The body is a beautiful, don't you think? Or better yet, the body is a vessel of beauty. It can bring beauty to wherever it goes and to whomever it comes into contact with.
It is mind boggling to me how much time, energy, money and research is vested in beauty. Anything from the cosmetics counter at your local Walgreens, or your twice a month visit from your Avon lady (my mom still meets with Lila at least once a month), to the high end salon esthetician appointments, hair stylists, botox injections and spa treatments.
Then you have the nutritional supplements industry; everything from Target, GNC, local health food stores and online business to the local farmer's market vendor selling her harvest and making soap and anti-aging potions in her basement.
How about exercise? If you are familiar with my writings, you know that I use exercise and tout its benefits NOT as a means to increase your beauty, but rather a way in which to be a better ambassador for Christ. To have clearer thoughts. To push yourself physically outside of your comfort zone as a means to stretch yourself spiritually. To be tested and pressured, yet overcome because of the power of the Spirit that lives in you (2 Timothy 1:7). There are so many parallels I find between exercising physically and exercising your faith, all while improving your health. However, it's difficult to think about exercise as a means to improve your health when you see a shoe commercial that has a half naked (practically) woman in a seductive pose showing too much cleavage. If you own an exercise video, my guess is that the people in the video are also scantily clad with hair done and makeup applied perfectly - also cleavage.
I don't know what the exact dollar amount is spent per person on training sessions, exercise equipment, gym memberships, supplements, spa treatments, anti-aging cream, eye gel or wrinkle removers. But I know it's a lot. The supplement industry alone is a multi-billion dollar industry.
And this idea of outward appearance as the definition of beauty is not new. Do you remember how many months of beauty treatments Esther had to go through before she was presented to King Xerxes as a candidate to replace Queen Vashti? 12. TWELVE! It took longer for these candidates to get ready to see the king than it does for a human life to grow inside his mom's uterus. I can't even.
Before a young woman’s turn came to go in to King Xerxes, she had to complete twelve months of beauty treatments prescribed for the women, six months with oil of myrrh and six with perfumes and cosmetics.
I wonder how much all of that cost.
If you read the entire book of Esther, you'll find that she ended up winning the king's favor. Not because of how she looked on the outside. But because it was a part of God's plan for His people. Read it. It's good.
Rewind to when Samuel had to find a new king of Israel because Saul turned away from God and God rejected Him (1 Samuel 15 - read that chapter too. It's also good).
1 Samuel 16:7
But the LORD said to Samuel, 'Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart'.
Man ladies, doesn't this take the pressure off? Don't you exhale after reading that? Don't you feel like the most beautiful girl in the world?
Or maybe not.
Maybe this adds a whole slew of other worries and fears and feelings of failure because you're thinking, "I don't want to be judged by my heart". Maybe all of your work and beauty regimens and exercise sessions are ways you are covering up the darkness and ugliness that you feel inside. Maybe the guilt you carry inside is buried under all that makeup and designer clothes. Maybe you feel hollow and empty and in need of someone's - anyone's - attention.
Dear sister in Christ, you are beautiful. You don't have to hide yourself in your designer jeans and trendy haircut and handbag with matching scarf, all while plastering a freakishly white fake smile across your face to cover up your heart. There is no sin that Jesus did not suffer and die for. There is no guilt too heavy that Jesus cannot bear. There is no act too unmentionable that would make Jesus blush and turn away from you.
Your heart is beautiful because Jesus took your sins away. It's as simple as that. Jesus makes you free of sin in God's eyes, so when he looks at you, he sees beauty. And guess what? It's FREE.
Now because of Jesus and his love for you and for what He has done, you can reflect that love and new heart condition to help bring others to the same beautiful place of repentance and forgiveness of sins.
When it comes to what's in the heart - a person's inner disposition and character - what does God mean? What is His definition of beauty? Titus 2:3-5 is our mission at Holy Hen House. It teaches us just a few things about character and inner disposition:
Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.
In Proverbs 31:10-31 is the definition of a wife of noble character. In verse 25-26 I think we get a clear description of what is means to be beautiful:
She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
And Sarah reminded us of this verse just on Sunday with her photo (Proverbs 31:30).
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Like most wonderful things in this life, true and lasting beauty is free. The price of beauty has already been paid on the cross by Jesus. He paid for your beauty with His life. He rose again to assure your resurrection. Now go live your life in that beauty.
Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me when I spend my time and effort on the fleeting beauty instead of working to strengthen the enduring beauty. Help me to take care of my physical body and work hard to serve others, but not at the expense of working on my spiritual beauty and learning how to live for you, out of love and thankfulness. Thank you for sending your Son to make me beautiful. Amen