Is it wrong to want to look your best? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
Recently, I had someone making a remark about a Christian about how good they looked and asked about it. Aren’t Christians supposed to not be vain? Do we just disregard appearances and look only at the heart? That’s what 1 Samuel tells us God does, isn’t it? Is it wrong if a woman decides she’s going to buy make-up?
Now to remove a possible bias at the start here, let me say that I really just don’t care for make-up. My Princess is beautiful enough without it. I’d rather save the money and spend it on other things that can help us out, but she does wear it some to give herself a more feminine feel so it’s an area I’m willing to compromise on.
Christians do know that the heart of a person is what is important, but that does not mean that the body is unimportant. The body is not this add-on that we’ve been given that is irrelevant. It is something that we are supposed to take care of and cherish. It is the means through which other people see us and we interact with them. In physical affection, the love that the man and woman have for one another is expressed in the body and the greatest expression is in the ultimate act of trust.
Many times in the Bible when a female character is introduced, her beauty can be spoken of. Abigail is described as wise and beautiful. Esther is known for her beauty as well. In fact, the Bible commends in the love relationship the beauty that a man finds in a woman. Look at Proverbs 5:18-19.
18 May your fountain be blessed,
and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth.
19 A loving doe, a graceful deer—
may her breasts satisfy you always,
may you ever be intoxicated with her love.
Odds are you will never hear this passage discussed in church. By all means, if you’re discussing intimate topics like this, let it be known so that parents with small children can take them to the nursery if they want to, but these issues need to be talked about. This is especially so for our young people. Our young women particularly need to know that they are beautiful and there is nothing wrong with striving for beauty but please save that beauty for a man who deserves it, that is, one who puts a wedding ring on your finger and says I do. Then after that is done, bless him with that beauty. It’s one of the reasons that he married you!
In fact, I could go on to the Song of Songs which even more explicitly expresses the beauty of the male and the female. I also think that I stress the beauty of the female because believe it or not ladies, you’re much more beautiful than we men are. I think with us, there’s not much to really look at. For women, even among other women the beauty of the female is something amazing. As a married man, I can certainly say that I don’t know what it is about my wife’s beauty, but whenever I get blessed with all of her beauty, I am indeed blessed.
Just recently, we had the solar eclipse. A man we saw on the news said it was the second most beautiful thing he had ever seen. I was convinced at that point that he had to be married and was saying that nothing compared in beauty to his wife. If so, I agree.
“But Nick! Don’t you know about 1 Peter? Peter says that a woman’s beauty is her inner beauty.”
1 Peter 3:1-6
Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, 2 when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. 3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. 4 Rather, 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.5 For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves. They submitted themselves to their own husbands, 6 like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her lord.You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.
Yes. There is a great emphasis on a wife listening to her husband here and having her beauty come from within instead of through outward adornment. However, nothing in here condemns outward adornment. In fact, we can safely say that if the woman ever went out in public, she would have to have something on outward. There is indeed something beautiful to a man when his wife does treat him like this, but that is not to say that nothing else can be used. Peter is telling us that if the focus of our beauty is in what we wear externally instead of being beautiful on the inside, we’re missing the point. There’s nothing wrong with both.
In fact, the Bible has both used. When Esther is to appear before the king, she gets the beauty treatments that are recommended.
“That’s a pagan king so of course!”
What about Ruth and Boaz? When it comes time for Ruth to ask for Boaz to be the kinsman-redeemer and marry her. Her mother-in-law, Naomi, tells her to wash, put on her perfume, and her best clothes. She wants Ruth to make the best impression that she can on Boaz.
By the way ladies, if you are married and you want to make yourself more beautiful, your husband will find it much easier to stand out of the way and let you do this. A beautiful wife to him is a badge of honor. How you treat yourself is a reflection of how you treat him. At the same time, if you’re married to a godly man, he will always find you beautiful, but do strive to be the best for him because marriage is for life and for all you know, you’re the only one he’ll ever be with.
If this sounds focusing on the ladies, that’s true for the men also. Men need to strive to be the best they can be for their wives. If you think that woman is truly pleasing to you and such a great gift, then you should be living your life every day in that way.
This focus also reminds me of an article recently by Gary Thomas about the idea of being good in bed. Some of you might even be shocked that such an issue is brought up and if you are, that’s part of the problem. Thomas talks about a movie where the girl tells the guy this. The problem he thought of was why didn’t he ever ask himself that question?
You see, when you’re single, you can find several publications that can tell you how to be good in bed to please your lover, but this isn’t discussed at all with marriage really. The question doesn’t even come up. This despite the fact that in Christian marriage, that person you’re making love to is the only one you’ll be making love to and you will be the one they make love to. Shouldn’t you strive that it be the best for that person and that person strive to make it the best for you?
And of course, this goes to other fields. What kind of communicator are you? How good are you at whatever it is that you bring to the relationship? Are you looking out for your own interests or for those of your spouse? Do you look at sex, housework, careers, or anything else as a duty that you just have to do or a way to be eager about something that you can use to please your spouse?
This includes beauty. I often wish I could have an even better body for my Princess. Unfortunately, with a steel rod on my spine designed for a certain weight, I really can’t gain weight so I will never have the really muscular body I’d like to have for Allie, but I can maintain what I do have for her good and work on my attitude as well.
I will also say I certainly take the time to appreciate Allie’s beauty. When I need something positive to think about throughout the day, I often think about her beauty and many times I can be left spellbound as I can’t believe I get trusted with a gift so sacred. Her beauty is one of the great motivators for me to be a better person.
When it becomes vanity is when you make it all about you and don’t work on your inner character. It is vanity when it becomes a source of pride and you think yourself better than everyone else because of beauty. That kind of attitude is often quite ugly in fact. Be realistic and delight in your beauty, but also recognize it as a gift. Be beauitful also because you represent a beautiful God.