Spring is the air. We know this because we’ve seen the bright green tulips peeking up their pointy heads to varying degrees from beneath the cold, faded wood chips.
We also know this because we’ve experienced a few lovely warm, sunny days after what seems like a forever cloudy winter pelting tortured hot-weather souls-at-heart (like myself) with record snowfalls!
And we also know this, because, Girls, if you went on Spring Break with your family, you probably took out last seasons’ bathing suit from the bottom of that drawer you never open and draped it over your pasty white skin with fluffy extra winter padding (you know, to preserve heat).
You know what I’m talkin’ bout, don’t you?
Spring is obviously the time to get B E A U T I F U L, right?!
Since many of our fresh-out-of-the-salon colored heads might be on the pursuit of beauty just now, let’s see what Scripture has to relay to us about True Beauty. Whether the adornment is focused on the outside or the inside of either a temple OR a woman, Scripture has some great wisdom to offer us!
Scripture speaks often of the elaborate imagery of adorned temples of gold and precious stones (that I can’t pronounce) to women with braided hair and gold bracelets, as well as Queen Esther’s all-time surpassing beauty...all the way to conveying the similarities of the New Jerusalem as ‘a bride adorned for her husband’ in the book of Revelation. (Which by the way, wives, have we stopped being ‘brides’ to our husbands?)
Here is one lovely verse about beauty to take in...
"(Wives) Your beauty should not consist in externals such as fancy hairstyles, gold jewelry or what you wear; rather, let it be the inner character of your heart, with the imperishable quality of a HUMBLE (Gk. 'praus') and UNDISTURBED (Gk. 'hesuchios') spirit. In God's sight this is of great value."
~ 1 Peter 3:3,4
Now, let’s get serious. We all want to look good, right? Especially for our husbands. (Or at least we should want to!)
So, let’s first tackle outward adornment.
Some Christian ladies take the above verse to mean that they now have permission to just let themselves go right down life’s gunk-filled, tweezerless, doritos laden, dimpled donut hole of madness.
I have four children. I’m tired. But, I do believe that keeping up our appearance aesthetically AND physically is a ministry to our husbands (and thus, family). It is one aspect of ourselves that we have to OFFER them. (By the way, can you guess who doesn’t shave their legs when Husband is out of town? C’mon, my kids like Mom’s furry legs!)
Seriously, when we take the time to care for our outward appearances, we do feel good...at our best even, as we have accomplished something good for his eyes (and perhaps his nose?!). We just feel better when we have taken the time to ‘adorn’ ourselves. When we take care of ourselves in the realm of physical health, we also feel good and have energy to serve those we love most - and energy to spare for other things we like to do and MUST DO in life.
Now, don’t let the word ‘adorn’ cause your mind to wander into the camp of ‘its all worthless vanity, this outer beauty business!’ The word adorn in Greek is ‘kosmeo’ simply meaning to ‘put in proper order, decorate, garnish, trim’. That is exactly what we do when we put on makeup, style our hair and get dressed. We’re putting our outward appearance in order.
But we have to be extremely careful not to mistakenly LOOK FOR OUR WORTH in these outward appearances (for many reasons which time alone can reveal)! As women, we can easily fall into a trap of pursuing the adornment of the ‘outer temple’.
In fact, if we are currently looking for our worth this springtime in the adornment of our outer temples, then it’s a sure sign we have misplaced our worship.
Are you aware that the ONLY way to keep from worshiping the idol of Outward Beauty is to pursue a beauty regimen of INWARD ADORNMENT? Yep, we have to take the time to ‘put in proper order’ and ‘decorate’ the inner temple as well.
Have you begun to worship this idol of Outward Beauty? Let’s think about it for a minute.
Who said we could only pursue one at a time OR one in favor of the other?
No one probably ever said it, but the fact remains we believe it as expressed by our fickle behaviors, so we must have learned it somewhere.
Here’s three relevant pointers you might consider in determining if you’ve misplaced your worship for the Springtime Loveliness of outward adornment...
- When you have hit your ‘ideal mark’ aesthetically (whether it’s in weight or appearance of any sort) you are only momentarily satisfied with that accomplishment. Then, quickly your obsession turns to the NEXT BIG thing. In other words, you find yourself still DISCONTENT. Yep, happiness fades as quickly as your tan!
- Others may be attracted to you from afar, but then they are quickly turned off when they get close enough for you to open your mouth. I know... Ouch.
- You find yourself THRILLED with YOU! ...until, that is, you come across a ‘better lookin’ Temple’.
Pursuing outer beauty and inner beauty both take TIME. We all have been given equal minutes in the day.
Adorning the OUTER TEMPLE is not a sin, Ladies. Now, worshiping anyone or anything other than the One Who created the outer temple is (a sin). Adorn the outer temple as a worship offering to the Father in Heaven and as a gift to your husband. And also adorn the inner temple with the gospel of grace by cultivating a humble and undisturbed spirit. This alone will assure you don't misplace your worship.
Don’t adorn one without adorning the other.
And Ladies, let your daughters SEE YOU adorning BOTH!
Have you noticed that adorning the temporal one (outward maintenance) is far easier than adorning the eternal one (inward maintenance)? After all, the only pursuit we are able to carry into eternity is the time we have spent adorning the inner temple. Therefore, suffice it to say, we should be spending more time on what can not fade...the inner character of our hearts.
“...rather, let it be the inner character of your heart, with the imperishable quality of a HUMBLE (gk. 'praus') and UNDISTURBED (gk. 'hesuchios') spirit.”
By all means, Sisters, keep up your outward appearances the best you are able as a ministry to your man! Your husband will thank you. And you will be rewarded for the time you have spent adorning the outer temple. It's okay and good to do that! But, don’t stop there!
You’re not done yet!
Remember that ‘what’s in the well does come up in the bucket’. What’s lying in the inner temple will make itself known!
Yes, Friends, the kind of True Beauty we ALL desire to become and others desire to behold is that imperishable quality of a HUMBLE (gk. 'praus') and UNDISTURBED (gk. 'hesuchios') spirit which is precious in both God’s sight and ours...the recipients of one another’s buckets!!
So, this Springtime, and always, in your pursuit of True Beauty and its rightly placed worship of ADONAI Eloheinu (The LORD our God), let your wells be lovingly and properly cared for (both inside and out) AND let your buckets be filled with His gladness!!