What Happened to Inner Beauty?
When did we trade in our inner beauty for that of outward appearance? When did our minds become warped with an unobtainable standard of attractiveness?
Regardless of your age, educational background, race, or financial stability we've all wondered how well we measure up to others physically.
But, what does God say about physical beauty? I want to delve deeper into this serious topic.
THE CLASSIC DEFINITION OF BEAUTY
Beauty is all around us. It's in nature, on television, in magazines, and on social media. Beauty can be found in poetry, songs, and little life lessons.
Why are we so attracted to beautiful things? Is it because of the way it makes us feel or maybe its the perception we want to portray to others.
Either way, when it comes to what makes a women beautiful its attributes can easily take the wrong turn. Often times the wrong turn is where our adversary lies in waiting to distort how God defines beauty in women.
I want to give you a pointer: beauty in a woman comes from within. There I said it and now I'm going to prove it.
What we are told beauty is...
Here is the definition of beauty according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary:
: the quality of being physically attractive
: the qualities in a person or a thing that give pleasure to the senses or the mind
: a beautiful woman
What I find interesting is the first definition for beauty, according to Merriam-Webster, is the quality of being physically attractive. In most cases, the first definition is the most used form of the word.
The second definition refers to a feeling of pleasure to our thoughts and the third, suggests a woman.
When you put all of the definitions together it's no wonder women are confused about the importance of inner beauty rather than outer beauty.
The self-degradation trap
We are indoctrinated to believe beauty refers to a physically, attractive woman who triggers the pleasure senses (thoughts of seduction, lust, obsession) in others with her qualities.
This is one reason why many women continue to degrade themselves by promoting sex appeal, vanity, and self-centeredness. We see this in sexy and erotic selfie photos posted on Facebook and Instagram for all to see including, children and grandparents.
It's also viewed in viral videos where half dressed women attempt to out dance each other while men (boys) gawk and drool over the impromptu, borderline stripe tease performance.
Likewise, it's rampant in the health and fitness arena where women in tight, scantily-clad clothing show off their physique on social media.
WIVES, SUBJECT TO YOUR HUSBANDS
Here is God's example of beauty:
1 Peter 3:3-6 KJV
1Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; 2While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. 3Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; 4But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. 5For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: 6Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.
Wait a minute Nichole! So, you're telling me that God's example of a beautiful woman is one that subjects herself in obedience to her husband? That makes no sense at all.
Actually, it makes perfect sense. God's ideal beauty was never about self or outward appearance, but about the love you show towards others and for Him.
You show love for your husband through subjection/submission. It not only demonstrates humility, but shows you trust the decisions your husband makes as the head of the house because he himself is subjected to the Lord.
Even if you are single you should submit wholeheartedly to your Heavenly Father. He should be head of your life as you journey through your season of single-hood.
UNDERSTANDING BEAUTY THROUGH THE BOOK OF ESTHER
The book of Esther is an excellent example of two gorgeous women exuding beauty differently. Vashti, Queen to Persian King Ahasuerus (King Xerxes), was indeed a beautiful woman of outward appearance.
So much so, her King often times showed her off to his royal guests. When summoned by King Ahasuerus for another court appearance Vashti refused for she purposely made dinner plans with the royal women in rebellion to having a disagreement with the King.
Not only did her rejection to the King's summon violate the law of the land, but it embarrassed him. As a result, her disobedience caused her to forfeit her crown and position as Queen.
You see, Vashti lacked the inner beauty explained by the 1 Peter 3:3-6 passage above. She refused to humble herself before her King for her pride in having a difference in view points got the best of her.
Remember when I said God's definition of beauty isn't about self? Let's continue with Esther.
Esther, a child of Jewish descent is the epitome of inner beauty. When King Ahasuerus dethroned Queen Vashti, he set out to find the perfect replacement.
It was quite similar to today's television show, The Bachelor (I'm not affiliated with the show, only using it as an example).
After being courted by some of the most fairest women in the land, only one woman truly caught the king's attention, Esther, whom he chose as queen.
Esther was indeed outwardly beautiful, but it was her inner beauty that shined through the most which set her apart from the rest.
Her submission to not only King Ahasuerus, but more importantly, her Heavenly Father who led her to place her life on the line to save her Jewish people from genocide, is the perfect example of God's ideal beauty.
To truly get a better understanding of this beautiful, but yet suspenseful story of Queen Esther and how she represents beauty, I highly recommend reading the Book of Esther in it's entirety.
It's one of my most favorite stories in the bible. You can also watch the film here on YouTube, One Night with the King, which brings the story to life.
Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.
WHAT GODLY BEAUTY IS NOT AND WHAT IT ACTUALLY IS
What Godly Beauty is not:
- Adorning yourself in fancy, expensive clothing, jewelry, and handbags. Brand name snob; purchasing only name brand or luxury brand clothing and or accessories to make you feel more glamorous or superior to others.
- Obsessing over wearing make-up. Feeling the need to always wear make-up and never allowing people to see the real you, flaws and all for fear of judgement.
- Wearing provocative clothing. The only clothes you wear are ones that show off your curves or reveal your assets in hopes to receive attention from others.
- Taking selfies all day long. Taking multiple selfies throughout the day in order to receive vain compliments, to have others lust after you or envy your looks. Read my Blog Post: Ladies, You Are More Than Your Social Media Selfie .
- Obsessing over hair and nails. If having a bad hair day or breaking a newly manicured nail causes you to have a melt down and prevents you from leaving the house you may have a problem with vanity.
- Obsessing over having the right curves in all the right places. Your body shape has nothing to do with your salvation and getting into heaven.
What Godly Beauty actually is:
- Obedience to your Heavenly Father
- Submission to your husband
- Loving others
- A gently spirit
- Words spoken with love
- Trust in the Lord
- God fearing
- Slow to anger
What lies beneath the surface
As I bring this blog post to a close I would like to say there is no harm in looking your best. But when you lack inner beauty because you're enthralled by your own outer beauty it's time to do some soul searching.
In most cases, there is an underlining issue within that's being ignored and I'm confident enough to say it has something to do with low self-esteem.
You must seek God in this matter for healing. I've personally dealt with low self-esteem for many years and now I'm delivered.
The Stunning, Hateful Woman
I'm sure you know of or have encountered women who look stunning on the outside, but are as evil and hateful as the devil himself on the inside.
This is not a woman of God; therefore I caution you in admiration of her. Never assume a woman's life is perfect because of her outward beauty. It's safe to say she has days where she wishes she was in someone else's shoes.
Inner Beauty is what matters
I know it's a cliche', but it reigns in truth, your inner beauty is what counts. Your outward beauty is not what gets you into heaven for all will be given new bodies before entering the kingdom — it's your heart for God that allows you to enter.
I want to encourage you to never feel inferior to another woman because you don't look like her. Just as a beautiful flower fades and withers away, so will your vanity over time.
What makes you beautiful is being a child of God.
Let's be the example and change the world's definition of beauty by allowing our inner beauty to shine through.
–– Call to Action ––
If you've struggled with vanity please share your story in the comments below. You never know how your testimony can help another woman.