1 Peter 3:3-4 (NIV) Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, 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. 

While scouting Facebook recently, I discovered an article posted on the Internet which sought to identify the 15 most beautiful women in the world. Of interesting note was the fact that the women, mainly involved in the arts and theatre industry (actors, singers, directors, etc.), were judged based on their skin tone and facial contours, not by their understanding and demonstration of true beauty. It was God who created mankind “in His own image” (Genesis 1:27)  and the Psalmist David gives an effective reminder that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalms 119:135) yet many continue to rely on the criteria outlined by the secular world as the basis for determining beauty and self-worth.  I have learnt that beautiful faces eventually grow old and get wrinkled but beautiful hearts last a lifetime.

In His sermon on the mount, Christ counselled that the “pure in heart” shall see God (Matthew 5:8). The purity of heart defined here is in reference to “being true in the hidden purposes and motives of the soul, free from pride and self-seeking, humble, unselfish, childlike.” (The Mount of Blessing, p. 45) The spiritual leaders during Jesus’ time on earth refused to accept Him as Messiah because they were blinded by self-seeking entrenched in the norms and traditions of the time. They failed to acknowledge Him as Redeemer because they did not see beauty in Him, as defined by their secularized customs. Even the disciples had a challenge in understanding His mission because their selfish, unconverted hearts sought after worldly gains not the beauty of truth.

True beauty is embodied in the souls that “have a trusting, childlike desire to know and do the will of God” (The Mount of Blessing, p. 47) not in skin colour or an attractive face/body. As the Apostle Peter indicated in the key text, the outward adornment ought not to be the main focus, instead careful attention should be given to developing the “inner self”, a beautiful childlike heart reflecting a character modelled after the similitude of Christ. Let’s be realistic, many of those considered to be the greatest in this world will be called the least in the kingdom of God. And the reverse is true, those thought to be less significant in this world will be called the greatest, most beautiful in the kingdom of God. “Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” (1 Peter 2:9).

Prayer: Father, please bring us to the realization that when we keep our eyes fixed on you, our selfish, self-seeking hearts will fade and be replaced by hearts filled with purity. Amen.

By: Louise Brown

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