Ahh, the commercials on the television promise everything from weight loss, to unwanted hair removal, to banishing wrinkles . . . all to be a more beautiful you. Whatever happened to the old saying my grandma used, "real beauty comes from within"?
In the past weeks, we have studied the Spirit-filled woman of Proverbs 31. We've seen that no matter whether she is single or married, she shines with her devotion to God and to others, serving with every bit of strength and love that she has.
In this verse, Lemuel's mom is cautioning her son to avoid the trap of "judging a book by its cover" if you will. She is telling him that his perception of a lovely woman may not be accurate -- that outer beauty is not always the real deal. Some women (and men) are oh, so charming -- using the virtues of agreeableness, kindness, and affection to "hook" a spouse, and then when the marriage is official, watch out! The real person comes out, and the deception becomes clear! By the same token, beauty can be a fleeting, temporary thing. We all have hair, eyes, and bodies that please our spouse, but is that handsomeness the lasting virtue that will make a loving marriage possible? In a word, no!
You see, we need to look at the inner person, just as God does. Consider what He told Samuel, when He passed over Saul and chose David for the king:
But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." I Samuel 16:7The world that we live in tells us to focus on the outside. Women may be tempted to focus their time and energy on a great figure, a glowing tan, the current lip coloring, and more. There's nothing wrong with wanting to look our best. But our Father would rather we looked "drop dead gorgeous" on the inside -- a woman who talks with Him daily in prayer, and reads His word, too. Besides, God sees each of us as another one of His masterpieces. David said:
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:14What we know to be true about snowflakes is also true of us -- no two are identical! Each time you look in the mirror, tell yourself what David said....you will come to know it "full well" indeed!
Lemuel's mom was giving us a beauty tip!
"A woman who fears the Lord....."
We're not talking about fear and trembling here, or a dread that the Lord we serve will squash us like a bug if we don't "behave." We are talking about an awareness that we are in the presence of a holy, just, and all-powerful God Who will hold us accountable for our thoughts, words, and actions. But He is also a loving, compassionate, merciful God, and fearing Him means that we wish to live in harmony with His standards and honor Him in all that we do.
So, a woman who fears the Lord will be aware of God's presence, and will work tirelessly to create a home filled with peace, comfort, and contentment for her family --whether that is a husband and children, or it's parents and relatives who depend upon her. When she is taken for granted by parents or spouse (or children) she remains rock-solid in her faith and the knowledge that God loves her and she is serving Him. That's how she presses on through difficult times, and that is the secret to her inner beauty.
Our faith makes us beautiful -- our faith makes us praiseworthy. Our faith makes us desirable, noble, gorgeous, and rare. As women who fear the Lord, we are truly beautiful!
This is a truth that we must pass on to the young people that come after us. True beauty (whether you are a male or a female) comes from the heart . . . a heart that serves God.