“Then your fame went forth among the nations on account of your beauty, for it was perfect because of My splendor which I bestowed on you,” declares the Lord God. “But you trusted in your beauty and played the harlot because of your fame, and you poured out your harlotries on every passer-by who might be willing.Ezekiel 16:14–15
Do you remember when you were a teenager, and you checked your hair twenty times in the mirror? You might even still do that now. It can make you miserable, right? You always wonder what people think, have to fit in, and maybe even be someone you aren’t. This happens when you trust in your own beauty.
I remember those days, and no one should have to experience those anxieties, but we unfortunately live in a world where there are expectations for people to meet certain unnecessary standards. Women of every age feel forced into wearing makeup, and people expect men to cut their hair a certain way. My friends make fun of me for wearing cargo shorts, but that’s an article for a different time (Lol!).
Anyway, righteousness is the same way. When we trust in our own righteousness, we feel exposed. We feel like all eyes are on us. We become self-conscious. All of this leads us to passing judgement on others in order to hide our own shortcomings. Because when we trust in our own beauty/ righteousness and forget God’s righteousness, we ultimately fail, and we must scapegoat others in order to preserve ourselves. This starts a cycle of competition, judging, lost friendships, and poor self-image.
In conversations with others, this causes projection, which is accusing others of your own faults and flaws. Have you ever watched a friend, religious-to-a-fault person, or public figure accuse others of doing things they are guilty of?
How many preachers hyper-focus on sexual sins only to get caught doing those very things? Have you ever heard a preacher talk about alcohol all the time only to find out he is an alcoholic? Or you may have a friend who always thinks people are talking about them because they talk about everyone else.
This naturally comes from trusting in our beauty/ righteousness.
Paul had to learn to give up a life of trusting in his beauty in order to follow Christ.
AIf anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more: circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless. But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ.Philippians 3:4–7
Paul said in the next verses that his righteousness was not his own, but he had righteousness which comes from God based on faith. (Philippians 3:9). God sent Judah into captivity for trusting in their beauty, and they only returned when they put their faith in God.
O my God, incline Your ear and hear! Open Your eyes and see our desolations and the city which is called by Your name; for we are not presenting our supplications before You on account of any merits of our own, but on account of Your great compassion.Daniel 9:18
Imputed righteousness does not exempt one from a need to abstain from sin, but until we learn to put our faith in the beauty God gives us, we will live a life of anxiety, fear, and self-hatred, and these things always lead to judging unrighteously and even violence.
When we cast all of our burdens on God and trust in His compassion, we have liberty. This is not liberty to sin, but liberty to accept ourselves, be patient with ourselves when we occasionally slip up, and be patient with others.
What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be! Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?Romans 6:15–16
Stop trusting in your own beauty/ righteousness and start trusting in the beauty given to you by God through faith.