Sometimes I feel guilty about trying to look beautiful. Every once in a while I’ll hear people say that Christian girls shouldn’t wear makeup because its vain. Maybe its because I have a weakness of letting what people think effect me, but seriously, I feel put away after hearing comments like that.
Ever since I was a little girl I had a deep desire to look pretty. To make my room look cute. To knit something that I would love to wear. To cook something that would become a family favorite. I always thought that seeking beauty in my appearance, decorating, photography, and in basically anything I did was a good thing. Obviously, making something look unseemly wasn’t really something to be commended for…
But when I hear people say that its ‘more spiritual’ to go without makeup or others automatically assume I have self-esteem issues when I wear makeup, I wonder if they think beauty doesn’t matter to God.
Now I’m not trying to say that beauty is the most important thing to God. It’s not. Nothing in a person’s appearance impresses God. God is very clear that what is in the heart matters most. God looks at the inner beauty, the beauty of one’s heart. Beauty to him is someone who trusts in him, is obedient, meek, loving, with a quiet and gentle spirit. (1 Peter 3:3-5)
But I believe with all my heart that God does value beauty. Why?
- God is beautiful. Check out Psalm 27:4, “…that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple” (ESV). 1 Chronicles 16:29 says, “Give to the Lord the glory due His name; Bring an offering, and come before Him. Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness!” (NKJV).
- If God didn’t care about beauty then why in the world did he make sunsets? Or hundreds of different flowers in vast arrays of color? Beauty matters to God. I mean, just look outside!
If beauty is important to God, it should also be something his followers take seriously too. I love this quote by Edith Schaeffer:“It is true that all men are created in the image of God, but Christians are supposed to be conscious of that fact, and being conscious of it should recognize the importance of living artistically, aesthetically, and creatively, as creative creatures of the Creator. If we have been created in the image of an Artist, then we should look for expressions of artistry, and be sensitive to beauty, responsive to what has been created for us”.
And this quote too: “A messy life speaks of a messy-an incoherent-faith”, says Elisabeth Elliot. She continues, “We are the creatures of a great master Designer, and His ordering of our lives is sure and certain, yet many people live without any visible order or peace or serenity. The way we live ought to manifest the truth of what we believe.” “The way you keep your house, the way you organize your time, the care you take in your personal appearance, the things you spend your money on all speak loudly about what you believe. ‘The beauty of Thy peace’ shines forth in an ordered life. A disordered life speaks loudly of disorder in the soul.”
Please understand that I’m not saying that makeup (or fancy clothes or even working toward having an ‘ideal’ body) is by itself a good thing. It can become a means of pridefully trying to look better than everyone else or always having to look our absolute best whenever we are around another human being. Each of us are different with different struggles, weaknesses, and convictions. Its important to be in prayer and be sensitive to God’s leading us as individuals.
But I believe that since beauty (in how we care for and present our bodies, in how we keep our homes clean and orderly) is important to God. The Proverbs 31 woman is a great example of this. Proverbs 31:21-22, 25a says “She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet. She makes bed coverings for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple … Strength and dignity are her clothing”.
She was a woman who was respected in her community and dressed according to her position. Yes beauty is fleeting (Proverbs 31:30) and God looks at the heart, but when interacting with the outside world, a God-following woman will dress for the situation. This may mean wearing makeup and fancy clothes to a formal event or dressing and looking more casual if its not so fancy, as not to draw attention to herself for the wrong reasons. For some of us showing dignity might mean having a hairstyle that is flattering, wearing simple accessories or just wearing a smile and having an accepting, friendly disposition.
“We are children of the King. We are ambassadors for Christ. As such, we should always be dressed with the dignity and poise that the occasion calls for. Sometimes that may mean make-up and jewelry, sometimes not. In every situation, however, we should present ourselves appropriately.” (compellingtruth.org)