Monthly Archives: October 2014

♣ Beauty Esteemed in the Eyes of God

inner beauty

“Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised” – Proverbs 31:30.

AS THE DEVIL overcame Adam through Eve’s beguile, so he attempts the same path but through woman’s sexuality. “The lust of the eyes” – our adversary being well acquainted with man’s fallenness from the glory of God and that as a result man now looks at the transient rather than the eternal, so he uses and abuses the highest of God’s creation that is most attractive to man. Lust can reside in a man’s heart where a woman dresses and adorns herself innocently (without provocation). Ultimately, we cannot blame anyone but man for falling in his heart and mind just because a woman has natural God-given beauty, but the problem is devilishly exasperated when the woman knowingly lives and dresses in such a manner that will strongly or irresistibly draw out lust within man’s heart. Has this not been prominent spanning over the last five decades, where licentiousness has pervaded almost every aspect of society? Can we state we are a chaste society? It would be ludicrous to say otherwise. The deplorable aspect of it all is that man plays on what arouses a woman and vice-versa. No wonder pornography is prevalent in our culture and it should come as no surprise at all that homosexuality has rapidly grown as a result; worse still, many are in favour of it. The number of women trapped in pornography is astounding. Generally speaking, man used to pursue the woman, now it’s also the other way round. Moral standards have completely shifted; what once used to shock society now excites it. It wasn’t just Eve’s ‘physicality’ per se that Satan played on but through the mystery of her womanhood that captivated Adam; it was to get him to look at Eve in the wrong way, misusing the senses to the point where she came first in his heart and that is the point where Adam fell; creature enthronement dethroned the Creator in Adam’s heart.

Sex has become the great ‘I AM’ in society and if there is one aspect that humanity is enslaved to, sex would prove to be the highest statistic above all other addictions. In light of God giving this wonderful gift to humanity, an expression of God that is perfectly clean, it is we that have misused and twisted this blessing into something other than He intended; we now use it to gratify our own ends, no matter how cleverly we masquerade our lustful intentions with a veneer of ‘love’ for the opposite gender and that proves itself by the millions upon millions of illicit relationships that has become the norm within our culture. People do not want to wait for marriage; they no longer believe in it and the majority of our modern culture ridicules the sanctity of it anyway, narrowing it down to a ‘worthless’ piece of paper, preferring to cut out all the ‘unnecessary’ and ‘long-winded’ preparations that makes for a successful, lifelong and God-honouring union.

One is guaranteed to capture and persuade almost any audience – whether through music, advertisement, literature, film and television – if anything of a sexual nature is woven into the very fabric of their endeavours; excess amounts of money is sure to come rolling in on demand. Sex appeals to society like nothing else does; it is the very heartbeat that motivates a fallen race in functioning to climb the pinnacle of all enjoyment.

Furthermore lamentable is how the world’s mentality of sex has entwined its mindset within the Church. There is not much difference, except for coarse language being cleaned up or entirely removed, nonetheless its spirit affects and dominates in other areas. One way in particular is so many Christian women not only dress provocatively, but their body language will oftentimes speak louder. The attracting factor of dating couples within most churches nowadays is purely on the physical line; men look for the type of woman that has the most seductive physique and women play along with that very theme. Seldom will opposites attract by personality and character. This is not to disregard physical attraction; of course it has a part in what draws one to another, but almost all – if not all – of the emphasis is laid upon the physical wow-factor. The world looks at the temporal instead of seeing everything in light of eternity; the world is enamoured with outward beauty instead of seeing the beauty that shines through from within.

Christians, our mentality is supposed to be diametrical, but it is hardly visible in most churches today; we’re not meant to be captivated with the ‘gift wrapping’, but with the treasure that’s found within. God, Who is no killjoy, desires nothing but our very best. It is the devil – the very one who comes to steal and destroy – who trades with our souls for things that look beautiful but at its very core proves to be cheap, shallow and bitter. “Not all that glitters is gold” was the line J.R.R. Tolkien used in his renowned novel, ‘The Lord of The Rings’ and if more Christians could exercise such discernment in the spiritual realm our churches would be more distinguishably stamped with the kingdom of God.

As far-fetched as it may sound, there is a powerfully deceptive stronghold of Satan among many women (particularly those who are young) in the Church that must be confronted with continual sound and balanced Biblical exhortation, coinciding with constant prayer against such to be torn down, just like with the altars of Baal. For those few who do so, in the right Biblical frame of mind, come under fire and are labelled outdated, divisive and legalistic. Through woman’s fallenness, the Devil wiles through her natural charms. Her natural outlook since the Fall is founded on vanity – the things that fade. God gave woman beauty, but here is the subtlety of it: even though her hair (bodily appearance) is her crowning glory, from a physical perspective, the danger is that the outward form becomes her number one glory; her security is based around the power of this charm and the fact that she acquires successful results only ingrains and reinforces this perverse mindset. Is it not one of Satan’s strategies to distort the beauty God has created only to throw it back in His face as an act of outright defiance – and what better than through the highest of all creation made in His image: man?

