Previously, I discussed how I believe that one of the greatest currencies in our world is physical beauty. When I say beauty “I am talking about all of the physical aspects of a person – Weight, Height, Skin Tone, Complexion, Physique, Athleticism and even Vocal Tone. All of these things combine in different amounts to make someone externally attractive based on the world’s current thoughts about what is the best.”
With my tongue firmly planted in my cheek I then coined the phrase “Beauty Privilege” to describe these inherent privileges. Well, guess what, I was beaten to the punch by a bunch of others. Seems like my sarcastic stream of consciousness guided by the Holy Spirit has already been expressed many times. I’m not going to go deep on their work here, but Smithsonian Magazine published an article in 2012 discussing a study and professorial work that provides some concrete evidence for my theory:
– A handsome man is poised to make 13 percent more during his career than a “looks-challenged” peer.
– Homely quarterbacks earn 12 percent less than their easy-on-the-eyes rivals.
– “Hot” economics professors earn 6 percent more than members of their departments who fail to garner accolades along these lines.
– “How Much is Being Attractive Worth?”, Smithsonian Magazine, November 2012
Frankly, I find the professors’ numbers to be a little lackluster – I believe the positive impact on worldly measures like money and fame is quite a bit larger when all of the aspects I mentioned above are taken into consideration. This Beauty Privilege along with a lot of very hard work can drive huge worldly success. While this is not typically thought of as a bad thing, pride can develop because of our privilege and our success. Pride is insidious and it causes us to begin to think way more of ourselves than we should. If we get into this pride cycle, we tend to start comparing ourselves against others and it quickly turns into more pride and a real spirit problem. Once our spirit has marinated in pride, it can become a very serious issue with forever ramifications. As Solomon said:
Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.
– Proverbs 16:18
Let’s look at a very familiar example. God’s most infamous Angel, Satan, was created as “the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty”. Ezekiel 28:11-19 chronicles his physical description and life – even into the future when he will be destroyed. What caused such a perfect creation to head in this very bad direction?
17 Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. So I threw you to the earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings.
– Ezekiel 28:17
Now, I am not saying that we might become even a little like Satan, but the point is, he had it all and lost it because he let pride “corrupt his wisdom”. Satan let pride enter and he developed a snobby and contemptuous spirit. The Bible documents what happened next in Isaiah 14 in verses 12 through 15. Satan’s prideful spirit began to make him believe that he could do the unthinkable – replace God.
13 You said in your heart, “I will ascend to the heavens; I will raise my throne above the stars of God;”
– Isaiah 14:13a
Well, I don’t need to tell you all how the story with Satan ends. Most of us have probably experienced a pride issue, but most of us don’t let it get so bad as to think we can replace God. Right? Well maybe not physically, but we do sometime let our pride replace God in parts of our life.
“God, I am so thankful that you have been there for me for certain things, but I’ve got these other things completely covered and don’t want you involved in them.”
-Me and Most Everyone Else
The simple fact is that our inherent privileges, our hard work and our successes can be a major disadvantage, especially if we want to be a Christian and become more like Jesus. He wants us to give all of our life to Him, not just some things.
Are you holding on to certain things that you believe you have covered? Are you refusing to let God get involved in all aspects of your life? Are you afraid about what might happen if you choose NOT to replace God in some things? Have you thought about where that choice might lead?
Jesus discussed this countless times during his ministry. Paul wrote about living “Life in the Spirit” extensively in his letters. Finally, Solomon knew about the problem and not only provided the previous warning, but he provided really great advice on what to do about it.
10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
– John 10:10
1 So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.
– Romans 8:1
19 Better to be lowly in spirit along with the oppressed than to share plunder with the proud.
– Proverbs 16:19