Tuesday, July 20, 2010

True Beauty Lives Within

Proverbs 31:30
Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain;

but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.

In the first verse, "Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain", the word "favor" refers to a woman's outward appearance and form while "beauty’s" vanity vanishes all too quickly – much like a vapor. External beauty is often deceitful as what you see is not always what you really get.  On the surface, it may appear as though you are viewing a very beautiful, a very special person, but then all of a sudden the beauty fades as they open their mouth startling everyone with their expletives and negative comments.

Indeed, outer charm covers up a multitude of sins. Case in point… have you ever opened up a nut with a fine looking shell, only to discover that when you crack it open, the meat inside it is rotten and undesirable? The same holds true for beautiful actors, pop stars, and models. Upon a closer look you realize that they are known more for their broken marriages, substance abuse, and personal problems than they are for their beauty or talent. Beneath the external shell, there lives a very troubled individual who desperately needs God's transforming grace. Without God’s grace, external beauty and talent are fleeting with life eventually becoming meaningless and empty.

In spite of this, there’s a great emphasis on external beauty today. In fact, beautiful people are often more popular, recognized more frequently, and get better jobs. Makeup is used in abundance. All kinds of supplements and health products are offered with the promise of making people look younger and more attractive, only slowing down, but not preventing nature's natural deterioration. Surgical procedures are performed with alarming regularity to change, enhance, reduce, or “improve” a person's outward appearance.  Companies offering diet programs and exercise programs report record earnings from people who want to look beautiful and feel good.  One does not even have to leave the comfort of home to get hooked. How many times have you seen a TV show devoted to “extreme makeovers”? You know the ones that transform a plain or unattractive person into an outwardly attractive person with makeup, new clothes, hair styling, weight loss, exercise, surgery, and more. There’s no end to the creative ways in which mankind tries to beautify, preserve, and idolize the outer body. All without ever changing what is going on in the inside!

True beauty in the sight of God is not the product of cosmetics, but rather the shining forth of the indwelling Christ. When asked about the secret of her beautiful complexion, a woman once said, "I use truth for my lips; for my voice, prayer; for my eyes, pity; for my hands, charity; for my figure, uprightness; and for my heart, LOVE." The best part? You can receive a lifetime supply of these heavenly cosmetics for free when you invite God to live within your heart, mind, and spirit!

The second verse, "But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised", expresses that inner beauty can never be achieved without having a meaningful and intimate relationship with the Lord. When you do, His glory shines brilliantly outwardly in the form of words and deed for all to experience. Sad to say, many do not seem to realize this, sacrificing goodness and godliness in the pursuit of the latest trend or whatever makes them appear more beautiful. Yet the truth behind beauty resides in those who choose to pursue godliness rather than fashion for   “beauty in the heart puts beauty on the face”.

It is our words and our deeds that draw inner beauty outward. They are expressed in many ways such as helping an elderly neighbor prepare meals or volunteering your time to your community. It is the LOVE that you demonstrate to others that radiates your inner beauty. HOPE is also an expression of inner beauty with the belief of a positive outcome regardless of the event and/or circumstance of one's life and the lives of others. COMPASSION towards another who is in pain or suffering is also a form of inner beauty, feeling it tug at your heart. While you try to ignore it, it never goes away. Deep down it’s always there.

But what about outer beauty? Can’t someone view a beautiful waterfall, a majestic mountain or the brilliant stars in heaven without inner beauty? I think not. It is only when you take a long, lingering look that you truly pay attention and appreciate its inherent beauty. A beauty that resides below the surface and beyond first impressions. While outer beauty is fleeting, inner beauty is strong and resilient. It leaves an indelible, lasting impression on one’s heart, mind, and spirit, transforming your life for the better. Knowing this… I am going to seek out inner beauty in everything and everyone placed in my life. How about you?

Remember ... touch a life today "The Little Way" by following the lead and need of others. Also, if you ever thought to yourself, "I wish my community, knew...", then be sure to visit White Light Communications at http://www.tothewhitelight.com.
~ Theresa


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