Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Developing Inner Beauty

Leslie Basham: This is Nancy Leigh DeMoss:

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Would you agree that deep down most women want to look and feel attractive? You’ll find that plenty of women would be thrilled to get a makeover for their cosmetics, hairstyles, or wardrobes. But probably not nearly as many who would welcome getting a makeover for their attitudes and thoughts. And that’s a shame because ultimately, the way a woman looks on the outside isn’t nearly as important as the appearance of her heart.

According to the Bible, there is no better way for a woman to become attractive than to cultivate the beauty of godly femininity.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Heart for Monday, April 28, 2014.

What is true beauty?

Nancy got together to talk about that with Mary Kassian. The two of them co-authored the book True Woman 101: Divine Design. Nancy and Mary got together with some friends to discuss chapter 7 of that book. The chapter’s called “Total Makeover.”

Here’s Nancy and Mary with their friends Holly Elliff, Karen Loritts and Erin Davis.

Nancy: I counted on my sink counter this morning twenty-seven products.

Mary Kassian: Oh my.

Nancy: And that didn’t include what was in my makeup bag. These were just the ones that were sitting out—I mean, what price, beauty. Right?

Mary: Well, sadly, the older you get, the more you need.

Nancy: Well, I’m at twenty-seven at latest count.

Karen Loritts: Golly, and remembering which things go on which and which layer and . . . aaaaah!!!

Erin Davis: First you spackle, then you prime, then you . . .

Mary: And then you’ve got to take it off at night.

Karen: Put your face in the jar, right?

Holly Elliff: Well, if you’re a mom, and you have a bunch of kids at home or a bunch of little kids . . .

Erin: Forget about it.

Holly: You don’t spend a lot of time on makeup. Actually, Erin told me I had to tell this story.

Erin: Every mom doing this study is going to love this story.

Holly: I was driving two hours away from my house to speak at a women’s event. About thirty minutes away from Little Rock, I realized I had no makeup in the car, and I had no makeup on.

Karen: Oh.

Holly: I was going to put it on as I drive.

Nancy: Holly, don’t be telling that part because that’s dangerous.

Holly: All my kids know I do that. Anyways . . .

Erin: She just does it at the stop lights.

Nancy: Is it legal? That is the question.

Holly: Probably not. But anyways, I had no makeup in the car, and I was running late, which is also normal. So I had no time to stop and get makeup.

Mary: Where were you going to speak?

Holly: I was driving two hours away to speak at an event.

Mary: Oh, to speak.

Holly: Yes. I was speaking at an event, and I had no makeup.

Mary: Oh, that is scary!

Holly: Yes! So I am praying, “God what in the world am I going to do? I have on no makeup.” So I am searching my car, and I find a box of washable Crayola markers. 

Erin: It gets better! I love this story.

Holly: Between my house and the moment I stepped out of my car to go speak, I had put all my makeup on with the washable Crayola markers.

Mary: Do you have a picture?

Holly: No! Eyeliner, eye shadow, lipstick, blush. And you know what? I looked pretty normal. It was scary.

Erin: The problem was it was washable, so if water had gotten on your face, it would have been like a rainbow that somebody cut out.

Holly: Oh, that’s true.

Mary: Hope you didn’t cry.

Holly: I had never been so grateful for Crayola markers.

Erin: I love that story.

Mary: That is hilarious!

Holly: I know.

Nancy: Oh, my goodness.

Erin: Creative beauty.

Nancy: Let me ask you this. Clearly, we are women into beauty and products and things. We have our tips and our products that we all think are really great. Why are women so interested in beauty?

Mary: Culture?

Nancy: I mean, guys would not be sitting having this conversation, right?

Karen: No.

Erin: You mean they don’t talk about Dream Whip?

Karen: We hope not!

Nancy: Blonde Glam.

Karen: I don’t know. I think we are just born with it. You can go to a little toddler at church and little girls are always touching each other’s hair. They are always doing something, trying to model something that maybe they’ve seen their moms doing at home. But it’s something that they think we need to be doing with our face, by looking a different way.

