Have you ever been told by beauty consultants or beauty products promoters that in this world there are no ugly women, only lazy women? That means women who want to be beautiful have hope. They just need to do something or buy something to get onto the road of becoming beautiful.
We all know it, the till will always be ringing for beauty services and beauty product companies. Colourful advertisements in fashion magazines, bill boards, departmental stores, and even at bus stops, bear testimony of the flourishing industry in these services and products. It used to be that such services and products tend to attract mature or older women who would go to great lengths to maintain or regain youthful looks. It also costs money which older women can better afford. However, more and more, the age factor is moving south. Teenagers too are beginning to agonize over some parts of their body or facial features that they are not satisfied with, or some simply jump onto the bandwagon to follow the trend. I remember reading in the Straits Times some time ago, a report on youths in Korea who went for plastic surgery to have eye bag implants. It was the “in” thing and it made them feel good to be in the trend. At least they think they look good. Indeed, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.
To a large extent media has exerted a powerful influence on the quest to become beautiful. Television programmes on extreme makeovers presenting the before and after effects of plastic surgery, make-up artistry, grooming, and others, do get women, even men, very excited when the results of the collaborative efforts are finally revealed before the eyes of the immediate family members, friends and the audience. There is always the WOW! response, not just from the audience but from the viewers too. Programmes like that and the feel-good-look-good factor will entice many women to try it out for themselves.
What television often does not feature is the botched jobs in plastic surgeries but Youtube offer plenty of such incidents to remind viewers that plastic surgery does not always offer a “happily ever after” solution. There are risks involved, and there is a price to pay. Sometimes the damage is irreversible. The enhancements would also need regular maintenance in the long haul because nature cannot be prevented from taking its course.
At what costs are you prepared to pay to look beautiful? Or, which part of your features or body are you unhappy with?
At a recent session of the FLOURISH programme for women conducted by Julia’s Hope, a ministry for women under OC Resources (Singapore), we took to the topic of beauty with a refined focus.
Both the participants and facilitators at the session were reminded that “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, 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 Peter 3: 3,4)
This kind of beauty is an unfading beauty that is of greater value than the temporary enhancements that the world offers to women of all ages. Indeed there is a greater hope for women who want to be beautiful! The good news is that it does not require plastic surgery, or cosmetics, which cost a lot of money for it is not about the outward appearance or the outward adornment to enhance the looks.
It is about becoming beautiful from the inside out. It is beauty in the inner self. The beauty we ought to pursue is that of an unfading beauty – a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. There is still a cost involved. It will cost you time and energy but it is a worthwhile lifetime investment and its value is beyond measure.
What is a gentle and quiet spirit?
The clue lies in our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the supreme example of a gentle and quiet spirit. Yet in that gentleness Jesus was no pushover. He spoke and taught with power and authority. He rebuked when that was needful. There was strength in his gentleness.
Someone with a gentle and quiet spirit is not to be mistaken as someone who is weak in character. There is quiet strength that is displayed in challenging circumstances.
A gentle and quiet spirit is not something like a nice and expensive piece of clothing that we put on or an act that we put up to show people that we have it. It is also not something that money can buy. It is the work of the Holy Spirit pruning and honing our hearts to be more like Jesus.
The transformation will not happen overnight or be completed in a day, a week or even a year. The transformation will take us through our lifetime. It is the evidence of a close and intimate relationship with the Lord.
This brings to my mind an elderly lady I met many years ago at my workplace. She was a foreign missionary serving in Singapore with her husband. They were invited to share their mission work at the Christian fellowship meeting at my office. The two silver haired servants of God were talking to each other in whispers before the meeting began and then the husband had to make a dash home to collect a video that was vital for their sharing. The lady was left seated and waiting quietly for her husband’s return to resume the meeting. She could not do anything except to wait. She was not uncomfortable or fidgety. She just sat quietly. The rest of us waited in the room with her. It was in that few minutes of waiting that I had a chance to catch a glimpse of her countenance which etched a deep impression and desire in me. I saw in her a gentle and quiet spirit and her face was aglow with the radiance of Christ’s love. I cannot describe sufficiently with words what I saw in her that day, except that she looked radiant and beautiful. It was not intentional on her part to display such a countenance. She was probably not even aware of it. I was convinced that it was the evidence of her deep love for Jesus and I remember till this day how she made me desire to be like her if I get to live to her age. I too want to radiate the love of Christ from my heart and countenance to draw people to Him, the one and only source of love and light.
How can we be aglow with the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit?
1)“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” Matthew 22: 37
When we love the Lord wholeheartedly we will desire to be like Him and live our lives to delight Him. He is the One who transforms us and makes us more beautiful as we spend time with Him and enjoy an intimate relationship with Him. He made us bearers of His image.
2) “Draw near to God and he will draw near to you.” James 4: 8
Take delight in the Lord’s company. He is always with you, every moment of the day.
3) “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” Colossians 3: 2
We have a choice to choose between pursuing after beauty that is skin deep which the world offers in abundance or to seek after an unfading beauty that is of great worth in God’s sight. Choose wisely.