attacks people with natural attractiveness.
Generally the fashion and beauty industry searches for certain looks. They highlight these in their marketing. These faces... these looks then become popular, and even idolized by the culture. Some people will go to great lengths, including extreme surgeries to gain 'the look'. All of this is to reach a greater level of appreciation for ourselves as well as impress those around us. While beauty is from God, the idea that one is better because they are more beautiful is not of God.
"Pride of Face" is a very difficult thing to combat because it is always... well... in our face. It also carries deep pathologies for those who have it... as well as those who desire it. There is a great push to find our value in our looks. There is a great pressure to value people for their looks. We have to defeat this. It is dangerous and unholy. Ironically, with pride comes both arrogance, and depression.
There is no safe place in the human life for "Pride of Face." This is especially true in the life of a Christian. If you are naturally beautiful in the realm of physical looks, be glad and feel blessed. Enjoy it. But do not use it as a way to exalt yourself. Do not look down on others who do not have the same blessing. Do not be ashamed of beauty. Use it for good. But do not let it become a stronghold for the enemy. Remember, the most beautiful model is only one tragic accident away from being grossly disfigured.
We can appreciate physical attractiveness. It is a gift from God. But we would also do well to remember that it can be, but should not be a source of pride in our lives. As with any natural thing, it can overshadow spiritual reality, and it has a shelf life. Physical beauty is both temporal and tempting. Or as the wise mentor said, "Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the LORD will be praised." (Proverbs 31:30)
Don't feel bad because your are a natural knock-out. But don't let your natural beauty knock you out of God's place for you. Remain humble. Monitor your attention towards those things that appeal to "Pride of Face." How much time, talent, and treasure do you spend to achieve a look? How do you respond to people who are not naturally beautiful?
Tomorrow we look at the "Pride of Lace".