Nancy: I love the story of my little niece (she’s not little anymore). When she was seven or eight, when we were all together at Christmas, on my bed she left me a note on a little scrap piece of paper: “Dear Aunt Nancy, I love you. I want to do your hair for your radio show.” She’s thinking hair . . . never mind that you don’t need it for radio, but she’s thinking that way.

Mary: Very cute.

Erin: I think that our desire for beauty is God given.

Holly: I think there is a built-in thing going on there.

Erin: We've been talking about how we display, we put on display God’s glory. I think maybe we miss the mark, often we miss the mark, but maybe that desire to display beauty comes from God.

Mary: I always think the physical speaks to the spiritual. So when you see something in the physical world it gives you some spiritual truths or insights into spiritual truths. There isn’t always a perfect correlation, but there is something to be learned. I think if we truly reflect, as women, the Bride of Christ, the relationship of the Church to Christ . . . There is something about wanting to be beautiful for our Groom. There’s an innate desire of wanting to be seen as attractive. I think that’s why women are so drawn to beauty.

Nancy: So even in women who don’t know Christ, it’s a whisper of the gospel and the image of God in them to have that. They have that desire.

Holly: To pursue that. Probably, again, distorted by the world and our culture.

Mary: Very, very distorted.

Nancy: And the enemy, Satan, wants to make physical beauty everything to us.

Erin: Well, Satan has always had a beef with beauty. If we study his story, he was beautiful. It was part of his hang-up. So it doesn’t surprise me that that’s an area where he trips the rest of us up.

Mary: It’s such an area of pain for women. When we talk about beauty, it can be very, very painful. I think the reason it is painful is because we do have an innate desire for it, and when we don’t see it physically, it can be a source of pain for us.

Erin: We tie it to our worth, which I think is maybe a difference between men and women.  When my husband wakes up with a bad hair day, I don’t know that he thinks it is a reflection of who he is as a man. But as women, how we look or maybe more importantly, how we perceive other people think we look, we tie to our value and our worth.

Holly: And that’s why don’t hear too many women like Nancy saying, “I can’t wait to be a godly, old woman.”

Nancy: Well, let me explain that. That’s been my goal since I was a little girl. I’ve had this image since I was a little girl of a godly, old lady. I always said, “That’s what I want to be.” And I have found that the getting old part comes easier than the getting godly part. But God has put within us, as Christian women, this desire to have true inner beauty. An evidence of belonging to Christ is that we want to have an inside that’s beautiful to Him.

But Satan is always switching price tags on things. He makes things that are cheap seem valuable. He makes the things that are valuable seem cheap. And he has made external beauty, which is valuable but not ultimate value, seems like the thing you’ve got to have and if you don’t, you’re not worthwhile. And then he diminishes the value of spiritual beauty.

I’ve been thinking about it this week while we’ve been doing some of this videotaping. I mean, I’m just true confessions here. I have spent more time this week working on hair, makeup, wardrobe—things for cameras—than I have in the Word. Now, that’s not typical, but it just makes you stop and think, Where are my priorities, not just this week, but in my life and our lives as women?

So we don’t want to diminish that God is a God of beauty. He made a lot of beauty in this world.  It’s a beautiful day outside here today. But we want to talk today about the kind of beauty that is of ultimate importance and that lasts. Because, as we all know, physical beauty is diminishing. We talked about beauty products.

Mary: Gravity is not our friend.

Nancy: One of my friends in beauty products is concealer. I mean, I still remember the day that a friend said to me when I was getting ready for a photo shoot: “Have you ever considered using concealer?” I didn’t even know what it was, but I’ve been using it ever since.

Karen: Concealer, primer, patcher.

Nancy: So in the physical area, the older you get, you have to patch and conceal. And yet there is an inner beauty, as the Scripture says, that as we get older, it can get more radiant, more beautiful. It’s enduring.

Holly: It’s a perfect contrast between the temporary and the eternal because all of this is temporary, but there is an eternal out there that the Lord wants to shoot us toward.

