Cultivating Authentic Beauty
“What matters is not your outer appearance—the styling of your hair, the jewelry you wear, the cut of your clothes—but your inner disposition. Cultivate inner beauty, the gentle, gracious kind that God delights in. The holy women of old were beautiful before God that way…” – 1 Peter 3 v 3-4
Cultivate: meaning to “grow and maintain”, “try to acquire or develop” or “try to improve or develop”. “Inner beauty” is not something that we automatically acquire. It is a personal process of learning and application. It is not about being “nice” or being perfect, but more about training yourself in godliness and striving towards a Jesus-heart. The mainstream description of true beauty is marked by good looks and playing “nice” – never mind the true condition of a person’s heart. In God’s eyes, true beauty is purity. Purity of heart, mind, soul and body. Sounds impossible, right? Not really.
The only way that one can acquire such beauty is through Jesus himself. A woman with true beauty, is a woman who spends more time working on her interior than she does her exterior. She exercises and strives to improve her heart, spirit and mind by spending regular time in God’s Word and she maintains her beauty by living it out. Jesus is her standard of beauty – not the standard of the world. True, soul-deep beauty always points people’s attention to Jesus, and doesn’t aim to grab their attention for herself. Jesus is the only One who can give us a heart transplant and transform us from the inside-out. And can I tell you a secret? His beauty He freely gives to whomever may ask, and people will see this beauty without us having to fight for their attention. What they really see, is Jesus radiating from inside of us.
“To all who mourn in Israel,He will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for His own glory.” – Isaiah 61 v 3
God made us as women feminine for a reason. We were created to carry His beauty – not our selfish definition of beauty – in our lives. But how can we do this if we pay more attention to how we look on the outside, than what goes on in our hearts? How can we carry Jesus’ beauty and spread His real and genuine love if we don’t know Him? We strive towards the world’s definition of “beauty”, but at the end of the day it leaves us insecure, filled with self-loathing and with a sense of “I will never be enough”. According to this standard, it is only a hand full that can attain it. We work so hard but nothing is ever enough and this kind of beauty just cannot seem to be maintained. Can I tell you why? Because it quickly fades. It is nothing but a fallacy and a lie from satan to deceive God’s daughters and distract them from their true identity and purpose in Christ. The world’s definition of beauty is the exact opposite of God’s definition.
“Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades. The woman to be admired and praised is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-god.” – Proverbs 31 v 30
The opening verse that I used is another perfect example. The things that do not matter that much to God, is exactly what the media says is most important; and that which the media portrays as a woman’s last priority, is what God calls “holy”. This does not mean that we should not look attractive on the outside, but we need to prioritise. What would you rather strive towards? A beauty that does not last and leaves you empty, or a beauty that only improves with time, never fades and flows from a source that is the ultimate definition of true beauty?