Be Beautiful (Psalm 139)

By Not Known

Some countries believe that a beautiful face opens up opportunities for a better future so their citizens invest in plastic surgeries. We can change our outward appearances but how do we improve our inner beauty?
The Daily Examen is a technique of prayerful reflection on the events of the day in order to detect God’s presence and discern His direction for us, making us become more Christ-like. David Benner, in his book Sacred Companions, describes doing an examen as entering into a dialogue with Jesus – thanking God for His presence and asking God for His help to see the day with His eyes.
The discipline of examen can be divided into two parts: the Examen of Consciousness and the Examen of Conscience.  Most Christians are familiar with the Examen of Conscience in which we identify and confess our sins and then ask God for forgiveness.  Having tainted his reputation as an adulterer and murderer, King David wrote a lot of examen of conscience prayers.  
Examen of Consciousness is being constantly aware of God’s presence and exercising our faith in connection to God.  Although this practice was developed by Ignatius of Loyola (1491–1556), this discipline is also evident in Psalm 139. Here David showed his understanding of the examen of consciousness as he listed God’s character and why God is the only One who can help him. First, God is omniscient (vv1-6).  Knowing God knows everything, gives David no room for pretense, only humility. Second, God is omnipresent (vv7-12).  David tries to hide from God but could not; yet at the same time, he finds comfort in knowing that God is everywhere.  Third, David acknowledges God as his Creator. From the time he was conceived to everything that has happened, God has approved of them (vv13-18). Finally, the psalm concluded with David’s prayer for holy living (vv19-24, examen of conscience).
Just like David, we can benefit from the daily discipline of reflection as we become sensitive of our relationship with God and others.  Let us be confident and joyful for God is with us all the time (Phil 4).  When faced with difficult situations, let us remember that God allowed everything to happen (Rom 8).  When others put you down, remember that you are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139).  When situations test your character, let us be careful of our words and actions lest we dishonour the name of our God (Rom 2:24). May the Spirit continues to help us to become more like Christ!
So what do we do about our face?  Don’t worry, “A person’s wisdom brightens their face and changes its hard appearance (Ecc 8:1).”  Let us be beautiful – inside out.


Agnes Tan