Erin: And isn’t that hopeful for all of as women who are trying to find the fountain of youth, whatever it is? The Lord promises us a version of beauty we can hold on to because no matter how many ab crunches we do or how much concealer we buy, we can’t hold on to it. But God gives us hope as women that there is a version of beauty that you can hold on to.

Karen: I just think back in Genesis when God just plumped down old Adam out of the dust, but He took a minute to fashion Eve. What a beautiful design He took, He shaped.

Erin: He crafted

Karen: And He just said, “This is what real beauty is.” And when Adam saw her, she wasn’t clothed. She didn’t have her makeup on. She didn’t have the right jewelry on. She just radiated the beauty that God had taken the time to fashion. We need to get back to that.

Nancy: Okay. We have no idea what Eve looked like. 

Erin: Well, we know she was the most beautiful woman around. There was no one to compete with, which is kind of nice. Right? There’s no standard to look up to. She won first place in every beauty pageant, right?

Nancy: Okay. Think of a woman you know or have known that you think of as really beautiful—and I’m not just talking physically beautiful. But someone you think of as just a beautiful woman in terms of things that matter. Who is she? And what was she like?

Karen: I can think of my Junior High Sunday School teacher, bless her heart, Mrs. Borne. She was working in the mission that was not too far from my home there in Philadelphia. She and her husband couldn’t have any children. She never wore makeup. People probably would say she was matronly looking, but she was so beautiful, so quiet. I was just drawn to her.

Nancy: Why?

Karen: She just walked with God. You could just see her walking with God. When she spoke, the words just pierced my heart. When she would tell me, “Karen, you’re being a little bit too loud.” I just understood what she was saying. And when she was praying and she’d pray over me, I just felt as though God just came down and sat right in the lap of Mrs. Borne.

Looking beautiful, she didn’t look it on the outside. She would not get a second look by anybody, but when she spoke and when she gave you attention, you just saw God walking in the flesh.

Holly: I would have to say my mother-in-law, Jewel was her name. She was just gracious. She was a precious woman. She was gentle but very honest. So there were moments when she would just come over to me, and she’d put her hand on me and say, “Holly, let me just share this with you.” But it was done in such a gentle, sweet way that I could hear it.

So what came through was her spirit. The Spirit of Christ just came through her. She was also funny, had a wonderful sense of humor. She was just a precious woman. She’s with the Lord now, but she was a huge influence on my life as a young mom. When I would get so frustrated, she’d go, “Holly, I know. Let’s have a little chat.” But not in a way that was demeaning or rude or judgmental. It was all out of love, and I knew that.

Mary: I had a lady named Pearl Purdy. Pearl was married to this massive guy who used to be an RCMP officer in Canada, and she was just the teeniest woman—she was smaller than you, Nancy. She was just this little, petite thing. I used to call her “my pearl,” and she really was a pearl. She was an old woman, so she was in her 70s or 80s.

What I remember about her was just how welcoming she was and how she just drew people in to her home and her life and impacted them. We were teenagers when Brent and I met. She was in my life for a number of years, attending my church, but she would always invite those young folks in for dinner.

I remember Brent and I weren’t even married, and she invited us over to play. So we went over to Pearl and Harry’s place to play shuffleboard. We’d go down into her basement, and she would give us slippers, and we’d put them on and play shuffleboard. But it was incredible because here you had this older couple, and Pearl, who was, really, in the latter part of her life, was more beautiful than ever.

She took care of herself as best as she could, but certainly her physical beauty was fading. But really, the beauty that just shone just welcomed in our family. And she mentored more women by going over and playing shuffleboard, and then we’d just sit around and talk to Pearl. She was an amazing woman.

Nancy: And why in the world would young adults want to go play shuffleboard if it weren’t for the attraction of being drawn to that.

Mary: It’s so attractive. Everybody wanted to go over and play shuffleboard with Pearl and Harry.

Nancy: Isn’t that something. It’s just the power of that spirit in a woman. It’s magnetic.

Karen: It’s just a well.

Mary: It’s deep—so deep.

