Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Outer Beauty Is Important to God


Caught you with that title, huh?

Christian women are taught that a gentle and quiet spirit is the only thing making us beautiful in God's eyes. I agree it is the foundation of true beauty, bringing God great pleasure. But if a gentle and quiet spirit is the only quality defining beautiful, explain something to me.

Why do all women want to possess physical beauty?

PLEASE don't tell me it's only me. What's with little girls wanting to be princesses and big girls making memories in beautiful prom dresses? Why do grown women swoon when their little boys say they're pretty and their husbands call them beautiful? Is the entire female population vain? Did Eve start a revolution biting into that stinkin' apple?

As an overweight teenager, I searched the Bible for answers about beauty. I delighted in 1 Samuel 16:7, "Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart," confirming my outside didn't matter as much to God as my big heart. But then I looked down a few verses to 1 Samuel 16:12 and saw God describe David as "ruddy, with a fine appearance and handsome features." If God is concerned about our hearts, why does it matter what David looks like?

Scouring my Bible for references of "beautiful" women, I hoped to find each possessed an inner quality to support their beauty. In over a dozen cases, I found an inner strength mentioned in only three. Why does God refer to their outer beauty at all if He only looks at their hearts? Why is it significant enough to mention?

Does God place value on our looks? (Don't worry, this made me squirm too.) Is this the reason we have this desire to be beautiful?

I say yes and here's why.

We are made in His image.
"From Zion, perfect in beauty, God shines forth." (Psalm 50:2)
The Bible says He is beautiful. Should we not reflect His beauty?

God uses our outward appearance to attract others to Him through us.
God may be more concerned about our hearts, but we live in a world of people He expects us to reach.

Our beauty is a tool He uses to fulfill His plans.
Think of Esther. If she were not physically beautiful, she would not have been queen and the Jews would have been exterminated.

I don’t mean to completely confuse anyone here. Yes, we should be more concerned about cultivating a quiet heart than a knockout body, but too often Christians are lackadaisical in caring for their bodies, thinking it not important in God’s eyes. God expects us to do the best we can with the goods He's given us. We are to cultivate BOTH inner and outer beauty. Though it may not be popular, I’m taking a deep breath and saying it out loud.

Outer beauty IS important to God, not as important as our hearts, but part of the total BEAUTIFUL package He's created in us.

I've got more to say on this subject, but I'll save it for tomorrow. Be sure to check in again then.

What do you think? Is our outward beauty important to God?



Photo Credit: RejiK

16 comments:

Angela said...

As one who has been released from 110 lbs and still counting, as one who for a very long time did not care about her appearance (well I did, but depression, laziness and procrastination was heavy upon me) I did not 'care' for this body, this outer body (still the temple of God's).

"God expects us to do the best we can with the goods He's given us. We are to cultivate BOTH inner and outer beauty."

amen sister.

Powerful devotional and one that God has been bringing me too. The good work that He started, He is completing in His time. Softening my heart to His teachings, His leading, setting me free from the lies I believed for so long...

"Outer beauty IS important to God, not as important as our hearts, but part of the total BEAUTIFUL package He's created in us."

again I say,,AMEN AMEN AMEN.

Kelly said...

Hiya, Tami. :) I understand what you are trying to say, but I wonder when we focus on "outward appearance" who or what is defining BEAUTY for us? I immediately thought of Isaiah 53:2,3 and the words we read about Jesus outward appearance. "He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in His appearance that we should desire Him. He was despised and rejected by men,a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. "

Not that this verse nullifies your points, but it makes me think.......does this mean that if we are not physically attractive or outwardly beautiful that we can't attract others to Him or be used to fulfill His purpose? I know that's not what you were trying to say in making your points, but say you are overweight or your eyes are crossed or your form not just right? Surely, God can use those individuals too. So, wouldn't you agree that it's not so much about outward beauty vs. inward beauty, but it REALLY does come back to the heart.

On the other hand, I am so thankful that God has defined true beauty and what truly is beautiful to Him -- that gentle and quiet spirit. And for sure -- without THAT -- we can not point others to Him or fulfill His purposes. It's not that Scripture discourages women from being outwardly beautiful, but I'm not sure it explicitly encourages as being necessary and of great importance either.

When it comes to what "matters much or is of great significance" to God -- it is, from what I can see, most definitely the heart!!

Francesca said...

I really connected with this post and it helped make sense of a lot of what I have been feeling and going through lately. Thank you!

Lynn said...

Tami,

I loved this post and I absolutely believer God loves beauty. I see it all around me. I see it in people and on people. I see it in you my friend. Inside and out. Love you.. Excellent thoughts today. Hugs.

Tami Boesiger said...

Angie--You have lost 110 pounds?! Wow! Congratulations!! I'm sure you have a unique perspective on this topic. Thanks for chiming in!

Kelly--How GREAT to hear from you, friend! I agree outer beauty is not necessary or of utmost importance, or a requirement for God to use us, but too often we neglect our physical bodies which does not bring honor to Him either. I have much more to say about this tomorrow, so come back and tell me what you think then, okay? I'd LOVE to hear your honest thoughts.

Francesca--I'm glad you connected with this and happy to "meet" you!

Lynn--Hey, babe, always great to see your name in the comment box. You have a knack for warming my heart. Thanks for your kind words.

Kathleen@so much to say said...

The "in his image" teaching is one that caused me a great deal of confusion when I was younger. In fact, it wasn't until college, when my mom and I were talking about something else, that it became clear: In God's image is not physical, but the soul. The part of us that is made in His image has nothing to do with what we look like, but our souls. Our SOULS are made in God's image.

