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Real Beauty



Growing up, sometimes I would wear a suit and tie to Sunday morning worship, and often would get the comment, “You look sharp!” And, perhaps I did. Almost every week, I hear ladies receiving similar compliments:  “that dress is beautiful,” or “you look so pretty,” etc.  And, maybe they do look pretty. There’s nothing wrong with complimenting someone on their appearance.

Similarly, I often hear friends very dramatically stating how much they love the other’s dress, or shirt, or shoes, or hair…the list goes on.  Again, I can’t really think of a reason why these kinds of compliments would be wrong; unless, perhaps, through these actions we are placing too much importance on something that God places very little.

1 Samuel 16 contains the account of David being anointed as King. Samuel looked at Eliab and thought that he was the one to be anointed next as king of Israel because of his impressive appearance. But, in verse 7, we gain insight into God’s character and nature when he responds to Samuel. It reads, “But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart. ‘”

The Lord placed no emphasis on outward appearance here in this passage. But, I’m afraid that we have indeed placed far too much emphasis on these kinds of things. Although men and women alike can be guilty of being too concerned with appearance, I believe young ladies are being negatively influenced the most heavily by this mentality.  Some can be so caught up in how they look, that they are afraid to be seen without makeup or if a single hair is out of place. Instead, we should be more concerned with what’s in our hearts.

1 Peter 3:3-4 reveals to us what God really does value. Speaking to wives, Peter says, “Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.” God sees real beauty in a person with a pure heart, not just a beautiful outward appearance.

It’s not inherently wrong to make yourself look nice, and if you compliment someone, you aren’t necessarily being vain. But, I am not going to the extreme to give credence to the attitude that says looks don’t matter so it’s ok to live an unhealthy lifestyle. My point here is to prompt consideration of what is important to us. If our actions say to others that we place great importance on outward appearance and perishable beauty, then we aren’t seeing beauty as God sees it.

Instead of stressing too heavily looks and physical beauty, let’s put our emphasis where God puts his; on the heart.  

Bret Cox