Karen: A well of wisdom and love and caring. You’re sort of drawn to that.

Mary: You just look in the eyes, and it just kind glows. It’s amazing.

Nancy: Anyone in your life, Erin, that you think of that way?

Erin: I would say my sister. It’s interesting because we’re twins, and so we look a lot alike. And I’m sure it’s not that I’m drawn to her features, but my sister Nicky seems to have been born with a gentle and quiet spirit. The Lord is going to have to work on me until I die to get me to have a gentle and quiet spirit. So I’ve always been drawn to that in her. I’ve always watched how other people are really drawn to that gentleness that I don’t have. She is a good-looking girl, as my twin, but I think I’m just more drawn to the gentleness that she always seems to have.

Nancy: It’s interesting that as we talk about the qualities that have been attractive to us in other women that have been kind of magnetic—the gentleness, kindness, softness and welcoming—it just reminds me of the passage we looked at in this week’s study, 1 Peter chapter 3, which tells us what God considers beautiful in a woman, what makes God look at a woman and say, “Whew! She’s beautiful.”

Mary: That passage is certainly not . . .

Nancy: We’re not into political correctness here.

Mary: Yes, we’re not into political correctness, for sure.

Nancy: Let’s just read the passage here. It’s familiar, but I think there’s such power in the Word. These kinds of passages help me recalibrate my own thinking.

I’m in 1 Peter 3, and the context of this whole book has a lot of themes related to suffering. In that context, he’s talking about marriage, wives and husbands. It's where you have men and women and there are differences. Sometimes those differences, when they’re not redeemed, can cause pain to each other. That’s kind of in the context here.

But right in the middle of that, he addresses this whole subject of beauty. He’s saying,

Wives, be [subject] to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives—when they see your respectful and pure conduct (vv. 1–2).

So there, again, it’s something of value—respect and purity.

And then he says, “Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the wearing of gold [jewelry], or the putting on of clothing” (v. 3). Now, clearly, those things aren’t wrong or we’d run around without any clothing.

Holly: Those are the things we’ve been doing this week.

Nancy: But in the context here, he’s saying: “This is not your focus. This is not what’s primary. This is not what really matters most. But what does matter:

Let your adorning [let your beauty] be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious (v. 4).

Karen: Oh boy. Such a powerful word.

Mary: I want this in my girls.

Nancy: Okay, let’s talk about these. There are three qualities that emerge in this passage. There is gentleness, quietness, and then that term that, Mary, you introduced me to—amenability.

Mary: Amenability, and the reason that we brought it into the study is because the "submission" word is often way misunderstood. I think not only is it misunderstood but misapplied. People don’t understand what it means, and also women tend to think that it's for married women.

But I think that there is a softness about womanhood and a receptivity about womanhood that is in a woman’s spirit long before she get married. It’s in who God created us to be. Actually, if you dissect the word amenable up—"amen" really means “yes.”

Nancy: Yes, so be it.

Holly: The “yes-ability.”

Mary: The “yes-ability.” It’s an agreeability, right? It’s that character of spirit that you’re leadable; you’re not stubborn like a mule; you welcome input; you welcome someone giving you direction.

I think in this passage it comes through that that’s really a characteristic of womanhood. It shows up in a married woman’s life in her propensity to submit to her husband. But it shows up in general in womanhood just by her agreeability.

Holly: It could be daughters relating to their parents.

Erin: It could be a woman in the workplace relating to her boss or in friendships or to brothers.

Mary: Oh, do we have to be amenable to our brothers?

Holly: Yes.

Mary: Oh my. Jacob and Andrew, you heard it here (those are my brothers’ names). But just to have that spirit, that propensity. Now, I don’t think that means that every woman just has to be a "yes woman" to every man.

Nancy: In fact, there are some things we should not be responsive to.

Mary: There are a lot of things.

Nancy: Like Eve was responsive to the wrong thing.

Mary: And we are not to be weak-willed woman where we are responding in the wrong way.

Nancy: As in 2 Timothy 3, yes.

