Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised. (Proverbs 31:30)
Wow… can I say this any better than already stated? Not really. As I grow older I realize the significance of this verse. I have found favor in many situations. However, favor does not last for an eternity. Favor is for a given moment.
Beauty on the other hand is eternal…but pertains to two different meanings. External and internal. External is the one many women struggle to obtain. Hair salons, nails, skin treatments, expensive clothing, all fall into this category. Why are we so driven to prove to the world that our outer layer is not depreciating? It’s called vanity. The definition for vain is: Characteristic of false pride; having an exaggerated sense of self-importance; Unproductive of success.
I have found out, as many of you have, that when we concentrate on the inner women, the inner beauty of relationship to God and man, it is anything but vain. Often women, who strive to become beautiful in character and relationship with God, naturally are eminent in their external beauty. When I am striving for that relationship, I can look in the mirror and be pleased with what I see. Does this mean that my skin is flawless, without wrinkle or imperfection? Does it mean that I’ve obtained my perfect body weight? Absolutely not. However, when I am struggling in my spiritual relationship, I also struggle with the reflection looking back at me in the glass.
How do we stop from falling into the status-quo trap of striving for outer perfection? The scripture above tells us. “Fear the Lord” When we have a healthy fear of the Lord, meaning, a profound respect towards Him and His law, we no longer fear man. We no longer worry what others are thinking of us, what we look like, how we measure up..etc. We are strictly concerned with pleasing God. As we develop the desire to please Him, as we in reverence fear Him, we will be surrounded by unexpected praise. This scripture says we will be praised, so we can expect that, but I often am taken back when someone has something of praise to tell me - about me. Maybe I’m not very good at receiving praise. It embarrasses me and makes me feel terribly awkward at times. I have learned from my dad though to just be gracious and simply say “Thank you.”
It is pretty easy to pick out women who fear God and fear men. There is a big difference. I have met some of the most beautiful women through my years. Unfortunately, I have also seen some the ugliest characteristics of the human race emanate from some of them. My prayer for all of us is that we will learn to love God with all our hearts souls, mind and strength. In doing so, we will fear only Him. When we accomplish this we will then see that beauty is more than skin deep. We will be able to look in the mirror and say “I am God’s Princess!” “I am wonderfully made!”
I had to giggle as I got further into your article, as I'm sitting here reading with my left foot in a pan of warm water, soaking it to repair an ingrown toenail. See, repairing that nail is medically necessary and has nothing to do with appearance. However, when I'm done, I also intend to trim the rest of my nails, file my fingernails, paint them, and do skin and hair treatments. It's not so much that I'm overly concerned about my outward appearance... It's just that I'd gotten into a rut where I wasn't taken as good care of myself as I should, having little concern whatsoever about my appearance. Unfortunately, we women can get into that rut sometimes... especially if we happen to suffer with low self-esteem. But the Lord urged me with this: "You are MY representative, MY Beloved. Let the beauty of My touch on your heart be seen both in your character and your appearance." So, seems I have my work cut out for me. :::smile::: But you are so right... outward beauty is fleeting and vain. Our concern should be, first and foremost, the fear of God, which transforms our character into something beautiful. That just can't be found in a bottle!