By Ben Bailey
The wise King Solomon said, "Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised" (Prov. 31:30). In a world where men and women are often judged by their physical beauty, it can be so easy to overlook the real beauty of life. We live in an era where Covergirl can make you the woman of your dreams, Metabolife can make you slim and trim and cosmetic surgery can make you look like anyone you want. But have we really forgotten what true beauty is? The principle Solomon stated is still valid for us. Both men and women are attractive in God's eyes based on what they are, not how they look physically. Let us turn our attention to the qualities of inner beauty that God desires in His children.
First, to be beautiful in God's sight we must possess a submissive, willing obedience to our Father. The beauty of obedience has always been that which attracted God to His people. For example, God destroyed the ungodly world in Noah's day, but of Noah it is said, "But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD" (Gen 6:8). Likewise, our beautification will come through our obedience. The happy person is always the one who obeys God (Rev. 22:14). The person who wears the beautiful crown of salvation is the one who obeys God (Heb. 5:8-9). Truly, "to obey is better than sacrifice and to heed than the fat of rams" (I Sam. 15:22). Are we beautiful to God by our obedience to his word, or are we stained with the ugliness of sin?
A second way in which we can be beautiful in God's sight is by possessing a quiet and gentle spirit or demeanor. By inspiration Peter said, "let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God" (I Pet. 3:4). Although this is talking about the adorning beauty of women, it would obviously apply to all of God's children alike. Isn't it interesting what God calls beauty, we often think of as cowardice or timidity? God does not desire His people to be loud, overbearing chatterboxes. God says we will be beautiful if we are "Swift to hear, slow to speak and slow to wrath" (James 1:19-20). Do we really possess a quiet and gentle spirit in the sight of God? Or, are w known for our harshness, desire to be heard by others and getting the last word in?
A third way that we become beautiful in God's sight is through our worship of Him. The Bible repeatedly says we are to "worship Him in the beauty of Holiness" (Ps. 29:2, 6:9). When we worship God in the "beauty of holiness," we ourselves begin to become beautiful. But, worship must be done in holiness. It must be done according to God's commands (Jn. 4:24). It must be done with our inner psyche (I Cor. 14:15). And, yes, it must be done with fervent emotion, excitement and zeal (Jn. 4:24b). A child that adores, reverences and obeys his Father is always more beautiful than an irreverent child. Do we really look beautiful to God because of our reverent worship of Him? Or, are we unattractive to God in worship because of our additions to His prescribed ways (Lev. 10:1ff)?
A final way in which we can become beautiful to God is through our attitude. A godly attitude is essential to becoming beautiful. Just as a woman who only puts on half of her makeup would not be fully beautiful, so Christians who do what God wants them to with a grudging and bad attitude are not completely beautiful to God. A preacher once said that to succeed in life you had to have the right AME (aim) Attitude, Motive and Emphasis. What is our attitude about God and living the Christian life? Do we obey god because we love Him (Jn. 14:15)? Do we worship God in the beauty of holiness because we are grateful for what He has done for us (Jn. 3:16). Do we attend worship service to grow closer to God, or do we attend because we have to? Is our heart right with God???
A wealthy elderly man seeking to find a beautiful companion made it known of his wealth and desire to find a wife. It wasn't very long until he had scores of candidates wanting to marry him. Eventually, he did choose a very beautiful young lady to be his bride. But something began to happen that he never dreamed of. As the old man began to realize that the only reason he had a beautiful wife was because of his money, the woman began to grow a little less attractive every day. It wasn't long until she was even repulsive for the man to look at. I wonder if this is sometimes how God sees us? Do we really have an inner beauty that is enduring? Or, did we marry God (Rom 7:14) for what He could do for us or because we did not have a choice. Remember, "For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart" (I Sam. 16:7). Since "beauty is in the eye of the beholder," what do we look like to God? To see we wi ll have to turn ourselves inside out!! The Old hymn says it best; "let the beauty of Jesus be seen in you."
- Ben Bailey, Ardmore, OK; via the Belvedere Beacon, the weekly bulletin of the Belvedere church of Christ, Belvedere, SC. Ken Chumbley preaches for this congregation, and he may be contacted at their website: http://www.belvederechurchofchrist.org