A Heart Condition
Outward beauty in this age is such a tricky thing. For one, we are confronted with it every time we look in the mirror. Secondly, we are all on our phones scrolling social media and we have these visual images—these little squares, these reels—all day, every day, just reminding us of outward beauty. It can feel really preeminent, really oppressive, like something we just really want to chase after.
I want to start by just saying that outward beauty and beauty in and of itself is not wrong. Our God is beautiful and he is the creator of beauty. He has created beauty for us to behold and to be in awe of, and then to be drawn to him. It points to him. So outward beauty in and of itself is not wrong. As with all things in the Christian walk, it’s the heart that matters. There’s not a black-and-white, cut-and-dry-answer here, but it is a condition of the heart.
As we think about outward beauty, we have some helpful instructions in the New Testament from both Peter and Paul. What they’re really getting at is for those of us who are in Christ—for those of us who have surrendered to the Lord and he is our Savior and master—does our outward appearance convey to the watching world where our hope is? Does it show that our hope is firmly rooted and established in Jesus, in his good work, on our behalf?
Does our outward appearance convey to the watching world where our hope is?
Is that what I’m communicating to others? Or am I clamoring? Am I saying, I’ve got to get it just right. I have to look just so to prove my worth to other people? Or am I able to rest in God, my maker? We were designed to fix our eyes on Jesus, not on ourselves, our bodies, our outward beauty, our outward appearance, or ability. These things cannot bear up under the burden of being the source of our hope.
So my reminder to myself, to my sisters, to my daughters, and to my friends is this: let’s fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. That’s where we were meant to dwell.
Jen Oshman is the author of Cultural Counterfeits: Confronting 5 Empty Promises of Our Age and How We Were Made for So Much More.
What do we say to our sons and daughters who ask, “Daddy and Mommy, what does it mean to be a man or a woman?” Tell them they are made in the image of God and for union with Christ.
We live in a culture that is obsessed with image, and every day advertisements bombard us with promises to deliver beauty and happiness.
We don’t have to accept our culture’s ever-changing and ever-more-tyrannical definition of beauty.
God has implanted in people longing and desire for the true, the good, and the beautiful. The Bible speaks to all three of these.