by Sarah H.
from Virtuous Daughters, March 2010~Volume 9, Number 12
The popular culture of today projects a skewed image of beauty. What we are bombarded with by the mass media in no way resembles God’s definition of beauty; it is an intense focus on outward appearances, an exploitation of physical beauty, and a complete ignorance of the true, Christlike beauty that emanates from the inside out. The consequences of this worldly outlook run the gamut from immodesty to eating disorders to disillusionment—and much, much more. If we know that the image of beauty projected to us by the world is fatally twisted and self-destructive, then what is true beauty?
Peter presents a lovely definition in 1 Peter 3:3–4: “…Let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; but 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.” So real beauty, then, originates in the heart and manifests itself to others in a meek and quiet spirit.
For us as girls, old or young, it should be our earnest desire to obtain this beautiful heart attitude; cultivating character is a wonderful step towards obtaining this. There are so many character traits that apply to us as ladies, but there are several that lately have been very important to me—particularly those that are part of developing a beautiful spirit. The importance of a discreet spirit is very eloquently put forth in Proverbs 11:22: “As a jewel of gold in a swine’s snout, so is a fair woman which is without discretion.” While discretion (literally “good judgment” according to the original Greek) can apply to many areas of life, Christ-honoring speech arguably requires all of the “good judgment” that one can possibly muster. A girl who does not bridle her tongue with discretion is just as disgusting as that filthy pig with the shiny nose ring. Obtaining discretion is one of my greatest desires, as I have a lot of work to do in this area. I can be so brutally frank at times!
Another womanly virtue to possess is a peaceful spirit. One morning several years ago, the faucet valve in our girls’ bathroom started leaking. At first it was just a little drop of water every hour or so, but by evening the problem had degenerated into a steady drip of every few seconds. It was nearly impossible to sleep that night! The constant “drip, drip, drip” was infuriatingly irritating, and we girls racked our brains for hours attempting to come up with a temporary solution so we could get a nap. The wise man of the Proverbs compared a contentious woman with that incessantly dripping water (Proverbs 27:15). Our faucet incident vividly etched that illustration in the minds of my sisters and me.
A contented spirit is a beautiful adornment for any girl. “Godliness with contentment is great gain.” (1 Timothy 6:6) On a recent trip to the east coast, our family attended a local church, and we had the privilege of meeting several wonderful families there. One young lady in particular drew my attention. While outwardly she was blessed with much beauty, what drew me to her was the heart of contentment that radiated from her countenance. Wherever she was at the time, she happily pitched in, conversed, or simply graced others with her delightful presence. She beautifully exemplified the verse “…For I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content” (Philippians 4:11). It was an encouragement to simply be near her. How I want to exemplify that!
While the Scriptures do point out that true beauty is being Christlike, and that our emphasis should be on Christ and becoming more like Him, we need not neglect the appearance of our physical temples. Rather, it is very important for us to present an appearance that is a worthy reflection of our position as daughters of the King. Clothing is an important aspect of this outward indication, so it is imperative that we take care to dress modestly as the Scripture mandates. Paul admonishes in 1 Timothy that women “should adorn themselves in modest apparel.” However, that does not mean that we must all dress alike or that we should not wear clothes that are becoming. The Lord made each person and each family different, and there are a wide range of styles and looks that are attractive while providing the loose and flowing covering that every girl and lady needs.
When possible, too, it’s wise to look at how God created you as a person and select garments that best become His unique creation….Choosing modest clothing that best suits the unique build and coloring that God has given to each of us is an important part of dressing as a child of God.
Our concern of dressing as a daughter of the King need not stop with modest clothing. We should also analyze our hairstyle, jewelry, makeup (if we wear it), and other accessories to make sure that they denote someone who is modest and pure. In all of these aspects, the guidance and accountability of our parents and authorities is a must. I value the advice of my parents very much, especially in this regard—my dad discusses how he would like to see his girls dress, and my mother is invaluable in not only helping me choose modest attire, but also in selecting clothes and other items that best suit my figure and complexion. More often than not, before we go out somewhere, my folks get a knock on their door . . . “Hey Mom, what do you think about his outfit?”
Beauty is not simply grace of form, smart fashion sense, or even a positive attitude; it is the outworking of a Christlike heart, a discreet, peaceful, contented spirit, the product of one who loves her Savior and thinks His thoughts after Him. How we appear on the outside is not real beauty; the bodily appearance is simply a reflection of the truth that we belong to Christ and have surrendered ourselves to Him. May each one of us spurn the world’s idea of beauty, and instead be truly beautiful in His sight!
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