This article first appeared on Come Fill Your Cup (a Christian women's blog I write for sometimes), so there's a good chance you've read it before. However, I revamped it a bit, so it may be worth a reread. Enjoy! :)
“Inner beauty is important… but not as important as outer beauty.”
That was the first line of a commercial I saw the other day. Seriously. Of course, we all know the world’s standards of beauty, but I’d never heard them put so blatantly before. Apparently, all I have to do is buy some cream, some lash-lengthening mascara, some long-lasting lip color, and I’ll be an “easy, breezy, BEAUTIFUL Covergirl.” My personality isn’t important, nor is my character. As long as I’m pretty, I’ll be successful, I’ll attract men, I’ll be popular with my peers… you name it. Makeup companies will happily feed us these lies to get us to buy their products.
Don’t get me wrong… there’s nothing wrong with makeup. There’s nothing wrong with trying to look pretty physically—in fact, I think it’s one of the most fun things we get to do as girls. We enjoy dressing ourselves up and looking beautiful, and that’s absolutely fine. The problem comes when we start focusing much on our physical beauty, and ignoring the “appearance” of our souls. How’s our spiritual “makeup” holding up? Here are God’s five easy tips for achieving and maintaining stunning inner beauty:
1. Choose the right foundation. Before we put on any other makeup, we have to put on foundation. Our souls are the same way; as Christians, the foundation for our souls should always be our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Check out 1 Corinthians 3:11: “For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” In this context, the apostle Paul is using the analogy of a building, but I think the concept applies for our spiritual “makeup” as well. Even if we are basically “good” people, if Christ isn’t our foundation, our good deeds are useless.
2. Make good use of your blush. To see what I mean, take a look at the first part of Jeremiah 6:15: “Were they ashamed because of the abomination they have done? They were not even ashamed at all; They did not even know how to blush.” During the writing of Jeremiah, Israel had fallen away from God, turning to sin, especially idolatry. Blushing was at that time an expression of downright shame at one’s transgressions. This passage tells us that Israel’s conscience was worn down, that they could hardly separate right from wrong. Are we as Christians ashamed of our sins, or do we justify them, or brush them off completely? In Jesus’ parable about the Pharisee and the taxcollector, the latter, when he prays, is “even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’” Which am I like: the people of Israel or the taxcollector?
3. Give yourself pure eyes. Most people consider a woman’s eyes to be her most beautiful feature. For spiritually beautiful eyes, however, we need to be careful what we see. Philippians 4:8 tells us to dwell on those things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy. How do ideas enter our mind in order for us to dwell on them? Through our senses! Through our eyes and ears! In kindergarten Bible class, we used to sing, “Be careful, little eyes, what you see.” Do we keep that principle alive in our teen and adult lives? Are we careful about our entertainment choices, or do we allow unwholesome books, movies, etc. to clutter our minds, to “blur our vision”? If so, we need to get rid of those impurities. On the other hand, fixing our eyes on Jesus will lead us to “lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us” (Hebrews 12:1).
4. Take good care of your lips. Our lips can be the greatest detriment to our spiritual appearance; however, they can also be our greatest asset. We can use them to lie to a brother or sister, but we can also use them to kiss a crying child’s forehead. We can use them to fight with a friend or family member, but we can also use them to encourage and support others. Makeup commercials are always advertising “fuller lips”—as Christians, our lips should be full of encouragement and evangelism, full of concern for a brother or sister who is spiritually faltering, full of thankfulness and praise to God. If they’re full of harsh words, spite, negativity, or lies, we need to keep it to ourselves.
5. Check a mirror regularly. Most girls check a mirror throughout the day to make sure their makeup has stayed through the wear of the day. We know we looked all right that morning when we left for school, work, etc., but we know that no one is perfect and we all need touchups every now and then. Look at James 1:22-25:
“But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.”
See? Our spiritual mirror is the Bible, and by studying it, we can find out where we need “touchups.” Of course, just looking in the mirror will do us no good. Would we ever go right outside after looking in a mirror to see our hair messed up, or our mascara smudged? Of course not! We’d stop to fix it first. In the same way, simply reading the Bible does us no good—we have to apply it in our lives and fix our areas of weakness.
Here’s the bottom line: outer beauty fades. Makeup comes off. Do we really want to rely on things that are so transient, so beyond our control? We can, however, control the longevity of our inner beauty, and that sort of beauty is worth infinitely more.
“Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.” –Proverbs 31:30
~green eyes :)