As I surfed the television channels one night, an odd-looking image flashed across the screen. A woman’s face, complete with heavy make-up and a poofy hairdo, sat on top of a little girl’s body. As I watched the show “Little Beauties,” my mind could not wrap around the image of 6-year old girls disguised as adult women.
With their faces plastered with more make-up than the average adult female wears and fake, strained smiles, these children flaunted their bodies before a crowd of adults and doting mothers. When the little dolls opened their mouths to speak, they sounded like what they truly are – little girls. “Can I have a puppy now?” the winner asked her mother. Sometimes the little girls appeared completely unaware of what was happening around them. “Am I number one?” one child, unsure of the contest results, asked her mother. “You’re always number one,” the proud mother cooed.
What are these mothers teaching their daughters? They are teaching these little girls that superficial outer beauty is what makes them special and a “winner.” These little girls are toted from place to another, competition after competition. They are taught that with the right make-up, hair-do, skimpy outfit (including bikinis), and Britney Spears-like moves, they can be number one.
A Gentle and Quiet Spirit
I’m thankful that God’s definition of beauty doesn’t require the same set of standards. “Do not let your adornment be merely outward –arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel—rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God” (1 Peter 3:3-4). What’s important or precious in the sight of God is the exact opposite of what these children are taught from their beauty pageant experience. Dressing modestly and moderately (1 Timothy 2:9) and donning a gentle and quiet spirit is what God expects from any woman professing godliness.
As we age, our skin sags and wrinkles. Our hair turns gray, and our bodies no longer gracefully float across the floor. Outer beauty decays, but inner beauty is incorruptible. What is inner beauty? God defines inner beauty as a “gentle and quiet spirit,” which is reflected in a woman’s attitude. Gentleness is also a fruit of the spirit (Galatians 5:23). Merriam-Webster defines gentle as “kind, soft, delicate, free from harshness.” Abigail is a good example of a woman who exhibited a gentle spirit when she confronted an angry David on his way to take vengeance on Abigail’s husband. Abigail played the peacemaker and convinced David – in a quiet and gentle manner – to do no wrong. As a result, David respected her (1 Samuel 25:35).
Submitting to our husbands shows a gentle and quiet spirit (1 Peter 3:5). A wife who is bossy and manipulative and unrestrained in her actions and words is not showing this inner beauty God calls “incorruptible.”
In “A Gentle and Quiet Spirit – Part I,” Angela Snodgrass (http://members.tripod.com/ttimes4/id45.htm) writes, “We should not equate a gentle and quiet spirit with timidity and weakness.” A Christian must be strong enough to rebuke a brother or sister in sin: “Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him” (Luke 17:3). We are to be strong enough to help restore an erring brother, yet still exhibit a spirit of gentleness in doing so (Galatians 6:1).
While our outer bodies are “perishing,” our inner spirit is being renewed daily (2 Corinthians 4:16). We have very little control over the aging process, but we can control whether or not we allow worldly influences to corrupt our inner beauty.
Sometimes we meet people who are nice looking on the outside, but once we get to know them, they suddenly don’t look so beautiful. That’s because their inner beauty is corrupted by any number of characteristics, such as…
· Uncontrolled speech
These poisons are allowed to become a part of who we are when we forget that we have “crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”
Cultivating a godly beauty may not be as easy as plastic surgery and buying just the right beauty products, but a godly beauty lasts forever and doesn’t cost a penny!