Some Thoughts on Appearance

I was reading Scripture the other day and came upon a passage that struck me as fascinating. The passage, when originally written, was specifically for the ladies, but the principle applies to men as well.

“Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious” (1 Peter 3:3-4, ESV).

An observation I made was that the problem is not the act of adorning, but how you go about it, or better said, what type of adorning you will primarily focus on.

In this passage, the apostle Peter seems to emphasize the importance of the inner person. In today’s culture, people praise and admire external and superficial appearance. Why? Well, for starters, all we see and hear through the media is culture’s unbiblical perspective of beauty.

We are constantly being bombarded with an unhealthy view and definition of beauty (just look at Hollywood). Believe it or not, we are heavily influenced by such a view to the point that we judge ourselves and others based on that standard.

In a culture that values superficial appearance, one has to ask, “Where are those who are known for their inner person and good character and moral values?” “Where are those who strive to be godly and pure and modest?”

True beauty comes from within a person and it flows outward. Now, do not misunderstand me, there is nothing wrong with adorning ourselves. (I think that God is pleased when we look and feel good about our appearance. Wouldn’t you agree?) But the problem is that sometimes we make our appearance our number one priority and focus, to the extent of neglecting our own personal character development (and worst, we forget about God).

True beauty begins and ends with God. Let me explain what I mean. You and I were created in the image of God and that is not just an old, outdated Bible fact, but a relevant one that has many implications for our daily lives.That means that you and I do not have to look a certain way to have value and meaning because we already have it in Jesus Christ. That’s revolutionary!

You and I are beautiful in God’s eyes. Now, let me be honest, it is so hard to accept that truth sometimes because we have the tendency to base our worth and value on performance alone.

To sum things up, our definition of beauty should come from God, and our perception of beauty should be grounded and firmly rooted in our identity in Christ (read Eph. 1:3-14) and not in our external appearance.

What a difference it will make when you and I accept the truth of God’s Word—that we are beautifully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14)—and live in light of that reality!