Beauty is only skin deep. Is it really?
Have you ever stilled yourself enough to notice the gentle touch of the hands of an elderly woman, the years of use reflected in their appearance? Have you glimpsed the adoration in a child’s eyes as he clutched his dad’s face and genuinely conveyed love? How about the overwhelming sense of support when you received a phone call or text from a friend stating that you’ve been on his mind and that he has been praying for you? Has a teenager held a door open for you to pass through, putting you first? Have you ever received kind words from a stranger, disrupting the mood you were in and setting a smile on your face?
Today’s worldly definition of beauty contrasts greatly from that of God’s Word. Society bombards us with images that capture our attention and guilt us into striving for perfection, whether it is physical, occupational, parental, or intellectual. We begin to believe the beauty of who we are will not shine until others are aware of our perfection and greatness. But as the old idiom states, “All that glitters is not gold.” When we live a worldly life, taking a closer look and peeling back the layers of who we are can lead us down a path of ugliness.
However, inner beauty regards the whole person, not popularity, grades, job title, physical features, or achievements.
1 Peter 3:3-4 reveals the truth of inner beauty. “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.” (ESV)
God sees the heart from which inner beauty flows. External beauty is fleeting, but inner beauty is evident at every age. It begins with our thoughts.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8 NIV)
We are told to think about such things. Why? Thoughts become words. Thoughts become actions. Through our thoughts come the words and actions that convey our inner beauty—God’s beauty. Through our daily time with the Lord, an internal transformation occurs. Our eyes are opened to see as God sees. Our hands do His work. Our words speak life. This transformation isn’t always easy. As with anything worthwhile, it requires daily commitment to our heavenly Father.
Inner beauty exudes when we delve into God’s Word, pray continually, and surrender ourselves to the Creator. Just as athletes must train to build endurance, strength, and skill, so we must do the same in our walk with God and open our hearts to His love and grace for us in Christ. When we do, His beauty will shine through us.