I’m a vain, vain soul. I know this because of the inordinate amount of time I spent staring at my purple fish-scale pants when I should have been paying attention to the pastor this morning. And yesterday my coworker teased me that every time she turned around I had my scarf arranged differently. And that would have been almost true.
I can buy new clothes every month and still not have enough. I can fix up my hair (which never falls perfectly even if I’m trying) and do my makeup, wear my most stylish outfit, strut around like a peacock, and feel like I’m really quite a spectacle—and that’s not enough.
And it isn’t enough. All the outer trimmings can’t make me truly beautiful.
The Apostle Peter said, “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. 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” (1).
Someone once told me a story about a woman I know. This lady was working at a summer camp, and, as a grandmotherly woman, went to one of the girls’ cabins at bedtime to say goodnight to the girls, tell them stories and pray with them. As she gave out goodnight hugs, one of the girls said to her ‘you are the ugliest lady I ever saw’.
I was taken aback when I heard this. Ugly? The thought of this lady being ugly had never occurred to me. If I thought about it, I could reason that perhaps she wasn’t going to be on the cover of a beauty magazine. But ugly? Never. This woman, who is very dear to me, is a constant positive, smiling, encouraging presence. She has the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit.
I was convicted today, while gazing down at my purple pants, that I spend far too much time and energy on my outward appearance, and far too little on my inward appearance.
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” (2) and “the mouth speaks what the heart is full of” (3).
I’ve been praying for God to graciously show me the selfishness and hardness in my heart, and clearly this is one such example. I pray that as I know him more, this self-absorption that keeps my eyes on the mirror and on my purple pants, will dissipate, and leave behind the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.
(1) 1 Peter 3:3-4, New International Version
(2) Proverbs 4:23, New International Version
(3) Luke 6:45, New International Version
All verses taken from Bible Gateway, at http://www.biblegateway.com/