Wednesday, June 5, 2024

Devotionals for the Heart: True Beauty

God’s Standard of Beauty
A devotional by Jamie De Silvia

“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)

I don’t have to tell you that the world values outward beauty. Society’s unrelenting standard of beauty slams against our self-image every day, making us feel self-conscious about our bodies and our age. We are surrounded by these worldly ideals and images in ads, music, television shows, and social media.

In addition, we often have people in our lives who can't stop talking about their bodies (and perhaps ours, too). Sometimes certain people in church who mean well may say that our bodies should be smaller to be worthy of God’s love and approval. Some people who also mean well, admonish us to care for our bodies by staying fit and slender because the Bible says that the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). However, the context of 1 Corinthians 6 is not health, fitness, or physical beauty, but keeping our bodily temples free from sexual immorality! These verses cannot be used to imply that God expects us to maintain a certain body size, BMI, or physical appearance.

Consider God’s own words on the subject. “People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7 NIV) The Bible clearly states where female beauty comes from in our anchor text above (1 Peter 3:3-4 NIV). Our beauty does not come from outward appearances. It doesn’t originate with our hair texture and style, creative and shiny accessories, or fashionable clothes because God intends for our beauty to come from within. It is worth noting that weight and body size are not mentioned at all in this passage either. If the Lord valued a particular body size, wouldn’t it be mentioned here, where the criteria for beauty are outlined so clearly?

The belief that our bodies must look a certain way to glorify God is completely inconsistent with His praise of inner beauty over outer appearance. It’s right there in the Bible. God values the unfading beauty of your inner self. He knows that physical attractiveness fades and bodies change over time, but inner beauty shines and becomes brighter as we are transformed by the Lord year after year.

God is cultivating a gentle and humble beauty in us as we become more and more like Jesus Christ who is the most humble and gentle One of all. God is also developing a quiet beauty in us, as we learn to trust Him more completely and have less need to complain, worry, or control.

Beloved, it’s time to let go of the world’s standard of beauty and embrace the inner beauty that God values. If He wanted you to pursue a smaller body without rolls or wrinkles, He would have said so Himself. Give yourself permission to live life and serve Him in the body you have today. Let Him cultivate an inner beauty in you that continues to shine in the years to come.

Let’s Pray: Lord, it’s easy to get caught up in the world’s standard for outward appearances and beauty. Help me to shift my focus to the inner beauty You’re cultivating in me. Help me to let go of the fears and insecurities I have about my body. Those thoughts dominate my mind and don’t leave enough room to focus on walking with You. My body is good because You made it and dwell in it with Your Holy Spirit, which shines forth with an unmatched beauty. Thank You, Jesus! In Your Name, Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection: “Perfectly Loved” by Rachael Lampa featuring TobyMac. Listen to it here.

Author Bio:

Jamie De Silvia is an author and speaker from Southern California with a passion for helping women connect with the heart of God. She hosts the “Pressing In” podcast.

Jamie has authored two devotional books: Come Hear the Song of the Shepherd (a 30-day devotional journey through Psalm 23), and You Shall Be Praised (a 40-day devotional offering a fresh perspective on Proverbs 31).

You can find her on Instagram and Facebook daily, offering encouragement to help you draw closer to Jesus Christ.

Jamie is married with two adult daughters and a teenage son. She is also a homeschooling mom who enjoys oil painting, playing games with her family, and savoring a good chai latte.

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