True Beauty

This morning as I drank my coffee, I clicked on the Greenville News online edition to scan the headlines.  The title of the last article immediately caught my eye.  It said “25 of the most beautiful women of Greenville.”

Now that I’ve gone past the half century mark, my immediate thoughts when I read things like that are “great, let’s look at all these fresh, young, smooth skinned, age spot free faces that are adorning our fair city these days.”

Much to my surprise and delight, when I clicked on the first photo, a woman obviously in her much later years in life appeared.  I continued to scan through all 25 and this theme of beautiful women at any age was carried throughout.

Questions started to form in my mind. The age old cliché says beauty is in the eye of the beholder but what defines true beauty?  How does true beauty differ from physical attractiveness and appearance?

Several scriptures went through my mind about beauty but I settled on one for a place to start.  The last line of Isaiah 53:2 says “He (Christ) had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.”  This verse clearly tells me that God intentionally planned there to be something about Christ other than good looks to draw people to him.  Some missed it entirely.  They were looking at him from a human standpoint, not one of intrinsic beauty.

So what does intrinsic beauty that comes from within look like for a woman of God?  I think it starts with a woman placing herself under the authority of God in a place of obedience and humility.  Proverbs 31:30 tells me physical beauty is fleeting but a woman who has a healthy fear of the Lord is to be praised.  When I fear the Lord or respect and honor him for who he is, I will recognize his authority in my life and be obedient to him.

“True beauty is defined by the Lord and only comes from him.”

Isaiah 61:3 tells me that God gives a crown of beauty instead of ashes to those who will be called oaks of righteous.  A woman who lives a righteous life, who blooms where she is planted by the Lord, who brings glory to his name in all that she does, is beautiful.

Lastly, 1 Peter 3:4 talks about true beauty coming from our inner self, our attitude or character.  Peter’s emphasis is not prohibiting women from wearing jewelry or cute clothes but that of what do we value, what do we have hidden in our hearts that comes forth in our lives.  Is it things of beauty or selfishness, pride and autonomy?

True beauty is defined by the Lord and only comes from him.  That is a truth that all women, no matter their age, would be wise to hold on to.  It’s so easy to get caught up in the world’s definition of beauty.  It’s so easy to compare ourselves to others and all too often find ourselves lacking.  That’s not what the bible is teaching us about beauty.

The women in the newspaper article?  I don’t know their stories personally but the author of the article must have known something that made them beautiful to her.   In this season of my life, when the process of aging is not kind, my hope is to radiate the beauty found within because the Spirit of the Lord God almighty lives within me.

Father, I want to have the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit in my life.  Your word tells me this is of great worth in your sight.  Help me Lord to desire to please you in this area, not myself and not others.

What is your definition of true beauty?  Do you think others see the beauty of the Holy Spirit shining through in your life?  If not, what can you do today to start to change it?

-Beverly Kinard, Pelham