Wednesday, March 30, 2011

True Beauty

True Beauty 
Posted by Lisa, March 21, 2011

Every girl has a desire to be beautiful.  They want to look pretty, be thought of as pretty, and feel pretty.  What girl doesn’t like dressing up in beautiful gowns and fancy hair styles?  But how do we, as ladies, really go about making ourselves beautiful? 

Most girls in our day and age accomplish it quite simply.  They paint themselves past recognition in makeup, wear provocative, revealing, and tight clothing, and act boisterously to gain attention.  Their level of “beauty” is often measured by how many girls look to her as the cutest leader or by how many guys think of her as “cute” and “sexy” and have crushes on her.  As they come into this world of “beauty,” she continues her acts of gaining attention in a revealing and impure way.  She dates around, treating each guy as she would a new pair of cute shoes: she tries them on for a day or two, wears them around for a week or so, and then tosses them without a care into the back of the closet where she never really thinks of them again.  But is this true beauty?

Of course not.  In Louisa May Alcott’s book, The Old Fashioned Girl, we see the rich girls with fancy dresses who have many “friends.”  Yet Polly, an old fashioned girl who dresses simply and works hard with her hands, is snubbed.  Why is this?  It is simply because she is not “fashionable,” she works hard enough that her hands become rough and chafed, and she does not flirt like the other silly girls.  Although fashions have changed since that time, the standards are essentially the same.  The fashionable, superficial girls are the ones who gain the most attention yet they bloom before their time and wither even earlier.  Yet the hard-working, quiet, and simple girl remains hidden behind the scenes.  In the end she blooms in the proper time and become a beautiful rose which thrives.  But how do these girls accomplish this lasting, thriving beauty?

 True beauty is not superficial.  It is a deep, radiating purity from within.  There are several things which make a woman beautiful.  We know that our Lord and Savior is looking at much more than our outer beauty, but sees deep into the heart (1 Samuel 16:7).  Proverbs 11:22 also demonstrates this aspect by stating, “As a ring of gold in a swine’s snout, so is a lovely woman who lacks discretion.”  A woman with merely outward beauty lacks the most important aspect of beauty – inward beauty of the heart demonstrated by many characteristics.

Proverbs 11:16 states that “a gracious woman retains honor.”  Women should conduct themselves with grace, as opposed to being frivolous and silly.  Do the girls who flirt with every boy on the block retain honor?  Certainly not!  A woman who is gracious and conducts herself accordingly will be respected and honored, and this certainly does not include silly frivolities and immodest flirting.

Many of the girls who flirt and take pride in “fashion” would not dare work with their hands for fear it would destroy their smooth hands, chafe their knuckles, or (heaven forbid) chip off their nail polish.  However, the Bible tells us something completely the opposite.  A sign of a true, beautiful woman is the fact that they work with their hands!  Proverbs 31:13, 17-19 says that “She seeks wool and flax, and willingly works with her hands.  […]  She girds herself with strength, and strengthens her arms.  She perceives that her merchandise is good, and her lamp does not go out by night.  She stretches out her hands to the distaff, and her hand holds the spindle.”  Have you ever worked with wool, flax, distaffs, and spindles?  It is no easy job to undertake.  It is an intense undertaking of separating the good fibers from the bad, washing the wool or flax to be sure it is clean, spinning the fibers into a long length of thread, and then weaving the thread to make material.  By the time a woman’s hands accomplish this lengthy task they would be rough and worn from the work they have accomplished.  Yet the Bible tells us that working hard is a beautiful part of a woman.

A true woman will also “open her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness.” (Proverbs 31:25)  Do the fashionable girls in our day and age open their mouths with wisdom?  Or do they speak only of frivolous things such as the new cutest boy on the street?  We are to let the words of our mouth be like “apples of gold in settings of silver” (Proverbs 25:11), speaking those things which are sweet and wholesome. 

1 Peter 3:3 also has some excellent guidelines for women.  This verse states, “Do not let your adornment be merely outward – arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel – rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.”  Once again we see that God does not look simply at our outward appearances.  Although it is definitely important to take care of our physical appearance and be sure that we appear kept and cared for, it is much more important to look after the care of our heart.  A gentle and quiet spirit will be attuned to Christ’s Word and His commandments.  It will be kind to the poor, siblings, and those who are needy.  It will treat those of the opposite gender appropriately.  Her close friends will demonstrate similar modesty and hearts toward God.  She will treat her parents with respect and honor.  

All of these characteristics are lacking in this generation of females.  Very few demonstrate these important Biblical principles.  So how can we, as ladies, apply this to our lives?  A simple comparison of our lives with oysters is an excellent start.  Women should desire to be the pearls found within oysters.  The women’s outer appearance should be not flamboyant and gushing for attention.  They should appear to be a simple oyster which few notice.  However, once the oyster is examined by those who take time to notice the simple things, she should reveal a pearl – a heart and attitude that is white and wholesome, fully seeking God, not attracting attention to herself, and remaining in innocence and purity.  This is true beauty.  The beauty for which Christian women should strive. 

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