You're right, beauty can bring people to God. But I think that has more to do with God being able to use all things to His purpose than it does with physical beauty being somehow intrinsically connected to Godliness.

As you know from my post, I'm conflicted on this topic...I just always worry that we're taking human desires and trying to justify them using religious terms. Does tha tmake sense? I have a 6yo asking about The Hunt For Red October, Star Wars on the CD player, and two children getting into things, so I'm sure I'm not that coherent! :)

Tami Boesiger said...

Kathleen, so glad you read this! I don't believe beauty is connected to godliness at all. But beauty does attract others to us and once there, it gives them the opportunity to see God within us. I hope I was clear I'm not talking about investing tons of time in being a supermodel, but only making sure we do the best with what we have. If we are a temple of God shouldn't we be the best we can?

Shoot. I'm thinking a coffee date discussing this with you would be very interesting and stimulating. Too bad we live so far apart.

Thanks for your thoughts. I especially liked your worry about humans trying to justify their desires. I agree. It is a dangerous trap and one we all fall into.

Tami said...

Tami,
Thank you so much for letting me link to your post. I look forward to reading "Captivating". I will continue making my way through your archives, there is so much to glean. Thank you and bless you, Tami McIntyre

Anonymous said...

I disagree with this post. Of course God enjoys beauty or else why would he have crafted such beautiful landscapes? Why would any of his creation be so beautiful if He din't love it? But to say that it is important to cultivate outer beauty is not right. God says to me and to every other human being that we are already perfect and beautiful because we are created by Him. I'm not saying that we shouldn't take care of our bodies because we definitely should. It's a gift from him that should be cherished. But am I going to make my appearance important? No. Because God created me just as he created the flowers and the birds and the trees: naturally beautiful. Enhance your natural beauty if you choose, take care of yourself, but remember that God is not concerned about our appearance but about how we affect and relate to those around us.And we're already beautiful anyway. Just ask a man. He'll tell you how beautiful women are, even without all that work.

ken hill said...

I do not believe that physical beauty matters at all. Where does lust begin? It begins with the eyes thinking someone looks good. Media has taught us what looks good and not God. To the world the more makeup you have on and the less clothes the more beautiful you are. God is against these types of things. To God a woman whom is modestly dressed with no make up is more precious to his eyes. When God mentions beauty he is talking about how the world percieves people beautiful and ugly but not a mature born again holy, pure, righteous, Godly minded true Christian.

God's Diva said...

Thanks for saying it OUT LOUD. This devotional brings out important factors about beauty outwardly.

yansa yansomwe said...

I think that God is also in physical beauty .His all creation is beauty .Just look at the nature ,the flowers,the amazing species in the water,the animals and his description of lucifer and I am sure that Eve was super beautiful and Adam as well.Don't forget the sin deteriorated the entire creation .Now to be God's son and be his disciple all you need is to keep his word and put it in practice in your daily life.Ugly or beautiful it does not matter. it is all about the word.But whatever God gives you you have to take great care of it .mind ,soul and body. God bless you all.

Giovanna Zuniga said...

I think true beauty is the glow and radiance that comes from being close to God and receiving the freedom, forgiveness and the contentment only He can give. After all, Prov. 15 says a joyful heart makes the face cheerful. Isn't a cheerful face beautiful? Look at what Isaiah 61 says "I will greatly rejoice in the Lord;
I will be overjoyed because of my God.
For he clothes me in garments of deliverance;
he puts on me a robe symbolizing vindication.
I look like a bridegroom when he wears a turban as a priest would;
I look like a bride when she puts on her jewelry."

Marinda Rhodes said...

I am sad i know i am not beautiful from the outside i am just average. I have always been told i am average even by my own father. Your supposed to be perfect in your fathers eyes but you are not. I also am not gentle i am nice but i am very hyper and loud or goofy. It kinda hurts to know beauty is so important and it determines weather someone is important such as in the bible when the one woman become queen. Or when little girls play with princesses its like if you are beautiful you are perfect and a just adored by people no matter what. Though people like me are bullied, hated and never truly happy. I have been through a lot in life though everyone has i know but finding out more and more things from a spiritual standpoint is just upsetting me more and more. I thank you for the article though it helps to know the truth so i don't live in the fantasy world i always do. God bless you

Tami Boesiger said...

Marinda,

My, my, my, I fear I have done you a great disservice, sister. Please do not misunderstand my words. Beauty is not ONLY outward, but a whole picture--inside and out. Did you miss this statement in bold letters?

Outer beauty IS important to God, not as important as our hearts, but part of the total BEAUTIFUL package He's created in us.

When I wrote this post many years ago, I felt frustrated with people who did not take good care of themselves. I think God expects us to be the best we can be in every area of our lives.

I wonder if you read my post that talked more about this? I would encourage you to do so.

http://tamiboesiger.blogspot.com/2010/03/more-talk-on-beauty.html

The truth is God loves us. Period. We honor Him by taking good care of what He's given us. This does not mean you must be a supermodel or a Hollywood bombshell to be loved. GOD LOVES YOU! All I was trying to say here was that we should be the best version of ourselves because that brings God glory.

Do not believe the lies Satan is telling you. Do not default back to childhood hurts. Rest in what the Bible says about you. Listen to the words of Psalm 45:11, "The king is enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord." God sees you as beautiful right now, exactly how you are. I bet other people do too and you just aren't aware of it. You honor God by taking good care of yourself.

I am very sorry this caused you pain. My intention was not to say only the pretty people get used by God. My intention is to say, "Girls, we need to take good care of ourselves!!! We bring glory to God when we do."

Tami Boesiger said...

And Marinda, by the looks of your profile pic, I would definitely call you beautiful!!!!