Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last…
My dear fellow Proverbs 31 women in Progress,
In October 2015, I wrote a post called “Are you beautiful on God’s standards?” and I meditated sometimes on the verse written above. Since then, I wonder why we are so insecure with our physical attractivity. If charm is deceptive and beauty does not last, then why are we stressed out by our physical appearance?
To explore this question, I decided to write this post 🙂
It’s a fact that our society puts a high value on physical beauty and justifies all the creams and cosmetic surgery that exist out there.
Physical beauty is supposed to bring you happiness, joy and wealth. All men (and women) are in awe with a very beautiful woman.
Some studies also show that people who have an attractive appearance are more likely to get a free pass than people who are less attractive.
However, let me tell you why the verse of Proverbs 31 shown above is true:
- we all get old, wo our physical appearance will eventually fade. And we’ll die. This is our fate since Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden. Therefore, using man-made techniques like cosmetic surgery to try to retain our physical appearance is useless
- beauty standards change according to fashion trends and eras: for example, during the Renaissance era, beautiful women had to have very pale skins. Nowadays, you have to be tanned (but not too much) to be deemed beautful. What will be the next beauty standard in ten or twenty years? Don’t you see that following blindly the ways of the world is foolish?!
Also, I have noticed that the Bible never precisely describe in details women’s beauty; everything remains very vague. Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Esther, Abigail are all described as beautiful women.
But we don’t know if they were tall or short, how their complexions were, the color of their hair… We just know that they were beautiful to look at, or they had a nice countenance.
The only Biblical character who has actually a quite detailed description of his physique – and I checked this, but I might be mistaken – is… King David! And he is a man! Surprise!
I do believe that if the description of women’s beauty is never explicitly detailed, it’s because the Holy Spirit who inspired the writers of the Bible knows that beauty of women lies elsewhere.
And now, I will share the secrets of a beauty that lasts, according to the Bible.
Before I continue with this post, I just want to underline that while I think that physical appearance does not last, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t care about your body.
Indeed, our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and we are accountable on the way we treated our bodies before God, since Christ died to redeem us at a great price.
We should therefore take care of ourselves, internally and externally, and present our bodies as a holy and acceptable offering before God.
That being said, let’s go back to our current topic 🙂
The three elements of a lasting beauty that I will develop are: wisdom, goods works, and a quiet spirit.
I will show you case studies of women of the Bible and from history to illustrate these elements.
Moreover, I’ll probably develop some of these themes in future posts, so stay tuned!
Beauty Secret #1: Wisdom
Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
James 3: 13-18
I really love these verses and I remember that I cried the first time I read them. True wisdom shows the transformation of our character once we are in Christ.
We must be women who show Christ-like character in our habits, our speech, our behaviour and our relationships with others.
When we arrive somewhere, we should be considered as little pieces of heaven on earth by everyone. Can you imagine that? That’s what I call true beauty!
This means that we have to reject all the things that get away from Christ. No jealousy. No cat-fight. Instead have positive thoughts. Think about peace, balance, spirituality, meekness, purity, good fruits.
However, I am not saying that you should be meek to the point when you are exploited by others.
Wisdom should give you the power of discerning requests and ulterior motives of people. Don’t let people take you for a fool because of your natural gentleness.
Also, I do believe that the older you become, the wiser you are (well, I hope that’s the case for you). In France, we tend to compare getting old with fine wine which gets better with age.
So, next time, you’ll be depressed because you get old, think of yourself as fine wine! I assure you that this works.
Let’s examine two examples of wisdom:
Case study #1: Abigail
Abigail and David
Abigail showed her true beauty by her diplomacy and her peacemaking behaviour towards David, though she was extremely beautiful herself. You can read the post I made about her here to have more details.
Case study #2: Ninon de Lenclos
The intelligent Ninon de Lenclos
Ninon de Lenclos was a famous French courtesan of the 17th century. She wasn’t exactly the most beautiful girl around, but her success came more from her spiritual gifts: she was intelligent, talented, kind-hearted and had an honest conversation.
Some people even said that her eyes showed the beauty of her soul. Amazing! (Please not that I don’t condone her lifestyle as a courtesan, I’m just studying the effects of her wisdom on her entourage).
Her spiritual gifts enabled her to be surrounded by the finest members of French aristocracy who came to her place to have a conversation with her and ask her advice (apart from being her clients). Even King Louis XIV regularly asked “What does Ninon think about it?” when he was told about a specific subject.
I hope these two examples convinced you about the necessity of seeking wisdom in our lives!
Beauty Secret #2: Good works
Likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works.
1 Timothy 2:9-10
I know that this classical verse is also quoted for the way Christian women should dress. However, what I also found interesting here is that Paul underlines that Christian women shouldn’t focus on their external appearance but rather to exercise goods works.
I do believe that good works are a direct consequence of the acceptance of wisdom as a component of lasting beauty. Why? Because wisdom will encourage you to act like a child of God and reflect His light.
Also, goods works are your legacy – you’ll be remembered forever by your community because you help to change other people’s lives, or even the world!
Let’s examine the following examples:
Case study #1: Esther
The exquisite Queen Esther
Esther was certainly a beautiful woman. However, she is still remembered primarily for her actions in favor of the people of Israel. You can read the post I wrote about Esther here.
Case study #2: Mother Teresa
The extraordinary Mother Teresa
Mother Teresa is still praised today for her action to fight poverty in India; she even received a Nobel Prize for her deeds. This demonstrate a noble character that physical beauty or beautiful clothes can’t replace.
Let’s move on to our last secret!
Beauty Secret #3: Quiet spirit
Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.
1 Peter 3:3-4
I also love this Bible verse – one of my favorites! Just like the apostle Paul, Peter encourages women to focus on our spiritual beauty instead of our external beauty.
I underline that Peter says that the beauty of a quiet spirit is “imperishable”, meaning that it will endure forever! Can you imagine that?
Having a quiet spirit for me means that we trust God and don’t worry about our future. We are not stressed out and patiently wait on Him, knowing that He always keep His promises.
A quiet spirit also enables us to endure difficult times by being gracious, and not complaining; as most of us tend to do. In this case, a quiet spirit will allow our characters to be refined like gold before God.
Let’s examine the examples below:
Case study #1: Mary, mother of Jesus
Mary and Jesus
Mary accepted the mission of being the mother of Jesus and willingly and gracefully submitted to God’s will; though she suffered a lot afterwards during Jesus’s missionary work and His crucifixion… You can read Mary’s story in details here.
Case study #2: Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist
Elizabeth and her cousin Mary
Elizabeth waited for her 80th birthday before she was able to conceive John the Baptist. She patiently waited on the Lord and He finally fulfilled His promises towards her with this miraculous birth. Isn’t that wonderful?
And from woman to woman, a quiet spirit can help with the wrinkles of your face, since you won’t frown upon everything all the time 😉
That’s it, I shared my Biblical beauty secrets with you!
Do you agree with them? Please share your point of view!
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