Thursday, March 11, 2010

Beauty is Vain

“Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.”

Favor here is gracefulness or grace of manner and it is a lie (fraud is another way of translating it). You may be graceful but it is an outward appearance and cannot show your true character in any way. Beauty is something pleasing to the eyes, something satisfying to look at. And yet it is transitory, temporary, a breath literally; nothing but a puff of air. We spent so much time making ourselves look good externally; doing our hair, putting on make-up, choosing the right outfit, so when others see us we will be pleasing to look at. The problem with that is the only person we need to be attractive to is our own husbands. I know of so many mothers who as soon as their daughters start asking for make-up, they take them to have their colors done and they think they are doing them such a great service by making sure they know how to apply make-up right, so they will “look their best”. Or they teach them how to find the right clothing for their figure. Or they show them what hair styles will flatter their face shape. And why? Whether they admit it or not, it usually has something to do with how the world will perceive you and most importantly, of course, catching that perfect man. But how perfect is he for our daughters if he can be won by mere outward painting and coverings? Is that really the kind of shallow person you want to lead your daughter's future and family? Or the kind we want to lead our families? And if you can “catch” him with your outward appearance, what will keep the next pretty girl from doing the same?

We must strive to teach our children to place their trust in a God who will last, to live in such a way that their lives will have precious jewels to show for them, instead of things that will be consumed in the end, like wood, hay and stubble. (1 Cor. 3:10-15) If we put our focus on things that can be destroyed, defaced and marred, things that are fleeting, then we are not giving them the training they need, to know how to please the Lord. God doesn't love us because we are pretty. We are not out to please our friends, our church, our family, we are here to please the Lord.

We need to teach our sons to seek a woman whose beauty is in her heart; one with a meek and quiet spirit, one who fears the Lord, and one who is willing to serve Him and her husband all the days of her life. Now I recognize that men are attracted to women by sight; they like pretty things. That is part of how God made them. But there is a difference between admiring something pretty and making all your choices based on that alone. As an example, my husband thinks I’m beautiful, but he will tell you that is not why he married me, if you have seen me, you know that is true. I am short, fat and I’m going grey before I'm 30. I have wrinkles on my face and I have been pregnant for almost all of our nearly 3 years of marriage. With two children 2 and under, sometimes I don’t look my best when he comes in the door. And yet he still comes home every night. It is because, and I say this because he says it, I have a heart that is committed to doing the Lord's will. I want to live to bless God and my husband. I want to serve them both with all my heart. As my physical appearance continues to fade, hopefully, my heart will grow closer to the Lord and because of that, I will be more and more beautiful in his sight with each passing day.

Now a godly husband will appreciate that you try to look your best for him. And you should. But if he is living the word, what will matter more is that you are looking your best on the inside, that you are a woman of virtue and strength of character. If your husband does not appreciate the godly woman you are trying to be on the inside, don’t nag, simply pray that God will change his heart and help him to see you as God does. Just don’t use that as a license to be a slob in the meantime!

We must teach our children to strive for things that will last. A woman that fears the Lord is someone who shows due reverence for Him, respect for His commands and a willing to do as commanded. This is the woman who is both worthy of praise and the one who will be celebrated for her virtue. This is what we should want for our daughters to become, what we want to hear said of them. This is what we should want our sons to seek out in a wife. And this is what we need to be focused on making a reality in our own lives. And that is a beautiful thing!

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