What is good and acceptable and perfect?
I often find myself pondering God's concepts of beauty as I cross paths with creation's more curious entries. Take for example this tie-dye flower! Sometimes I don't know what to think of such things - do these designs signify something that can't make up its mind or has gone wrong somewhere in the development process? Or does it point to creative independence or a free spirit?
Sometimes in weighing such options I ask myself, what does it matter? Is not beauty in the eye of the beholder?
I ponder that as well, for one eye may see things the other does not. This sometimes instills caution in me, especially when someone tries to win me over to their concept of beauty, or their ideas of right and wrong.
Such thoughts take me to scripture, such as Romans 12:2 - "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect."
Paul put this another way in 1st Timothy 1:7 - "For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control."
Does that mean we should not be cautious? No, for as Proverbs 4:23 reminds us, "Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life." But this line of reasoning does suggest we should not overthink things, for as Ecclesiastes 3:11 reminds us, "He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart, yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end."
This outlines what targets our inquisitive thoughts should pursue, as Colossians 3:2 reminds us: "Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth." And that takes me back to this tie-dye flower, which is simply another reflection of God's dynamic and diverse creation. It is a thing of the earth, true, but also one from above.
In these days of insecurities and animosities, pandemics and hysterics, you may need a helping hand to focus your thoughts on patience, kindness, forgiveness, and love... in short, Christ. Flowers like these often aid me this way. As Paul wrote in his letter to the Philippians, chapter 4, verse 8: "Brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things."