Last Saturday,the ministry hosted a half day seminar for single and step mums. The event was designed to fit the theme of 'Beauty Within' with the key scripture taken from 1 Peter 3:3-4.
Written in 60 A.D yet, like all scripture, it is as relevant today as when Peter penned the words.
The world emphasizes beauty and appearance above
anything else; in fact, it is a multi billion dollar industry. Many of us
(me included) spend far too much time,money and energy our outward appearance.The pursuit of outward beauty brings discontentment, ingratitude for how God has created us, is not lasting and can be costly. It can also rob us of your peace.
When Peter addressed the early church, he told them not to make their outward appearance a priority. Although it's not a sin to want to look nice and look after yourself, human nature tends to love oneself too much. Peter was saying that it is far more beneficial to cultivate inner beauty- a gentle and quiet spirit.
The Greek word for 'quiet' means 'tranquil and undisturbed' or peaceful. It has nothing to do with personality types. An extroverted person can just as easily cultivate a gentle and quiet spirit and an introverted person could just as easily not possess one.
The Lord is interested in the heart of a person- our inner selves. Inner beauty is precious to God. It is unfading and fulfilling. It mirrors Jesus. It glorifies God. It draws others to Him so is of itself a good witness. Inner beauty (becoming more like Jesus) is God's priority for us. He will allow anything or anyone into our lives to help in this life-long process.
When reading the passage of scripture that tells us how God guided the prophet Samuel to anoint His chosen as the next king, we get a good picture of the Lord's heart on the matter of outward appearance. Samuel thought that Jesse's first born son Eliab would surely be the one, judging by his looks and charisma. Yet God was quick to tell Samuel..
"Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see has man sees,for man looks at the outward appearance but the Lord looks at the heart." (1 Samuel 16:7)
A peaceful person is a beautiful person. They are attractive and good to be around. As we know,peace is one of the fruit of the Holy Spirit.One of Jesus' many names is the Prince of Peace.He offers us a peace that is not what the world offers. It is a peace that surpasses understanding.
One of my favourite scriptures is found in Isaiah 26:3 and says..
"You will keep him/her in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You because they trust You."
So, a trust in the Lord results in peace.They go hand in hand.
In fact, inner beauty displays all nine of the fruit of the Holy Spirit: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self Control. Each of these need no restraint in our lives.
As we grow in our surrender and acceptance of His will in our lives, let go of negative emotions (that also cause ugliness), bad and ungodly habits and instead 'put on' the traits listed in passages like Colossians 3, we work in partnership with the Holy Spirit. Another term for this work is our progressive sanctification. This will cause my relationship with the Lord to deepen and mature and I will experience a serenity that is far better than the best fashion statement and youthful, beautiful appearance money can buy or time can afford.
The Bible tells us of our essential garments. These are SALVATION and RIGHTEOUSNESS. (See Isaiah 61:10)
Other pieces of clothing mentioned in scripture include STRENGTH and DIGNITY. (See Prov.31:25)
Strength is defined as 'the power to resist strain' and dignity presents a picture of calmness and poise. Think about how such beauty traits and biblical clothing might transform your everyday life....
Recently,I found in my first bible a handwritten poem called 'Who's the Fairest?' The poet is unknown.
"Mirror, mirror on the wall
Who's the fairest of all them all?
Not the girl with the hateful heart
Poison dart with the stinging dart
Fairest she, who shed forth love
Gentle thoughts from God above
Beauty blossoms in the face
When the heart is filled with grace.
Mirror, mirror on the wall
Who's the fairest of them all?
Not the unchaste, brazen maid
Prideful, flippant, unafraid
Fairest she, whose heart is pure
Manner modest, glance demure
Virtue crowns this girl a queen
For her life shines true and clean.
Mirror, mirror, tell me who
Can my countenance renew?
Jesus Christ, God's righteous One
Altogether lovely one
Fairest of ten thousand,yes!
He can give you loveliness.
While on this earth, our 'new creation' is not complete. Yet we are guaranteed in scripture that "when we see Him, we will be like Him."
In the waiting for Jesus return, we can learn to see ourselves in God's mirror-by looking in His Word.
In the Bible, God tells me I am:
BEAUTIFUL (Song of Songs 4:7)
A DELIGHT (Psalm 147:11)
HIS BRIDE (Isaiah 62:5)
A REASON TO REJOICE (Zeph. 3:17)
PRECIOUS,HONOURED, LOVED (Isaiah 43:1)
LAVISHED IN LOVE (1 John 3:11)
These are but a few. I would encourage you to meditate on these scriptures and indeed look for others that tell you WHO you are in Him. I can guarantee you will NOT find such love and satisfaction in anything the world offers.
Let us rejoice in the fact that our Lord sees us in His marvelous mirror as precious, treasured and beautiful.
When we know we are loved,we can trust the One who loves us. We can ask Him to reveal aspects of His sanctifying work in us to increase our hope that we will be perfect when Jesus returns... Amen.