Summary: The world in which we live isn't shy about telling us what a beautiful woman looks like but is this the beauty that God would have us chase after? God's idea of beauty differs vastly from society's idea of beauty - but which beauty are we running after?
Beautiful in God’s Sight - 2 Timothy 1:3-10 - May 8, 2011
Well I think it is pretty safe to say that “beauty” is big business these days, isn’t it? Would you women agree with that statement? When you take into account everything from hair care, to make up, to nails, to clothes, to body shape and size – and who knows what else – I mean let’s face it - I’m a guy – I just don’t know all these things – but when you take all of them into account it’s probably even more accurate to say that the “pursuit of beauty” is big business, isn’t it? Even from young childhood girls are bombarded with images and advertising that scream out to them, “This is what you should be reaching for! This is what you should look like! This is what it means to be beautiful!”
As I stood in line at the grocery store the other day I found I had some time on my hands. There’s not much to do while you wait in line at a grocery store other than look around, is there? That’s why they place the “impulse” items at the checkout stands – things like gum and chocolate bars and magazines.
Now I didn’t have a desire for gum, and not really a big fan of chocolate bars, but I do enjoy reading, and so as I waited for my turn at the till, I scanned the cover of those magazines. Let me tell you – it didn’t take long for so common themes to begin to emerge.
The target audience was clearly women. Each and every magazine had a picture of an attractive, and often scantily clad woman, on the front cover. Nearly all of the headlines had to do with some new beauty secret, or articles on how to look your best for your man, or tips to a better body. As far as I could tell nearly every article had something to do with a woman’s outer beauty, and the model or actress on the cover, was being held up as an example of what every woman ought to be.
Now I can’t help but think that for women in our society there must be an immense amount of pressure to cultivate this aura of outer beauty that is so appealing to the flesh, and that you’re told you need to have, if you are to have any intrinsic worth as a person. It’s a message our society proclaims in many different ways and it’s a message our daughters are hearing at ever younger ages. But it’s also a message that is not of God.
Let me read for you again a portion of the passage from 1 Peter 3 that _____________ read for us a few minutes ago. Peter writes to the women of faith reminding them that 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. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. 1 Peter 3:3-5
Those are words that I hope every woman, and every young girl in our congregation, takes to heart this morning, and I hope it’s something that the men here consider as well. The beauty that the world pursues is temporary. It is fleeting and it will almost assuredly pass away. That which is smooth begins to wrinkle, that which is firm begins to sag, and so it goes.
I remember a bumper sticker I saw one day many years ago. It said, “Beauty is only skin deep. Ugly goes to the bone.” It’s true to an extent. I’ve certainly met people like that – you probably have too – they look great on the outside, but when you get past their looks, that which is left, is not at all pleasing. And we have seen it the other way too, haven’t we? Someone who is perhaps not physically beautiful, in the eyes of the world, but who, once you get to know them, shines with a beauty that comes from deep within.
The word of God tells us that a woman should be far more concerned with an inner beauty that will endure, rather than an outer beauty, that will one day pass away. It goes for the guys too – though guys aren’t looking to be beautiful – for guys it’s more wanting to be ripped, or fit, or whatever – and so they hit the gym, or take up jogging or cycling to get in shape. And there’s nothing wrong with a woman being beautiful, or a guy being fit, but as it says in 1 Timothy 4, physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. 1 Timothy 4:8 You don’t want to pursue beauty, or fitness, or health, if it comes at the cost of godliness and a heart that is pleasing to God.