Friday, October 12, 2007

Heart Check on Beauty...

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. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear. (1 Peter 3:3-6, NIV)

Read Chapter 2 (True Beauty) from Biblical Womanhood in the Home

I am saying this quite modestly, but one of the things I praise God for is how I am not concerned too much with my looks. I like to make sure that my hair is "in place", I do wear "stylish" clothing, and on occasion I wear lipstick, but I usually don't care about what others would think about my appearance and I normally choose what to wear by the weather and occasion.

I am also thankful for the right attitude that God has given me about my health. A few years ago, God convicted me about exercise and the things I eat. In 3 years I gained over 20 pounds and wanted to lose the weight. The first time I tried losing the weight I was unsuccessful because I didn't have any goals. Then, I searched the Word about why I should exercise and the passage that convicted me was "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20, NIV)"

My body is the temple and I am to honor God with my body. When I realized that I wasn't honoring God with my body by the things I ate and how I neglected its need for exercise to keep me strong and healthy, I became motivated to do what was pleasing in God's sight. I joined a gym and worked out 3 times a week and I "studied" about what the body needs for fuel and ate mostly what I thought was necessary for my body. God, however, also created our senses to experience the pleasure of His creations and so I didn't remove foods from my diet. Instead, I learned self-control through moderation. When my heart and mind changed about these things, that's when I saw the results of weight loss. I lost 25 pounds within a year and before I got pregnant my metabolism was working so well that I didn't even have to exercise and I was still losing weight! Now that I am breast-feeding, I have kept that additional 10 pounds on, but I can tell when I start to loose my footing in honoring God with my body. I start to feel sluggish and I begin to eat everything in sight with no care.

Anyway, as I've continued reading Biblical Womanhood in the Home, chapter 2 discusses our motives about beauty. It is encouraging to know that God's main concern about our beauty is our inward selves and how we can grow more beautiful the more we are obedient to Him. He wants us to have a quiet and gentle spirit. For me, that's a lot to ask because I am far from having a quiet and gentle spirit, but what''s encouraging is that we have a goal that is attainable with God's help as opposed to outward beauty which is always unsatisfactory in the eyes of others.

Below are 10 questions asked in Biblical Womanhood in the Home to "help us discern our thoughts, motives, and goals with regard to the issue of beauty."

1. Do I spend more time daily caring for my personal appearance than I do
in Bible study, prayer, and worship?
2. Do I spend excessive money on clothes, hair, and makeup, or is it an amount that is God-honoring?
3. Do I want to lose weight to “feel better about myself,” or do I desire to be
self-disciplined for the glory of God?
4. Am I on a quest for thinness to impress others, or do I seek to cultivate eating habits that honor God?
5. Do I exercise to try to create or maintain a “good figure,” or do I exercise to
strengthen my body for God’s service?
6. Is there anything about my appearance that I wish I could change, or am I fully grateful to God for the way
He created me?
7. Am I jealous of the appearance of others, or am I truly glad when I observe other women who are more physically attractive than I?
8. Do I covet the wardrobe of others, or do I genuinely rejoice when other women
are able to afford and purchase new clothing?
9. When I attend an event or activity, do I sinfully compare myself with others, or do I go asking God to show me whom to love and how to do it?
10. Do I ever dress immodestly or with the intent of drawing attention to myself, or do I always dress in a manner that pleases God?

Asking these questions on a consistent basis can help
us weed out worldly values and cultivate a heart for God’s priorities.

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