The world says the bigger the better. To the girls big lips, big hair, big eyes, big bum bum. And to the guys big biceps, triceps, and abs for the guys especially. The world says to express yourself, be vibrant, be true to your heart. The world says to love yourself, to trust in yourself and to follow what you heart is telling you. This is the world’s definition of outward and inward beauty. While there is nothing wrong with looking presentable or being fit, the world has it all wrong. It shouldn’t be much of a surprise to us. The world will do what it does; what we need to be focused on as Christians is what we are doing in order to be a shining light for Christ in this dark world. The simple answer is to be like Christ. There needs be a stark difference between our lives and the lives of people living in the world. Often times that is reflected by how we present ourselves as well as by our actions.
Romans 12:2 says, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
So the world defines beauty as both inward and outward. However, I believe all of us can agree that most magazines you see lying around the dentist office have big headlines that read “Check Out Gwyneth Paltrow’s New Diet!” or “Guess Who Got a Lip Job…Again?” or maybe “Sexiest Dresses at the Golden Globes”. Who knows what you can find in magazines, but the point is that most, if not all of it, is appearance based and focused. How can you improve your body? your hygiene habits? your attire? and the list goes on. This doesn’t only go for ladies, it goes for men as well. The world definitely sets a high standard for women, but they also set the standard for men. The stronger you are, the better, the world says. The ladies like it if you act this way or that way, says the world. Do your hair like Ryan Gosling and wax your body like Channing Tatum and you’ll be a major hit with the gals…..or so the world says. Don’t listen to those lies. They’re merely man’s standards, not God’s. You might be thinking, “but what if people don’t accept me because I’m strange or I don’t act/dress/talk like they do?” The simple answer is: that’s their problem. Let’s take a look at what God’s Word says about beauty.
1 Peter 3:3-4 says, “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.”
These verses perfectly sum up what it means to be beautiful in the eyes of God. Of course, these verses are addressing the women, but the men can apply this as well. When the culture gives you guidelines on how to be beautiful, don’t listen. The world wants everyone to be “cookie cutter” according to their design. They’ve created a mold that you must fit into in order to be accepted. And if you don’t fit, sorry. Don’t listen to those lies! Look to God’s Word. God’s Word says to not focus on the outward, but the inward. It’s okay to arrange you hair, wear jewelry, or wear nice clothes, but don’t let that consume your thinking and withhold you from what matters most to the Lord. What matters to the Lord is this: your heart. Is your heart beautiful in the sight of God? Do you have a gentle and quiet spirit as this verse says? Ask yourself these simple questions. If your answer is “no”, perhaps you need to alter your focus. Are you letting the world influence you? Are you giving in to the world’s pressure?
Often when I read the above verses from 1 Peter, I think of when God told Samuel to anoint a king for Israel. Israel had already chosen a wicked king, but it was time for a new king. God directed Samuel to anoint someone from among Jesse’s sons. Several of them were tall, dark, and handsome. Samuel was immediately drawn to those sons. Besides, people like when their leaders are nice to look at. But God had something else in mind.
1 Samuel 16:7 says, “But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
I love God’s heart here. He makes it clear to Samuel that He does not care about the outward appearance, He cares about the heart. Isn’t it so true that we as human beings always look at the appearance? What’s one of the first things you think when you meet someone? It’s usually about their looks, right? Admit it, it’s true. Of course, we can’t see right through to their heart like God can, but we as sinful people, judge according to what we see.
2 Corinthians 4:18 says this, “…while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
The temporary things will pass away, but the eternal things are….well……eternal. 🙂
Beauty is beautiful. Outward and inward. Guys and girls, it’s okay to want to look nice and to take care of your body. In fact, we should be good stewards of what God has given us. But the appearance isn’t what God looks at. He doesn’t call people to do things because He thinks they’re pretty or handsome. He looks at the heart and the heart alone. King David in the Bible was good looking, but his heart was right and that’s why God chose him. Is your heart pleasing to the Lord? What are you feeding your heart? Is your heart spiritually healthy? Ever since the Fall, the human race has been guilty of looking only at the outward appearance of a person. We practice favoritism all too often and sometimes we even choose our friends according to how they look. Instead pay more attention to their character.
Luke 6:45 says, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”
You can tell what a person is like by their heart and what pours out.
Search your own heart. Do you have the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit? Tune out the world’s constant urge to look gorgeous physically, instead make sure your heart is right before God. Your heart is far more precious to Him than anything in the entire world.