Your adornment should not be an external one: braiding the hair, wearing gold jewelry, or dressing in fine clothes but rather the hidden character of the heart, expressed in the imperishable beauty of a gentle and calm disposition, which is precious in the sight of God. 1 Peter 3:3-4
What comes to mind when you think something is beautiful? What are the aesthetic qualities that define beauty to you? What do you think God’s definition of beauty is?
There is external beauty and there is internal beauty. The world teaches us that external beauty is prominent. We see this in everything – from material things to the runway. Our society thrives on beauty. It is in one’s desire for beauty, for ornate things, that floods the financial market of commercialism. Many of us want more or do more to beautify our outer appearance, our homes, our mode of transportation, the list goes on.
What is true beauty?
What does the beauty of the soul look like?
In 1 Peter 3:3-4, God sees us not as an external adornment, with beautiful hair, fine jewelry and clothing, but He sees the internal character of each of us, hidden in our heart. The beauty He sees is that “of a gentle and calm disposition.” We are “precious in the sight of God.” We are “more precious than corals.” (Proverbs 3:15)
My daughter may define this as those people who are simply not fake. I personally define it as those who are genuine in kindness, gentleness and love, in essence – “not fake.”
The beauty of a woman, unlike the beauty of nature, is not revealed through her outward appearance. She is made beautiful through her very essence of her character. It is how she carries her crosses, how she responds to those in need, how she humbles herself, how she pours out into another with love and kindness, how she comforts another. Her beauty is how she clothes herself internally verses externally.
This weekend, I had the greatest pleasure of being a part of an amazing retreat experience with almost 100 women. It is amazing to see the beauty of God transform a person throughout a retreat weekend. It is even more amazing to see the beauty of a team going above and beyond, serving and using their gifts to pour out the love of God through the power of the Holy Spirit into each person as if they were the only soul at the retreat.
I personally have struggled through the years in my life with outward beauty. Always trying to achieve what I thought others saw as beauty. What I have learned, through the definition of beauty defined by God and the retreat, is that my smile coupled with serving others with the gifts God has given me defines my beauty, inwardly and outwardly. These two things pour out God’s love that is embedded within me and this love is the true beauty. My love revealed through outward actions is the internal character hidden within my heart. My smile is the adornment on the outside that is the inward joy as a result of my faith and trust in a God that will always deliver His goodness no matter the trial or circumstance.
Because the world tells us that beauty is defined by external adornment, we spend a lot of time, money and energy to fulfill this form of beauty. When we feel we do not measure up to this form of beauty, we feel ugly, unworthy and not valued. This is the lie that we are told and we believe.
The true beauty is planted within and is waiting to sprout out through your outpouring onto others. It is through your faith and love of God that reveals your true beauty, clothing you in His majestic beauty.
I invite you to think about your inward beauty. Is this the beauty you are revealing to the world externally? Let the world see your true beauty, the beauty hidden within that is waiting to sprout outwardly.