COSMETICS FOR THE INNER SELF
Today our markets are full of cosmetic products for both men and women. Regardless of gender and age, people spend time and effort to look beautiful. Display of beautiful women in advertisements like showpieces convey the wrong message that happiness is guaranteed for beautiful women. As outer beauty is valued, people often identify this with their personality. This association with self-image causes unnecessary problems in many women both young and old.
I suppose concern for beauty was present even among first century women in the churches in certain parts of Asia Minor. Their main be concern was outward beauty and they dealt with it by adorning themselves with braided hair, gold ornaments, and fine clothes (1Pet 3:3). Their concern was on something that is temporal which fades away by age, and other circumstances.
There is nothing wrong with being beautiful. Patriarchs in the Bible had beautiful wives. Job's daughters were beautiful. God has created many beautiful things and even God enjoyed the beauty of his creation. Outward beauty is not a hindrance in being beautiful in our inner self. Sarah is an example of a woman who had both outward and inner beauty.
Yet, when the concern for outer beauty takes priority over inner beauty, many unnecessary problems may arise. The apostle Peter addressed this issue by giving an alternative perspective on beauty. His answer for this problem is the inner beauty, which will not decay by age. This is of great worth in God's sight (1 Pet 3: 4). Gentleness and quiet spirit are the two virtues of our inner self. This was the secret of the inner beauty of holy women of the past. This enabled them to put their hope in God as they did what was right. They were submissive to their husbands. They were not subject to fear. In short this inner beauty enabled them to lead holy lives (1 Pet 3:5-6).
How do we become beautiful inside? The apostle Paul noted that the transforming power of the Spirit works in our inner being (Eph 3:16). I believe that as we allow the Holy Spirit to work in our inner being these qualities and other fruit of the Spirit will develop in us. This is the only cosmetic for inner beauty. However, this work of the Spirit in our inner being will be evident also in our behavior patterns. Others will see it in our relationships, our faith, our trust in God, our dealings, our words, and even in our smile. As women, let us care for our inner self or inner being so that we can present our bodies to God as instruments of righteousness. May our generation rise up and call us “holy women of the past.”