Friday, December 7, 2012

The Total Beauty Makeover

The Total Beauty Makeover


Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel—  rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.” – 1 Peter 3:3

What is beauty? Many would answer that question with the old cliché “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”.  But is it really? Is it in the eye of anyone? Is this not just another lie we have accepted as truth?  What does it take to be truly beautiful? 
We’ve bought into the belief that there’s an ointment or a color palette that brings it, and smeared it all over our faces.  We’ve accepted the notion that fine clothes and jewelry bring it, and emptied our bank accounts to display ourselves like fashion models. We’ve changed hair styles, hair lengths, hair colors – and sometimes even our eye colors to attain it.  If beauty had a smell - we bought the scent!  And all this does work…for a little while…if you want outwardly beauty. 

But this kind of beauty is hard to keep!  You have to continually keep up with current styles, and buy into what everyone else thinks is beautiful at the moment.  Even if we pursue outward beauty with all our credit card’s stamina, we find that this kind of beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder, and not everyone will appreciate our efforts. 
It’s time to take a break from the chase, and think about what we’re doing.  Is it worth it?  Is it pleasing us, do we enjoy the pursuit of outward beauty?  Does it please God, or just man?  Is it time we looked at what real beauty, the kind that everyone appreciates, instead?

God’s word, the word of truth, defines real beauty.  Beauty isn’t in the flesh at all but 1 Peter 3:3 says it is in the “hidden person of the heart”, and that it is “the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.”  Proverbs 31:30 tells us it’s not in our charm either, but that “Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” If we fear God, meaning we respect Him, then we want to be beautiful first in His eyes.  What God finds beautiful is a gentle and quiet spirit.
I almost laugh at the thought of “a gentle, quiet spirit”!  It is the exact opposite of what we are taught is beautiful for a woman.  Society teaches women to be bold, be go-getters, stand up for yourself, make your voice heard, and fight for your rights!  Our media teaches us to dress sexy, be provocative, break hearts, and use our beauty to get us what we want.  We’ve been brainwashed to believe that a gentle, quiet spirit as weakness instead of beauty.

So what is a gentle, quiet spirit?  The term is somewhat foreign.  To understand it, we need to understand the word “gentle”, and see how God uses it in His word.  There are examples from God’s word we can explore to define what is gentle.
Galatians 5:22 lists it as “the fruit of the Spirit”.  Notice the capital “S”, which means it doesn’t come from your spirit, but from the Holy Spirit.  Gentleness is grown from your relationship with God, along with “love, joy, peace, being longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control.  Do the fruits of the Spirit themselves not describe something beautiful?  They describe our relationship with God himself.

James 3:17 speaks of wisdom from God and says, “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.” Gentleness is a characteristic of wisdom from God.
Matthew 5:5 uses the work ‘meek’, which is a synonym for gentleness, and says “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth”.  To be meek means to not think more highly of yourself than you should.  It is to exalt others above yourself, not being self-centered. 

Proverbs 15:15 speaks of the gentleness of our words and says “A soft answer turns away wrath,
But a harsh word stirs up anger.”
  To be gentle, we have to choose our words, our tone, our body language and all aspects of our communication with each other in such a way that it causes no harm.  That does not mean we lose our voice and never offer a conflicting opinion.  It means we speak with words coated in love.
Titus 3:1-2 tells us how to be gentle with our actions toward authority figures, such as our employers, parents, and husbands.  It says to be “subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men. Obedience to authorities is gentleness.  Not speaking evil things about others is gentleness. Living peaceable lives with those around us and being humble shows our gentleness.

In 1 Thessalonians 2:7 Paul describes himself as being gentle in an analogy that we can related to.  He says “But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children.” A mother’s gentleness with her newborn child is a picture of complete gentleness.  She cradles the head, protects the spine, wraps the baby in soft blankets, gently wipes it’s lips, and stands guard against anything that could harm her beloved baby.  We should treat all those we come in contact with in this same manner of tenderness and care.
To be gentle does not mean to become ineffective in our circumstances, to become a “doormat” to be trampled on.  It is quite the contrary.  We are to affect our circumstances and the society we live in.  Gentleness is not being a raging sea, but instead being calm waves.  A raging sea moves the sand, but tears up the beach in the process.   Calm waves also move the sand, and leave behind a beautiful smooth beach. 

In society’s terms, when we find we have failed in our attempts to become beautiful, we reach out to a cosmetologist, a hair stylist, a fashion stylist, a nail stylist, and anyone else we can find to get a total beauty makeover.  We change our hair, our clothes, our makeup, and sometimes even the bodies we were born with!  If you find that your inner beauty is lacking, you can get a total makeover.  But there is only one that will beautify your heart and spirit. 
Holy Father, beautify us! Give us the “the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit” that you find precious.

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