Monday, June 5, 2017

True Virtue: Beauty

Beauty is a popular subject in our culture. Our top magazines vote on the most beautiful people, our pageants feature the most beautiful, poised women, companies market products to prolong youthful beauty. It’s like living with Snow White’s step mother, where vanity is rampant and beauty is only skin deep. Does true beauty consist of more than one’s face? Is physical appearance even an aspect of real beauty?

Proverbs 31:30 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain,
But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.

Written by the wisest man in the world this verse from Proverbs shows beauty in its true light. (Physical) beauty is vain because it does not last. Like a flower, our physical appearance blossoms and fades in the blink of an eye. It really doesn’t last long enough to be of any real value. What really matters, more than a woman’s face, is her heart. A woman who earnestly seeks the Lord with all her heart, who seeks to be like Him, though she is plain, will be infinitely more pleasant and beautiful than a super model who is rude and vulgar.

1 Samuel 16:7 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”


The same applies to men as well, God is more concerned with a person’s character than their physical appearance because He knows that a person’s heart is who and what they truly are, but their physique is meaningless. God is our eternal judge, and since He isn’t swayed by appearance, we shouldn’t be either.


1 Peter 3:3-4 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.

A gracious, humble heart is significantly more attractive than jewelry, fancy dresses or elaborate hairdos. This does not mean that we shouldn’t wear jewelry, nice clothes or do our hair, but those things should not be our goal or identity. We need to value beauty as God does and place more importance on our character than our appearance.

I have to admit, that I am probably as vain as the next woman, not because I am incredibly attractive but I have the plight of Anne of Green Gables who was vain because she wished she were not plain, scrawny and freckled. Vanity is not only for those who are divinely beautiful; it can plague any who value appearance too highly.

As much as I dislike my physical appearance, though, I rarely wear makeup. What bothers me about makeup (more than clothing or jewelry) is that it seems to cover up what we are really like. Of course there are varying degrees of makeup usage, but in general, the purpose of makeup is to make one’s face more attractive. But doesn’t that mean that God made a mistake? If you have to change or improve what He made doesn’t that say that He didn’t make you pretty enough?

Psalm 139 talks about how God made each of us, individually, and planned how we would be before we were born. Ecclesiastes 3:1 says that God has made everything beautiful in its time. If we are the way that God made us, and God makes everything beautiful and never makes a mistake, then why do we need makeup? The next time you go to put on makeup ask why you need it? Is it because you think you’re not good enough without it? Because you think others won’t accept you plain? Because you are not pretty? I know some will say (have said), “That’s easy for you to say, you have such even skin” or “But you don’t know what it’s like to be overweight” or “You don’t have ugly hair.” But the truth is that shouldn’t matter. The reason we feel that way is because we have believed the lies the world has told us about beauty. I was told in school that I was too ugly to date, I was told my whole life that I needed to change my hair and lose weight (even though I’m thin). We may not look alike but I share the same struggles with appearance. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But if we view beauty, if we view ourselves, as God does, none of that matters.

Whose eye are you using to gauge your attractiveness? Do you believe what God says? Do you believe that He accepts you as you are and that what He has made cannot be improved? Do you believe that God has made you beautiful, as you are, without makeup or anything else?

Stop comparing, stop complaining. Seek true beauty. Seek to have a heart that fears God, that is gracious, humble and kind. Seek God’s praise above the world’s.

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