Dangerous Beauty

The photo accompanying this blog is an original. As I was recently tending our garden, I saw this spider guarding our crops (its web was pretty full of victims). I was amazed at the colors and the physical form of this spider—of its beauty. I almost wanted to touch it, but then realized I had no idea what was beneath that beauty—it could be poisonous—even at best it would defend itself and give a nasty bite! I decided to admire the beauty of this creature from afar and thank it for its work in the garden.

This scene made me think about the dangerous beauty we face is our lives and the more I thought about it, the more scenarios I came up with. Let me share a few:

– How many failed relationships are based on physical attraction alone?
– How many financial distresses are the result of us just having to have that dream house beyond our means?
– How many careers have been ruined because the only motivation was the paycheck?
– How many arguments have been caused just because we wanted that shiny new thing?
– How many goals have not been met because we took the appealing shortcut?
– How many health issues are the result of us choosing those things that are not good for us, but give temporary pleasure?
– How many dreams have been shattered because we listened to someone with nefarious motives who made it look good?
– How many times have we rejected God’s plan for us, because something else looks better?

God created many beautiful things in the universe. Indeed, people have to capacity to create beautiful things—I often marvel at the artistic ability of some people, the creative genius of a gifted architect, and the harmonious splendor that a skilled musician can produce. But I have also seen artwork that is hateful to a certain group of people, structures designed unsafely, and have heard music that glorifies evil. Even we can create things that are dangerously beautiful.

1 Peter 3:3-4 states, “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quite spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” While Peter was specifically addressing wives in this passage, the message applies to all of us. When our focus is on external beauty, how we look, it can become dangerous because it can easily lead to greed, vanity, and misdirected focus. God cares about our inner beauty, that of a “gentle and quite spirit” because there is nothing dangerous about that kind of beauty.

Incidentally, this morning as I watered the tomato plants, I noticed our spider had a grasshopper in its clutches—it was dangerously beautiful!

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