An excerpt from the book, Becoming God’s True Woman :
The beauty our culture esteems may turn some heads, but the beauty God calls us to cultivate will make a lasting impact. When a physically attractive woman walks by, we notice—men particularly! But that’s the end of it. Her beauty makes a fleeting, momentary impression. But a woman who cultivates inner beauty, who fears God and lives to serve others, makes a difference in people’s lives. Her beauty makes a lasting impact on the lives she touches. Godly, inner beauty makes an indelible mark on the lives of others and glorifies God.
Which beauty are we seeking to cultivate? Are we intentionally cultivating inner beauty, or do we give more attention to the outward appearance? The way we think about and attend to our personal appearance is really a mirror of our hearts. By reflecting either godly motivations or selfish motivations, we reveal whether our priority is to cultivate inner beauty or outer beauty.
Here’s a “heart check” test for the purpose of self-examination–questions to help us discern our thoughts, motives, and goals with regard to the issue of beauty. These questions have helped me to see that all too often my desire is for self-glory rather than God’s glory. Ask yourself these questions:
1) Do I spend more time daily caring for my personal appearance than I do in Bible study, prayer, and worship?
2) Do I spend excessive money on clothes, hair, and makeup, or is it an amount that is God-honoring?
3) Do I want to lose weight to “feel better about myself,” or do I desire to be self-disciplined for the glory of God?
4) Am I on a quest for thinness to impress others, or do I seek to cultivate eating habits that honor God?
5) Do I exercise to try to create or maintain a “good figure”, or do I exercise to strengthen my body for God’s service?
6) Is there anything about my appearance that I wish I could change, or am I fully grateful to God for the way he created me?
7) Am I jealous of the appearance of others, or am I truly glad when I observe other women who are more physically attractive than I?
8 ) Do I covet the wardrobe of others, or do I genuinely rejoice when other women are able to afford and purchase new clothing?
9) When I attend an event or activity, do I sinfully compare myself with others, or do I go asking God to show me whom to love and how to do it?
10) Do I ever dress immodestly or with the intent of drawing attention to myself, or do I always dress in a manner that pleases God?
Asking these questions on a consistent basis can help us weed out worldly values and cultivate a heart for God’s priorities.
As one of my deep seeded idols I’m working daily to completely and entirely uproot, the quest for beauty by this world’s standards is a dangerous road to take. The chapter from this book entitled “True Beauty” struck many chords. The above excerpt was taken from that chapter. I’d encourage women to read it.
I’ll leave you with this last excerpt… truth it took me a long time to discover:
This begs the question, why? Why are women obsessed with physical beauty? Why would women go to such extremes to be beautiful as culturally defined? Why aren’t we pleased with “normal”?
The answer is simple and sobering: our hearts are full of evil desires and lusts. And to differing degrees our hearts have believed the lie that physical beauty will bring satisfaction and recognition . You know the false promises: If you’re beautiful, you will be happy and successful. You will be popular among the women, and you will be desirable to the men. You will know lasting intimacy and true love. You will be confident and secure. You will be important and significant.
These are all things our sinful hearts crave. We lust for success, recognition, significance, importance, and approval. We become obsessed with making ourselves physically beautiful in an attempt to satisfy these sinful cravings. Yet the message is a lie. Physical beauty doesn’t ensure happiness, fulfillment, or success…our culture puts forth a false standard of beauty and a false message about beauty, but ultimately the wickedness already resident in the human heart is what motivates us to believe such lies and pursue them.
I urge you, my sisters in Christ, to not pursue such lies…but to pursue Christ. To learn to be outward focused and not inward. To die to these evil lustful desires within us, and to turn our eyes upon Jesus…look full in his wonderful face…and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of his glory and grace.