While I was working on the completion of Simply Dressed I kept thinking about what God has to say when it comes to our appearance and beauty.
How does He define beauty in the Bible?
Satan was planting seeds of doubt in my writing time with thoughts such as:
“This is vain and unimportant to try and encourage women to dress everyday and to clean out their closets.”
“There are so many more important topics to discuss”
“God does not like beauty so neither should you.”
All of those statements are lies. God does like beauty because God created beautiful things.
Look around, especially now as spring is blooming. There is beauty in nature and, despite what current pop-culture fads deems as “beautiful”, God created us beautiful in His image (Genesis 1:27).
We are His creation and just as we see the beauty all around us in nature, God sees the true beauty in us.
Yet as women, we often don’t think of ourselves as beautiful. We are constantly bombarded with images of celebrities and models who, according to other’s standards, seem to have the “perfect body.” We follow fashion and beauty tips to enhance our physical appearance all the while ignoring what truly makes us beautiful.
Every one of us probably has some sort of daily beauty routine that we go through from washing our faces, getting dressed, applying makeup, brushing our teeth or styling our hair. None of those are wrong and most of those things are necessary. But we need to remember that true beauty begins with a solid foundation of faith, love, and trust in God.
We can’t forget that part of our daily routine should be time spent with God, in His Word and in communication with Him through prayer. Whether that be in the morning, later in the day or in the evening, we NEED that time with Him everyday to build on the foundation of our faith.
This should be the first step in our daily beauty routine.
The second step is outlined a bit more in 1 Timothy 2:9-10:
likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for woman who profess godliness- with good works.
While this passage is often misinterpreted and not really understood (I actually dive into the full interpretation in my eBook Simply Dressed), it does serve as a guide.
When we combine our faith, love and trust in God with good works, we are actively displaying what true biblical beauty looks like.
So what are good works?
Here is that part that starts to get a little sticky. While we don’t have a works based faith (meaning that we can’t change the way God loves us despite how much work we do), we do have a calling to show others love through our works. Where some start to question is whether or not our good works take away from the gospel, after all, Christ died for our sins so we wouldn’t be punished. But Matthew 5:16 points out that “our good works give glory to our Father who is in Heaven.”
Good works are the physical, tangible ways that we show acts of kindness, love, service, hospitality and blessings to others. As women who love God with all our hearts, good works are how we adorn ourselves to show beauty.
There are many scripture references that emphasis the good works of all believers, just look up Titus 2:3-5, Proverbs 31:3, 1 Peter 3:6 or 1 Timothy 5:9-10 just to name a few.
Good works done for the glory of God do not distract from the gospel or undermine the gospel. Good works are essential to our gospel proclamation. They promote Christ’s reputation, they bring glory to God, and they make us beautiful for the sake of the gospel. To be gospel-centered in our good works mean that we don’t rely on those good works for our righteousness before God or our forgiveness from Him. We are accepted before God only because of Christ’s death and resurrection. We are able to stand before God only because of the righteousness of Jesus Christ. We do good works because we received forgiveness, not in order to earn forgiveness. True Beauty by Carolyn Mahaney and Nicole Whitacre
How do good works make us beautiful?
In 1 Timothy 5:10, Paul is sharing wisdom about widows but in doing so, he is also describing what true, Biblical beauty in Christian women should look like by describing acts of self-service and sacrifice in terms of doing good works to show God’s love to others.
… and having a reputation for good works: if she has brought up children, has shown hospitality, has washed the feet of the saints, has cared for the afflicted, and has devoted herself to every good work.
Here in this small passage, Paul is describing different categories of good works as a guide for what Biblical beauty looks like and how this should be combined with our own personal beauty routine to make us truly beautiful.
Bringing Up Children
You may be a mother, either by birth or through adoption, a grandmother, aunt, teacher, friend or neighbor. You may not be in a season where you are responsible for the daily care of children, or you may be elbow deep in diapers, trucks and temper-tantrums.
Regardless of what season of life you are in, at some point, you are called to show God’s love to children, either in church, in school, or to family members. Children are precious to God (Matt 19:14) therefore they should be precious to us.
We are called to teach and train them diligently (Deut 6:7) and to bring them up in the instruction of the Lord (Eph 6:4).
Motherhood can be hard work and most days we certainty don’t feel beautiful while we are covered in spit up or when a diaper exploded on us. We feel grumpy, grouchy and exhaustion from lack of sleep or correcting the same discipline problem for the 100th time that day. It’s hard, dirty work but it’s also so rewarding as well.
When we show hospitality to those around us, we are meeting the needs of others. Perhaps you are taking a meal to a family with a new baby, welcoming a new neighbor into your home for food and fellowship or simply offering your time to someone who needs it.
Showing hospitality can come in different ways but the true example of hospitality, we need to look no farther than Jesus Christ.
When he died on the cross for the redemption of our sins, He showed the ultimate act of hospitality. Because of what Christ did for us, we who believe are welcome into the household of God. When we show others acts of service through hospitality, we are ultimately reflecting God’s love which in turns is revealing biblical beauty.
Washing the Feet of Saints
Thankfully to the invention of shoes and paved sidewalks, we don’t have to walk through dirt and mud which would cover our feet with filth. Back in biblical times though, washing feet was another act of service because it was a dirty job and one that wasn’t looked on with reverence. After all, who wants to wash smelly, stinky feet?
But think about the dirty, or undesired tasks, that need to be done on a daily basis? Washing diapers, scrubbing floors, sweeping up Cheerios for the umpteenth time, or whatever mundane, the household tasks you do to serve your family on a daily basis.
Then there is the service that you do outside of your family when you volunteer, serve in your church or community or go on a mission trip. We may not be physically washing feet these days but giving our time and talents in service to build the kingdom of God is honorable.
Caring for the Afflicted
There are so many around us in our circles that are hurting, in pain, or suffering, whether they be physically sick or suffering from a heartache of losing a family member or dream. We should be following Jesus’ example of caring for and showing love to those who needed it most, just look to Isaiah 53:3, Psalm 34:18 or 2 Corinthians 1:4.
Bless the woman who brought you a meal when you needed it most, sent an encouraging card or kissed your boo-boos when you were a child. Similarly, you can show love and hospitality to those around you who need it most to display biblical beauty.
Devoted to Every Good Work
All of these traits are related to being available and open to show hospitality. Having a heart that is eager, ready and willing is beautiful, both to God and to those around you who you are blessing with your good works.
Through these different characteristics of service we are also sharing the good news of God, which is something that we are called to do. It is our call as believers to evangelize, or to share the message of God’s love which is a message about the beauty that God created which was then lost but restored through Christ.
As we trust God and do good works, we will be beautiful in the eyes of those we serve, and most importantly, be precious in the sight of God.
Biblical beauty is often not acknowledged or sought after in this day and age. It’s not popular and often times it’s downright controversial. But as women who love God with all our hearts, and women who not only want to look good on the outside, we should be seeking to be made beautiful in God’s eyes.
How do you define Biblical beauty?