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What Is Beautiful?
What is beautiful to Jesus won’t make the cover of Vogue.
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
Beauty has a cost. Between potion for wrinkles, serum for age spots and cream for gray hair, my cart runneth over with beauty products I can’t afford. Inner beauty has a cost also. As I get older and the battle for beauty becomes pronounced, I find myself asking questions about beauty. What does it mean to be beautiful? Who defines beautiful?
Men, what is beautiful to you? At what point does a pretty lady that catches your eye become old or worn enough to lose that label? Husbands, is your wife becoming more beautiful to you as you see her emulate Jesus? Beauty does not begin and end with mere age, dress, or ability to appeal to the senses.
A heart made alive by Jesus is a beautiful thing indeed.
Consider the woman who is, in her beauty, more like Jesus than a Cover Girl. If God lovingly instructs women to beautify themselves from the inside out, you certainly should consider a woman’s beauty as originating and emanating from her heart. A heart made alive by Jesus is a beautiful thing indeed.
Jesus = Beautiful
Beauty has many faces. It is difficult to define objectively. Anything beautiful reflects the glory of God in some way and inspires us to worship. With that description in mind, the most obvious object of beauty that comes to mind is Christ. He defines and demonstrates true beauty. And not because he was easy on the eyes… his sacrificial love and service, humble heart and righteousness are the source of his beauty. Because he is beautiful, we can be also. Our ability to have inner beauty cost Jesus his life.
Address the Hidden Person of the Heart
Just as we will often ask our friends or husband whether we look beautiful, we ought to ask Jesus the same question. He is faithful to the ongoing internal make-over of his daughters. He will answer. In an especially ugly-feeling moment after a hard week with my family, I cried out to God and asked him how he wanted his beauty to manifest itself in my life. The answer? Cheerful service and gentle correction.
Serving others can be a beautiful demonstration of godliness in a person’s life. It can also be a pious cover for a grumbling, bitter heart that wants others to think more highly of them. In addressing the hidden person of my heart, God wanted me to stop faking beauty and willingly and joyfully serve those he brought into my life.
Harsh words so easily spring from my lips. There is a certain sense of power and control that comes from correcting my wayward child with a sharp tone. God continues to lovingly remind me that it is his kindness that leads me to repentance (Romans 2:4) and that kindness when correcting another is a beautiful sight to behold.
In addressing the hidden person of my heart, God wanted me to stop faking beauty and willingly and joyfully serve those he brought into my life.
How is God desiring his beauty to shine through your life? Our love of beauty should compel us to desire what is truly beautiful. Beauty flows out of a heart hidden in the beauty of Christ. Next time you’re tempted to compare yourself with that magazine cover-model, remember the Lord’s words to Samuel thousands of years ago that are still as true today: “Man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart" (1 Sam 16:7).