I believe every woman has a natural desire to be beautiful; a desire to be found attractive and pleasing to others. But what is beautiful? What makes someone truly beautiful? In order to know this we must turn to the book of ultimate standards, God’s word. We, as Christian women, can use no other source as our guide and measuring stick in this or any other area of our lives.
The Bible is full of wisdom, but does it really speak specifically to the physical beauty of women? Our loving God knows what concerns us and does not leave us to wonder how to live. I have not found a topic yet that is not covered in God’s word. So, yes there are scriptures that speak to this topic and quite directly.
Last week I discussed modesty and how we need to be aware of how we dress so that we are not selfishly trying to steal attention and glory away from God. Knowing that we need to be modest in our dress leads to questions of whether it is okay to beautify ourselves and should we work at being beautiful? Let’s revisit our scripture:
“Likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works.” - Timothy 2:9-10
Notice the words “women should adorn themselves”. It is certainly okay for women to adorn (to add to or enhance) themselves, but what they adorn themselves with is of utmost importance. This should not be with excessive hairstyling, jewelry or pricy clothing, but with good works. How do you put on good works?
Adornment is a verb, a word of action. Our faith is made known by what we do and how we live (see James 2:18, Matt. 7:20). You put on good works by doing good works; by spending yourself on what pleases God and blesses others in his name. When our lives produce fruit in keeping with the Spirit within us, those around us are able to witness an outward demonstration of internal beauty.
Adorning yourself with good works makes perfect sense. What is absolute, perfect beauty? God. God in perfect bodily form is Jesus Christ (Col. 1:19). Only when we have Jesus within us can we be beautiful; only when others see Christ evident and manifested in our lives can we be seen as beautiful. This needs to become your new definition of what human beauty is. Christ living within you and shining through you.
Peter apparently agreed with Paul. When speaking to women in 1 Peter 3:4 he says, “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.”
Who is this “hidden person of the heart”? This is your true self; the heart of who you are that has been redeemed and washed clean by the Savior. We are made into something new and beautiful when Christ chooses us to be his (Col. 3:12).
A “gentle and quiet spirit” comes from fully trusting in a God that is unmovable and unchanging, forever perfect and loving. A woman with a gentle and quiet spirit does not get ruffled or anxious because there is no fear of what is to come or what has been. This is a woman who has given herself completely over to the will of God and walks confidently in his grasp. She is kind, peaceful and even tempered. This is a beautiful woman and she is precious in the sight of God. There is no better prize than to be precious to God.
A beautiful woman entrusts herself to the Lord and not the world, God alone provides her unwavering standards. Worldly beauty will never satisfy; it is too temporary and fleeting. Godly beauty gets more profound, improves with time and it is promised to be “imperishable”!
So yes, Ladies, I enCOURAGE you to work at being beautiful to the best of your abilities. Understand God’s perfect plan to conform you to the likeness of his son. Only then can we experience true beauty as we reflect his.
We are to keep our eyes trained on the pure beauty of Jesus Christ and not on our own physical vanity. We need to delight and be fully satisfied “to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord,” - Psalms 27:4.