"It is amazing how complete is the delusion that beauty is goodness." Leo Tolstoy, The Kreutzer Sonata, 1889What does the Bible teach about beauty? There is a paradox regarding this topic in the Bible, but one thing is sure. The Bible never instructs women (or men, for that matter) to desire it, nor does it necessarily depict beauty as a blessing for those who have it.
We do not ever find in the Bible that physical beauty is the same as goodness or that it is any kind of virtue.
What the Bible does show us is that a beauty of holiness is to be desired and that only belongs to the Lord. Other words used in the Bible to demonstrate the beauty of God's holiness are radiance, glory, resplendent, shine, and splendor. One day we shall truly behold His splendor and glory. Won't that be wonderful!
But aren't we as God's Special Lady supposed to reflect to others that beauty of holiness? How do we do that?
"Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight." Debra Evans, Beauty and the Best, 1993That's the kind of beauty that lasts forever and is not dependent on our age, what we wear or what we look like. This kind of beauty grows brighter and brighter with the passage of time - it is the reflection of Christ's lordship within us. It is stored in our hearts and fashioned supernaturally by God. Haven't we all seen those glowing faces of saintly women who by the world's standard would not be considered beautiful, yet they radiate God's likeness?
This is the beauty that the Bible says is "of great worth in God's sight." It is not what we put on our faces in the way of makeup or our body with expensive clothes. It is created by our Master when we become a "new creation" and allow Him to be our re-Maker.
As I've thought about these things, I related it to houses. This is probably because I love to ride around our beautiful city and see the different neighborhoods and architecture. Right now the spring flowers are absolutely spectacular. But that is another topic.
As I thought about what beauty without/within really means, I thought first of the person who is without Christ, with no hope. Their life is a mess. They've allowed the world to beat them down and they see no hope of anything or anyone ever making a difference in their life.
Then, there is the person who gives every appearance that life is perfect. They may be lovely and appealing on the outside yet that person is completely empty on the inside. They seek the frivolous things of life that have no lasting meaning and this leaves them vacant with temporary satisfactions.
What about that person who is constantly remodeling - always trying the latest fads or trends or teachings in order to satisfy a longing for something permanently meaningful?
Then, there is the person who has completely surrendered themselves to the leadership of the Holy Spirit and truly reflects that supernatural radiance, glory, peace, and holiness of God. They are the Lord's delight and are beautiful without and within. They are God's temple!
So, what does your "house" say about you?
Praise Him for the beauty He alone can give - the only kind that lasts forever!
Oh Lord, continue to re-make me into that reflection of YOU!