The Source Of Beauty
It should not be surprising that feminine beauty catches the eye. God designed women to be beautiful. But the global industry in fragrances, make-up, jewellery, fashion and beauty accessories indicates a consumer market that is unsatisfied. And the market extends to men as well. As with all other areas of greed, when becoming beautiful becomes an obsession, the mirror reflects spiritual values as well as physical appearance. Of course, it is not wrong to look attractive, any more than it is wrong to be washed and clean: but at what point have you gone beyond caring for your body, to worshipping it - and making it your god?
Peter is writing to a scattered but thriving church; however, it might encounter persecution at any time. His primary concern is not to enable people to feel good about themselves, but to have the Lord as their security and to demonstrate a beauty which comes from a contented spirit, and is eager to do good (1 Peter 3:10-12). The time and money that might be expended in elaborate superficial personal enhancement, by even poor ladies, was not the investment which would advance the gospel, even if it might advance the ladies in that society.
These verses tell us what is most attractive about a person. It has nothing to do with how we change the outside of our bodies (or even our diet). It comes from deep inside of us. Hearts that are satisfied with the grace of God in Christ Jesus will become people of quiet confidence and gentle strength. The first person who notices is God, and He is pleased to see it; such people are wearing the fruits of His Holy Spirit. Next, the wife, who is content in her heart because of God's love, will win the trust and respect of her husband; like the woman described in Proverbs 31:10-31.
Charm can be put on to impress and deceive; and physical looks will suffer as aging becomes obvious. But a woman (or indeed, man) who honours the Lord, will shine with an integrity which years cannot defeat (Proverbs 31:30). Although the context for this verse is attractiveness within marriage, especially if the husband does not yet belong to Jesus, the principle needs to run through all of our lives. A satisfied heart will produce a winning loveliness which nobody can deny. So, we must all guard our hearts against the assertiveness, arrogance, competitive spirit and greed which may be found in some homes and workplaces (Proverbs 4:23). The first step to getting this area of life right - is to confess that it is wrong. Then entrust yourself to the Lord, to rebuild your heart from the inside.
© Dr Paul Adams