“Make me Thy temple; silently upbuild Within my heart thy holy dwelling-place, And let its deep recesses all be filled With the rich overflowings of Thy grace; My being’s chords and discords all are stilled, Waiting the revelation of Thy face.”
The ideal life is one that is beautiful both inside and out. In the description of the King’s daughter, the Bible says that she is “all glorious within: her clothing is of wrought gold.” The splendor of her spirit within is matched by her outer raiment.
One day, a number of years ago, a thoughtful girl was reading in an old book. It was time-worn, but on its pages were golden words which enshrined the wisdom of an ancient age. As the girl read, her eyes lingered on one rare sentence, which seemed to have a special message for her that day. As she pondered it, it took fast hold of her thought until she began to breathe it as her own. It was a prayer: “God, make me beautiful within.”
It was the beginning of a new life for the earnest-spirited girl. God had found her and touched her heart. She was hearing a voice which called her to an experience something that she had not known before. This ancient prayer was the angel of God, sent to lead her to a live a life of blessing to the world – the likes of which, few persons have attained.
“In that lone prairie home there came God’s voice that called her by her name; And her whole nature made reply, In swift obedience, “Here am I.” She made this prayer through toil and strife The inspiration of her life.”
“God, make me beautiful within.” All true beauty must begin inside us. The heart must be pure if the life is to be pure. Unholy thoughts and desires within soon work their way outward, and they blot and stain the whole life. But a heart that is white and unspotted makes all the life clean.
Nothing is done well which is not done with the heart. A legend relates that in the later days of Greek art, a prize was offered to the person who could make the best statue of one of the many idols of Greece. Among those who competed for the prize was a country boy who greatly loved this god; he believed in him, and he was ardently devoted to him. As an artist, he lacked the fine skill of many of those who competed; and his work, when it was finished, was crude and without the elements of beauty necessary for it to win the first place in the contest. But the god, according to the legend – seeing the love that was in the boy’s heart, and how loyally and devotedly he had made his statue – entered into the stone; and by the power of his own life within it, he transformed the rudely carved statue into a form of surpassing beauty and grace.
Of course, that is only a made-up heathen legend; but it illustrates the power of love, which puts a mysterious charm into even commonplace work. What we do with love in our hearts – even though it may not be according to the rules of fine art – has a beauty in it which even the most artistic work, done without love, does not possess! And then, when love has done its best, the Master comes and enters into the poor and imperfect effort; and He transfigures it into a thing of exquisite beauty.
We all know that love is the essential quality in our human relationships. The gifts which the heart prompts may be poor and valueless in themselves; but to us, they are sacred because of the holy sentiments which they represent. And it is the same way with God. He wants our hearts! “Not yours, but you” – that is His claim upon us. He does cares one bit for a person’s gifts, if they are not gifts of love.
Have you prayed to God to make you beautiful on the inside, and to make your heart full of purity and love? Why not take a moment to do so right now?
Please don’t hesitate to share your thoughts on this post! Feel free to leave your reflections and ask your questions in the Comments section below.
God bless you and your family, this day and always.
All for the King’s glory,
photo © Celwell | Megapixl.com
This post is another installment of Miller’s Monday Musings, a weekly series that is published every Monday on our website. The series features selected writings that have been adapted from the works of James Russell Miller (1840-1912), a much-beloved Christian author and pastor who is well-remembered for his practical thoughts on Christian home and family life. Learn more about this weekly series by clicking here.