bits from bob....

You Are Responsible for Your Face!

by Robert J. Young
©, 2002, Robert J. Young
[permission is given to reprint with credit noted]

Holly Brubach, author of a history of plastic surgery wrote, "I myself subscribe to the notion that by the time you're 50, you have the face you deserve." Charlie Hodge frequently noted, "You are responsible for your face if you are over 50!" A favorite hymn prays, "Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me...." Brubach continued, "After five decades of repetitive scowling or laughter or worry, one's attitude toward life is etched on one's face." Indeed, our faces identify us in more ways than we would like to admit.

Several times the Bible mentions the mirroring effect of the word of God. For example, James 1:22-25 describes a man looking in the mirror of God's word, but immediately forgetting what he looks like. Paul, in 1 Cor. 13:12 speaks of the current world and its experiences as a dark mirror in comparison to what we shall one day see "face to face."

One of the more intriguing explanations of this concept is in 2 Corinthians 3 in a reference to Moses' visits with the Lord (Exodus 34). For a number of years I misunderstood these verses. In the context, when Moses came down from meeting with God, his face was so bright that the children of Israel could not look at him continually. I thought that the covering was put on Moses' face to shelter the Israelites from that brightness. Later, a closer reading of the text suggested to me that the reason was to keep the children of Israel from gazing on Moses while the radiance was dissipating.

At least two lessons quickly come to mind. First, for us as for Moses, time spent with God affects our appearance. In 2 Cor. 3, the fading glory of Moses' face is compared with the even greater glory of a relationship with God through Christ, a glory that does not fade. Second, time with God has to be continually renewed to retain its effect. While the glory of Christ does not fade, we require continually transformation through the Holy Spirit who lives in us. Thus we become more and more like Jesus.

Where is the perfect face? Perhaps it's not on the model on the cover of the most recent magazine. Perhaps it's on the face of that Christian whose furrows and frowns have been softened by the inner peace of God, thus allowing the beauty of Jesus to shine through.

Remember, if you're over 50, you're responsible for your face. And if you're under 50, remember that you are forming your "over 50" face right now.

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Last updated June 3, 2002.