Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Beauty From Within

I was asked a few weeks ago to share with the young ladies in my church about beauty.  It was a day where the  moms planned to pamper them with mini facials, manicures and pedicures because that's what girls like to do but not without sharing with them what God says about "true beauty."

Psalm 139:13-18
"For You formed my inward parts,
You wove me in my mother's womb;
I will give thanks to You, for I am
fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;
Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written
the days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them,
How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
If I could count them, they would outnumber the sand.
When I awake, I am still with you."

What does Psalm 139 say about God? God made me in my mother's womb.  Before I was even born He knew me and planned out my days.  He is sovereign and in control of every detail of who I am and how long I will be alive on this earth.  He designed the color of my hair with the texture and form of my hair (straight or curly). He designed the color of my eyes, my height, my shape, and whether my skin would be light or dark.  Psalm 139 tells us that nothing escaped His control of how he created us.
One of the moms shared with me a video of a woman speaking to other women about being content with how God made you.  This woman asked if we were to take two different colored dots, red & green dots, and place them on our bodies.  We'd take the red dots and place them on the places we don't like about our bodies and than take the green dots and place them on the places we do like about our bodies.  What if we would be given an opportunity to meet our God, our creator, and show Him the red dots.  Would we show Him all the things we don't like about ourselves?

Isaiah 45:9 " Woe to the one who quarrels with the Maker--An earthenware vessel among
the vessels of earth! Will the clay say to the potter, "What are you doing?'
Or the thin you are making say, He has no hands?"

Isaiah 64:8 "But now , O Lord You are our Father, We are the clay, and You our potter;
And all of us are the work of your hand."

Job 10:9 "Remember now, that you have made me as clay; Did you not pour me out like milk;
And curdle me like cheese; clothe me with skin and flesh,
And knit me together with bones and sinews?"

When you were taking your pottery class a few weeks, as you were crafting, molding, shaping, carving, and adding all the intricate details of your bowl, vase or had a purpose and or reason for why you made that vessel the way you did?  God doesn't make mistakes.  He made us for His purposes for my life. 
When I was 19 years old I knew the truth but because I had unresolved sin in my life I decided to pursue my own purpose for my life and that was to have a career in "show business" or "Hollywood."  I wanted to pursue a career of acting, dancing and singing.  After three years of pursuing the ways of the world I finally realized that the truths that the world was feeding me were lies at the core.  After three years of being constantly judged for my outward appearance this is the verse the Lord gave me when He brought me back into His fold:
I Samuel 16:7
"Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his
stature, because I have rejected him; For God sees not as
man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance,
but the Lord looks at the heart."

God was instructing Samuel the prophet on how to pick out the next king of Israel.  Samuel was looking at all the handsome and strong men of Israel and God was instructing him and telling him ....that's not what I am after in a king.  I am after his heart for Me!

Deut 6:5 "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul,
and with all your might"

Psalm 51:17 "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,
A broken and contrite heart, O God you will not despise"

Proverbs 3:5 "Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and do not lean on your own understanding."

Matthew 6:21 "for where your treasure is, there is your heart."

Psalm 40:8 " I delight to do your will , O my God,
Your Law is within my heart."

Matthew 5:8 "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."

I could share so many more verses regarding the heart but I think we can see from these verses and others is  that God is about our hearts?  One more verse to share....

I Peter 3: 3-4
"Do not let your beauty be that outward adorning of arranging the hair,
of wearing gold, or of putting on fine apparel;
but let it be the hidden person of the heart,
with the incorruptible ornament of a gentle and quiet spirit,
which is very precious in the sight of God."

As I dug deep into God's Word I realized that this verse is specifically speaking to married women and women who are married to non believers, but even that being said I still think that we can apply it to all women.  The context of the book of I Peter is written to Christians.  Christians who are being persecuted for their faith in Christ. Peter is sharing with these Christians how to endure in their suffering.  He tells slaves to be submissive to their masters in the previous chapters and than tells these same Christians to be submissive to the government or authority placed above them.  Peter begins Chapter 3 of I Peter telling wives to be submissive to their husbands.  This can apply to single women with the fact that we all have authority placed above us.  Our parents, teachers, coaches, employers, pastors/elders....the list goes on and on.  How does God want us to respond as Christian women? 

"but let it be the hidden person of the heart,
with the incorruptible ornament of a gentle and quiet spirit,
which is very precious in the sight of God."

Does this verse mean we don't wear make-up? Does this verse mean we don't wear jewelry? Does this mean we don't do our hair? NO!!!! It means that God wants us to be more concerned about our HEARTS!
God made us and when He made us women He knew that we'd enjoy styling our hair, wearing make up and wearing nice clothes but He also knew that these things would distract us from what is more important - HIM and OUR HEARTS toward HIM!

Elizabeth George says in her study on the book of Esther....
"Beauty - It's refreshing to be reminded of God's standards for true beauty.
Faith and character - not external appearances - are what's important to God.
He cares about your heart - not your hair, or your facial features, or your figure.
Is yours a heart that finds favor with Him?"

What condition does God want my heart to be?  "gentle & quiet"  Does that mean I whisper when I talk?
NO!!! The tone of my voice or volume is not necessarily an indicator or equal the condition of my heart.  So what does "gentle and quiet" mean?
(Excerpt from I Peter study from Elizabeth George) ....As eighteenth-century theologian and teacher J.A. Bengel puts it, ....
"Gentle (or meek) has to do with the condition of the mind and the heart,
means not creating disturbances, has to do with affections and feelings."

"Quiet has to do with a tranquility arising from within,
causing no disturbance to others, means bearing with tranquility the disturbances
caused by others.  Applies to words, countenance, and actions."

How do we respond when we are asked to do something by our parents that we really don't want to do? How do we respond when we are told no?  How do we respond to trials? Or suffering? Whether is physical or mental suffering?

Chuck Swindoll says, "even in the 'silent' category, we are never to pout, sulk, scheme, bargain, coerce, or humiliate."  Swindoll concludes with this thought, "women who use this strategy are not trusting God to change their husbands' lives.  They're trusting in themselves."

I Peter 3:4 says, its a "incorruptible ornament of a gentle and quiet spirit"...some would translate "imperishable."  What does "incorruptible" or "imperishable" mean? It won't decay or rot.  Our outer bodies with decay as we get older, right? But what about our heart? Our hearts will last forever but our appearance will decay.  What is God telling us? He wants us to spend more time adorning our hearts  than our appearance.  With that in mind, how much time do you spend getting ready in the morning verses spending time in God's Word adorning your heart?

Elizabeth George writes in her book on I Peter: "As a parting thought on this
topic that is so vital to being a woman after God's own heart, consider these words
by Bible scholar Dr. John MacArthur: 'Here [here in gentle and quiet spirit]
is beauty that never decays, as the outward body does, Gentle is actually
'meek or humble' and 'quiet' describes the character of her action and reaction
to her husband and life in general.  Such is precious no only to her husband,
but also to God."

I am not saying, do not wear make-up, jewelry or do your hair.  What I am saying is be more concerned and spend more time about the condition of your heart before God and others God has placed in your life than your appearance.  Let's not use the world's or man's standards for beauty, which is corruptible, but use God's standard for beauty, which is the condition of my heart toward Him and others.

Proverbs 31:30
"Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain,
But a woman who fears the Lord,
she shall be praised."