If this sounds ludicrous and extreme, then take a few moments in considering the dominant note among many women who profess faith in Christ. What is the prevailing influence? Is it the current vogue of dress, spiel and mannerisms of the world, or does the fragrance of Christ permeate their lifestyle? What is the very woman of the world’s motive and statement through dress? Besides her rise to power (through feminism and the danger with such is that women are losing their femininity), it is all based around an insatiable desire to be noticed, wanted and admired by the opposite sex. Her physique is her ‘power’ – so she is persuasively misled. That is the degrading of woman, for besides her physical beauty, God has graced her with so many other attributes that makes her equally important as man himself. Christian women, why would you imitate a fallen world; why, after God has delivered you out of its bondage, would you yield yourselves again to an oppressive and destructive yoke? Paul Washer’s wife, Charo, powerfully stated, “If your clothing is a frame for your face, from which the glory of God is to shine, it’s proper, if it draws attention to your face. If your clothing draws attention to your body, to outline it, to make it noticed, then it’s sensual.”

One of the most ugliest sights is to see a woman who is physically beautiful knowingly flaunt it before others; all her resources are poured into this one aspect; she lives, works and breathes for this one goal at the neglect and death of all other qualities to where you have beauty that is only ‘skin deep’ – “Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful woman without discretion” (Proverbs 11:22). That is what the world is all about: image. It is all a façade that hides countless personal worlds of insecurity and fear. It should come as no surprise that the majority (note: not all) of women who have an exceptional degree of natural physical beauty can be among the most insecure; they are constantly in competition, living in fear of losing what they have, let alone growing old as a fact they despise facing.

As ‘narrow-minded’ as this may sound – which only reveals how far we have digressed from the ways of God – only in Christ will woman find her true and satisfying identity and only through Him will she become all the beauty that she was meant to be. Only when she radiates the glory of God through her obedience to Him will the true fragrance of womanhood be released, not narcissistically, but in a way that causes man to exult in God for His wondrous creation; man’s attraction to woman should ultimately lead him to worship God that inevitably results in a lifestyle of purity.

Notice what Peter stated “…let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious”(1 Peter 3:4). In all of creation, there is nothing more beautiful than a woman who is fully yielded to the Lord. Her gentleness and quietness (the complete opposite of boisterousness, conceitedness or wilfulness) that is Spirit-born reflects the glory of the Lord – it is the very standard where God says “it is very good” (Genesis 1:31); the woman who is Spirit-filled and Spirit-led is “very precious” in God’s sight. The word “very” gives incalculable emphasis and when the Bible uses such terminology we ought to realise the inestimable value what such a spirit is to God – “your faith, being more precious than gold” (1 Peter 1:7) carries the same connotation. Women who are adorned in such a way are highly influential (think of Esther), even though they are of a quiet spirit. A quiet spirit is one who has ceased wrestling for position and dominance; their contentment is found in yielding to God. That ‘quietness’ can be translated as calmness; it is a peace that results from finding your security and living out your identity in Christ where true womanhood is rightly and fully expressed. This is the beauty that is highly esteemed in the eyes of God.

To women who are ageing – age gracefully in the Lord. It is the woman who fears the Lord – and that fear is a conforming to Christ’s image – that shall be honoured (praised). Observe what Paul says, “Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4:16). A woman’s weakness is not in her fading beauty, but in her attempt to preserve it and reverse the ageing process; her strength is in acknowledging and accepting that outward beauty passes away, while recognising and aspiring to grow inwardly beautiful that is of inestimable and eternal value. Rightly take care of the inside and you will inevitably take appropriate measures for how you look on the outside.

Take note of older women who are walking with the Lord; there is a beauty that no costly amount of cosmetics could buy. Their spirits permeate the fragrance of the Lord. There is a youthfulness about them that is so natural. They are dignified and tasteful. I’m not necessarily referring to those who can afford manicures, a weekly spa or reconstructive surgery by top beauticians and who surpass Joan Collins, Jane Seymour, Helen Mirren or Jane Fonda – I’m speaking of those who live a comparatively simple lifestyle, that are not governed by materialism and physical aestheticism. It is the spirit within that adorns such godly women. They are like magnets, radiant with the joy of the Lord and aglow with His life. These are rare flowers and we need many more of them as role models in our churches to the younger women.

For men who are yet single desiring to find a wife, a woman who fears the Lord is to be prized; make it your ambition to find a woman who is loyal to God. That is the kind of woman who will be praised, but she will not easily be won; she too will be looking for the marks of God within her future spouse. She will not be looking for the man of the world, but one who bears the marks of Christ. What the worldly man esteems as strength will be seen to be weakness in her eyes. ‘Men’s Unrealised Weakness’ will give further reading on this. She will be looking for heart-purity that goes beyond outward morality, something that is rarely found in men today. Another article, ‘More Than the Eyes’ will provide a little more insight. We have heard and read, “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favour from the Lord” (Proverbs 18:22). It is one thing to find a wife, but quite another to find one who is wholly consecrated to God. This is the kind of favour every man that endeavours to marry should seek from the Lord. It will certainly reveal the real motive behind your desires. Beyond outward beauty, look to a godly woman’s inward beauty that will prove to be far more precious than jewels.

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