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“Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. 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. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands” (1 Peter 3:1-5). 

First, let me say what this post is not; it is not a statement regarding wives’ submission to their husbands (although this passage clearly speaks to the complimentarian role God has designed for families). This post is about the tragedy of what our society is saying and doing to women, young an old alike. The not-so-subtle message is clear; your value and worth is based on the way you look. Society views women primarily from an external perspective, not an internal one. In other words, their beauty is really only skin deep. 

And this message is pervasive. Even the grocery store checkout line screams at women, “This is the way you are supposed to look to be beautiful.” Cosmopolitan, Redbook, and a host of other periodicals shamelessly portray women as physical objects to be look at and lusted over and not God’s creatures to be cared for and adored for their inner qualities. Both men (especially men) and women are guilty of promoting the false notion that a real woman’s appeal is about visible adornment and “looks.” This, in my opinion, has done much to alter many females’ view of their worth and led to a myriad of eating disorders and obsessions. This tragic and shameful. 

To my point, the quote that is the title of this post came from a 5 year old girl at church. These were her words when a Sunday School teacher encouraged her to be an example to the younger kids. This isn’t a negative commentary on her, her parents, or the values and principles espoused by this family. On the contrary, I know otherwise. They are pursuers of Christ and I believe they are in no way suggesting to their precious daughter that her value and worth is to be found in her appearance. Which makes her remark even more disturbing! No, this is a commentary on our culture. For even this small, innocent child can’t escape the insidious and ubiquitous message from our society, in all its forms, that assails her. Like so many others, she is hearing the distinctly worldly mantra that beauty is physical and not spiritual. 

But isn’t this the MO of so many of today’s celebrities. Their fame is not predicated on class and character (or even talent). On the contrary, misbehavior coupled with physical attractiveness have garnered them fame and fortune. Paris Hilton, Nicole Ritchie, and Kim Kardashian come to mind. But there are so many more. Just watch a snippet of The Bachelor and you quickly get the message – looks prevail and character is boring. Their appeal is not based on talent, intellect, or spiritual wisdom. It is based upon their so-called beauty and outlandish, rebellious behavior and nothing more. Whatever happened to “pretty is as pretty does?” 

And for these celebrities, and the millions of children, teenagers, and even mature, adult women that are swayed by such nonsense, I’m truly sad. They live lives seeking to achieve something that has no real value (according to God’s Word). And if they do find some sort of acceptance based upon their looks they rarely enjoy it (still thinking they are not beautiful or thin enough) and find it empty and fleeting (age is a cruel tyrant). Most women can’t measure up to the “cover girl” image and feel inferior that they don’t. And if they do accept themselves physically, checking out at the grocery store, a quick glance at a billboard, the constant current of “sexy” internet and TV advertisements, and Hollywood in general will quickly remind them of what they aren’t. 

So here’s my recommendation to Christian women (actually all women): Don’t buy the lie! Read the passage above over and over. And then saturate yourself in Proverbs 31:10 -31 and 1 Timothy 2:9-15. Read the book of Ruth and see the Lord’s view of a godly woman in her and Naomi’s story. Know and believe that your value to God (and truly godly men) is found in your faith, not your fashion; your heart, not your hair; your spirit, not your size. Then adorn yourself with the beauty that only God can give, a beauty that never fades but increasingly grows and glows through the light that He has put within you. And that is the light of Jesus Himself, the light of the world. And what could be more beautiful than that?

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