We’ve grown up hearing the terms ‘it’s what’s on the inside that counts’ and ‘beauty comes from within’. We might agree, we might even believe it at the time, yet in the back of our minds some of us still place so much value on how we look and how others think we look, not what’s on the inside.
The media, fashion industry, beauty magazines, and private companies try to force their products on us, and because of this they act like physical appearance is our most important asset. They push their biased opinions and images in our faces and in the faces of impressionable youth, telling us how we can improve our looks if we buy this and that. How we can look and feel great if we do this or that. But why do we need to look good to feel good? What’s wrong with feeling good, no matter how we look?
Beauty comes from within
As cliché as it is, beauty really does come from within, from what’s in your heart. Someone may be attractive on the outside, but once they start talking, you can be instantly repelled. Or someone may not be your idea of a ‘good-looking’ person, but when you get to know them you completely forget about that first impression you had of them.
We shouldn’t be putting all our focus on our physical appearance. No matter how we display ourselves on the outside, it’s our personalities and what’s in our hearts that we really need to have going for us.
Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, 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 (NIV)
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder
‘Beauty’ is subjective. What one person finds attractive might be unattractive to someone else. What one person values in another is different for each person.
While the human race places value on physical beauty, God values our hearts. We shouldn’t place value on physical appearance, simply because God judges us based on what’s on the inside.
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” — 1 Samuel 16:7 (NIV)
Whose approval would you rather have? The people of the world, or God?
Physical beauty is fleeting
Even if you did conform to what the world thinks is physically beautiful, it wouldn’t be for long. Trends change every day, every season, every year. What’s admired one day is old news the next. And then there’s the dreaded issue of ageing. Yes, we will get old and wrinkled. People don’t like that, either. And then what? Make up, anti-ageing creams, superfoods, plastic surgery? After all that, we die.
- Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. — Proverbs 31:30 (NIV)
Do we really want to spend our one short life ‘perfecting’ our physical bodies that will one day return to dust, and not perfecting our spirit, that will one day return to our creator, the creator of the universe, God (Ecclesiastes 12:7)?
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. — 2 Corinthians 4:16–18 (NIV)
We’re not here to look good
At the end of the day, we weren’t created to look good. We’re here to bring glory to God (Isaiah 43:7). We need to follow in Jesus’ footsteps and focus on other people, not ourselves (Philippians 2:3–4). Jesus wasn’t concerned with helping only attractive, or even spiritually ‘whole’ people. He helped those in need, whether sick, blind, lame, or poor, and He associated himself with people that others rejected, like sinners and tax collectors (Mark 2:13–17); none of which focus on physical appearance or qualities that people normally find ‘desirable’.
If the Bible doesn’t focus on Jesus’ looks, why should we focus on our own looks?
After over 2,000 years, we still don’t know what Jesus looks like. What we do know is that Jesus was described as not attractive (Isaiah 53:2) and was able to easily slip into the crowd (John 5:13).
The Bible focuses on details like the nature of Jesus, what He taught and what He did. In fact, the Bible is about Jesus (John 5:39). If the inspired word of God (2 Timothy 3:16) doesn’t describe how Jesus looks, then it just goes to show that His looks aren’t important in defining who He is; just like our looks shouldn’t define us.
Do you find yourself focusing on your appearance instead of inner qualities? Do you have any Bible verses that help you focus on inner beauty instead of outer beauty?