Friday, August 15, 2008

Top to Toe For Women: In Pursuit of True Beauty

Below is a post I wrote for the CBMW blog yesterday. I hope you enjoy it!

Recently, Randy Stinson addressed the problem of self-preoccupation among modern men, but, the principles he set forth apply to women as well. He explained that biblical manhood should not be characterized by an excessive delight in self-pampering, but rather a Christ-like, self-sacrifice that places others wants and needs before our own—all so others might see Christ. In the same vein, Christian womanhood should include more self-sacrifice than self-preoccupation. This is not to say that women should give up on proper hygiene, shopping, or even getting their nails done. The Bible only says that women should not be hoping in those things for their value and worth—rather they should be hoping in God (1 Peter 3:3-5). It is important to note that the Bible is not silent about beauty. God has much to say about such things.

Mrs. Mary Mohler, wife of seminary President and Council Member, R. Albert Mohler Jr., addresses beauty at the Capitol Hill Baptist Church women's retreat. Mrs. Mohler's teaching and humble spirit is a tremendous gift to all in the church, especially women. She encourages us to see that beauty is important to God. While dispelling the notion that femininity equals frumpiness, she also dispels the idea that femininity equals "dressing to the nines" all of the time. God, being the Creator of the Universe, has created beauty and the beauty that displays his creation is what we should pursue. But, beauty is not simply defined by external appearance. There are examples of biblical characters, like Absalom, who destroyed themselves, and others, because they did not give praise to God for their beauty—their beauty was merely external. Beauty is both an internal and external desire in the life of the believing woman.
But we must separate biblically defined beauty from worldly beauty. Worldly beauty is empty. After giving us a framework for seeing beauty, Mrs. Mohler exhorts us to see that the world's understanding of beauty is empty. She discusses the danger of vanity and cautions us to not make an idol out of worldly beauty because it will eventually fade. What doesn't fade is the beauty of a woman who has spent her life in front of the mirror of God's Word, rather than the mirror in her bathroom.

God cares about beauty. But the point of beauty is not our own glorification. God designed beauty for our enjoyment and for his glory—so we should take an interest in how we look, but not for man's empty praise. We should care about how we look because we want the Creator of our features to be praised for his handiwork. If we spend our time adorning ourselves only, we will miss the point. We cannot hope in the empty promises of a $90 straightener and Great Lash mascara. Rather we should be adorned by the Word of God. This looks differently in other women, but the goal of our femininity is so people will see Christ in greater measure, not our fancy clothes and manicured nails. So let us not be ashamed to recognize true beauty as we see it, but let us also put our hope in Jesus blood and righteousness, lest we think on that final day that it's our trendy outfit and size-2-body that will save us.

Mrs. Mohler's messages are excellent, and I would highly encourage you to follow the links to listen to them. May God bless you greatly as you listen. You can access her talks here and here


Andrew Case said...

Very balanced and well-said. Encouraging to read. Thanks for taking the time to write it and help others think through this tough balancing act.

cdt said...

Thank you, Andrew!