We live in a culture today that is obsessed with beauty. You can't check out at a grocery store without being bombarded by magazines with sexual images and young girls dressed provocatively. The image of beauty we see on television and in magazines isn't even attainable unless you have a portable airbrush mechanism to take with you everywhere. Why is it that women aren't content with how they are created? How they normally look? What makes us think that physical beauty will bring more satisfaction?
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
Let me first share a godly woman may have charm and beauty, but those qualities are secondary to her godliness. Having a fear of the Lord, we will have a reverence and humility before God. Our hearts will desire to seek His Word to find wisdom and knowledge of what is good and acceptable. The knowledge we need to be seeking is who we are in Christ and what is God's view of beauty.
but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious.
1 Peter 3:4
This reference to a meek and quiet spirit does not mean we never speak. You can have an outgoing personality and have a meek and quiet spirit. You can be a quiet person and not have a meek and quiet spirit. It is not a personality type, but it is describing the spirit of a woman who trusts in God. Regardless of her circumstances, her hope is in Christ and Christ alone. It is how we respond when there are trials and difficulties in our lives. We all know women in our lives who trust fully in the Lord regardless of their circumstances, and we see how this beauty never fades. It will impact all those she comes in contact with.
To see if we are cultivating true inner beauty or the false view of beauty from the culture take this ten question quiz from Girl Talk by Carolyn Mahaney & Nicole Mahaney Whitacre (pages 134-135). It is a great quiz for moms and daughters to take together:
1. Do I spend more time each day caring for my personal appearance than I do in Bible study, prayer and worship?
2. Do I spend excessive money on clothes, hair, and makeup, or is it an amount that is God honoring?
3. Do I want to lose weight to “feel better about myself,” or do I desire to be self-disciplined for the glory of God?
4. Am I on a quest for thinness to impress others, or do I seek to cultivate eating habits that honor God?
5. Do I exercise to try to create or maintain a good figure, or do I exercise to strengthen my body for God's service?
6. Is there anything about my appearance that I wish I could change, or am I grateful to God for the way He created me?
7. Am I jealous of the appearance of other girls, or am I truly glad when I observe girls who are more physically attractive than I?
8. Do I covet the wardrobe of others, or do I genuinely rejoice when other girls are able to afford and purchase new clothing?
9. When I attend an activity, do I sinfully compare myself with others, or do I ask God to show me whom to love and how to do it?
10. Do I ever dress immodestly or with the intent of drawing attention to myself, or do I always dress in a manner that pleases God?
~Excerpt from Girl Talk
How did you do? Carolyn shared that if most of your answers were yes to the first half of the quiz, you have probably been sinfully striving after physical beauty for attention.
At 52 years old I still sadly struggle with this. May we recognize our areas of weakness and confess them to the Lord. Ask Him to help us cultivate true beauty and give thanks for creating us in His image. God has determined what we will look like and we need to be grateful to him for our appearance. The beauty our culture esteems is fleeting. We will grow old, and our outward beauty will fade, but God's inward beauty never fades. It grows more beautiful with each passing day that we learn to rely upon and trust in Him more and more.
May we be women of the Word who cultivate true inner beauty so our lives will have a lasting effect on all those we come in contact with. May we worship the Lord and give Him thanks for how He created us.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.
True Beauty by Carolyn Mahaney
Girl Talk by Carolyn Mahaney
*This post What is True Beauty? first appeared on Raising Homemakers