Thursday, June 18, 2009
Current Study: First Peter
Today’s Topic: What Is Beauty?
Scripture Reading: 1 Peter 3:3-4 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.
What am I going to wear today? I actually ask that question to myself every night, substituting the word “tomorrow” for today. I usually get up much earlier than my wife, so I lay out my clothes in the bathroom the night before. The rationale I use to make the decisions are simple – what’s the weather going to be like and what am I going to comfortable in accomplishing my tasks. Very rarely do I ever consider how it will make me look or what others will think of me. I know what you’re thinking – maybe I should consider those last two things more often. Tough! It’s not going to happen.
On the other hand, the question of what to wear each day is a huge dilemma for some. I know for a fact that it’s a lot more serious decision for women than it is for men. Author Billie Hawks of Columbia, Missouri, shares some insights into solving this issue of true beauty.
For most ladies this is a daily dilemma because we want to look our best. Some women consult the latest fashion magazines for hints on hairstyles, clothes and makeup. But, believe it or not, the Bible offers tips on fashions that never go out of style. Here are some of the requirements for the well-dressed Christian woman:
1. A gentle and quiet spirit (1 Peter 3:3-4). This does not mean we must be silent or never speak our mind. It does mean that we should not be loud or boisterous, or call attention to ourselves by being bawdy or brazen.
2. Contentment (Heb. 13:5). We may not have a big, fancy house or the latest car, but we need to remember to count the blessings we do have and to be content with them. Nothing is less attractive than a jealous spirit.
3. A smile. This is a reflection of a joyous heart. Christians have every reason to be happy because we have hope above all hope (John 16:22). Why would others desire to serve Christ if they see us wearing pained expressions on our faces? Don’t forget that smile!
4. Inner peace (Rom. 5:1). God gives us strength and peace in facing whatever we encounter every day.
6. Kindness. Before we act, react or speak we should always consider the feelings of the other person. How would you feel if you were in their shoes (Matt. 7:2)? Treat them kindly, gently, with compassion.
If you remember to wear these things daily you still may not make Blackwell’s Best Dressed List, but you will make Christ’s list. Which is more important to you?
Another famous author, Jill Briscoe, offers help in facing the tensions felt when we place an unnecessary emphasis on external beauty.
One day I had a speaking engagement in Florida and I shared a table with three elegant young women. I felt fat, forty, and somewhat futile.
Suddenly and unexpectedly God inquired of me, “Why do you think everyone is so tense?”
“Competition,” I replied with sudden understanding.
I distinctly heard his next words: “Jill, you’ll never be competition.”
For the first time I thanked God for my ordinary good looks. I could be a big sister to women, a friendly mother, an aunt. I could relax, knowing I would never threaten anyone. God had made me just right for my ministry of teaching women, and that was all that mattered.
God has made us all “just right” for the purpose of serving Him. Stop spending so much time trying to improve on what He made. And stop letting your life be ruled by the law of the world which defines beauty as skin deep. God says beauty emanates from the heart.
Speaking to all you ladies as a man, I can tell you that the beauty of your heart makes you beautiful in every way. Real men know that. Real men love that!