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Unfading Beauty
Photo: Hemera
Going through the checkout at nearly any store today, you will notice a prominent topic on the magazine displays – beauty. Articles promise tips on becoming the hottest girl around, covers exhibit sensuous bodies, proclaiming beauty. And guess what, teen girls? It’s marketed at us. Clothing, make-up, all manner of body care products, hairstyles, etc, etc, are targeted at us. They promise to make us sexy, hot – desirable. Even some Christian magazines have lowered themselves to this sort of standard, proclaiming that you can be “modest and sexy!” In sharp contrast to this focus, read the words of 1 Peter 3:3, 4:

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.

So what does this beauty mean? It’s easy to react and feel like this verse is asking us to be a subdued, outwardly unattractive person. But notice, the verse does not forbid fine clothing or nice hairstyles: it simply changes the focus. Where is your beauty coming from? Are you trying to create it all on the outside? Or is the inner beauty radiating outward and affecting your heart, soul, and body (including dress)?

Defined Beauty

Practically speaking, there are various ways God calls us to reflect this inward beauty in our lives. First of all, dress femininely and modestly. Feminine doesn’t need to mean frilly/lacy, it can be avoiding baggy, frumpy clothing and finding something nicely fitted. Modest means avoiding extremely tight, low-cut clothing. Seek God on these specifics: when you’re open to His guidance, He’ll show you what’s right for you.

Second, encourage chivalry! A guy friend of mine once related an experience he’d had. He took a girl out to a school banquet with him and after arriving at their table, reached and pulled her chair out for her. To his astonishment, she snapped, “I can do it myself!” Is this really God’s plan for His daughters? He wants us to be treated with protection and respect from the men in our lives. It doesn’t mean weakness on our part, it means being treasured! Let a guy step ahead to open a door for you – and thank him with a smile! Show gratefulness for a heavy object carried for you or an umbrella offered in the rain.

Third, avoid an aggressive or boisterous attitude. Remember the verse? “A gentle, quiet spirit.” This doesn’t mean lack of feeling or conviction, nor hiding feelings and convictions. But it does avoiding expressing too many opinions or talking too loudly. It means choosing to not always take the lead in situations (leave room for others!). It means cultivating a servant attitude and a submissive attitude when appropriate. And lastly, it means inviting God’s Spirit into our hearts.

All of these practical ideas are helpful, but they’re all empty without the Spirit. It is the enabling power that produces the unfading beauty God wants us to have in our lives. As we open our hearts to the Jesus and seek Him first and always, His Spirit will live in us and began to change us into the beautiful young women He wants us to be. Do you want to be beautiful? Just ask Him in.

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By Danae Rittenour. Copyright © 2011 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®.

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