Mary: But just to have a spirit where you are wanting to engage.

Holly: It reminds me of the story in Anne of Green Gables where there’s the neighbor there who is cantankerous. She is described as being full of prickles and barbs. Remember that? So we’re talking about a woman who is the opposite, who isn’t prickles and barbs. 

Nancy: You don’t want to be a cactus.

Holly: Yes, a cactus.

Nancy: Nobody wants to hug a cactus.

Holly: That’s not the way she approaches people or comes across.

Erin: I love how you defined it, Mary. I feel like so many women and young woman misunderstand this issue and become automatically prickly and barby—not Barbie the doll, but barby, like sharp.

I have been blogging about on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com, and I got this comment: “I’m a little confused and worried by something. The Bible does not give men authority over women.  It gives husbands and fathers authority over their wives and daughters. Is that what you meant? Some random guy or even a guy friend has no authority over me, right?”

So she is bristling at this idea of what it means to be amenable. She wants to put it in a very specific box and say, “I will be open to this in this context at this time, but now I am fifteen, so I don’t have to practice that.”

Holly: And that’s what makes understanding this so critical.

Mary: It does make it critical, and she’s right. She is correct in that she does not have a responsibility when a guy says, “Well, this is what I want you to do.” She doesn’t have a responsibility to do that because she is not under that man’s authority. However, there is a general sense in terms of our womanhood and our manhood where God gives men the inclination to provide guidance in their environment, and He gives women sort of a responsiveness and receptive amenable spirit. (I am just falling in love with that word—amenable.)

Nancy: You’ve made me love that word.

Karen: When my daughters were in college, Lisa would sometimes call home in tears because of something in the dorm, on the dorm floor—girls were always cat fighting.

Mary: Girls don’t cat fight—do we cat fight?

Karen: Girls do cat fight. My boys would say, “Oh my, stay out of the way when women are upset about something.” How terrible to say that, but my girls would get so frustrated that things would happen and girls couldn’t get along, and this infighting, this wrestling with each other.

Erin: I bet if we traced many of those arguments, they would be over pretty minor things. But there’s this thing that rises up in us, like, “I’m not going to listen to you. I’m not going to be teachable.”

Karen: That’s right. And then I tell you and then another friend.

Erin: Then it gets nasty.

Karen: Yes, very nasty. And when you have a nasty woman, it just has an evil . . . well, I call it an evil spirit. She can do a whole lot of damage to community, churches, families, and everybody says, “Let her have her way.” But that’s not what God says.

Leslie: Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Mary Kassian have been talking about true beauty as defined in the Bible. They wrote about true beauty in chapter 7 of their small group study, True Woman 101: Divine Design. Their friends Holly Elliff, Erin Davis, and Karen Loritts have been discussing that chapter on true beauty. They’ll pick back up tomorrow.

The Bible study, True Woman 101, will help you apply biblical principles to your practical choices as a woman. We’d like to send you a copy as our thanks when you support Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any amount. We’re making this offer today and tomorrow, April 28–29. So let us hear from you quickly.

Ask for True Woman 101 when you call with your gift. The number is 1–800–569–5959, or visit ReviveOurHearts.com.

Well, the True Woman Bible study is just one way to get involved in a True Woman movement. That movement will gain momentum this fall at a special event. Nancy’s here with a story of some women who are traveling a long way to be a part of this event.

Nancy: Not long ago I was so encouraged to get an email from a woman in South Africa who’s organizing a group and making plans to visit Indianapolis this October for True Woman ’14. She’s bringing a group of women who minister to others there in South Africa. They want to come to the True Woman conference so they can get refreshed and then go back home and be more effective where the Lord has them serving. Well, as you can imagine, there’s a lot of expense and details involved in traveling all that way for a conference, but these women are making the conference a priority and working hard to get to Indianapolis.

So if you’ve considered coming to True Woman ’14, I want to encourage you to register this week. That’s because the early discount is scheduled to end May 1. I think you will so benefit from this conference as we seek the Lord together to experience greater freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness in Christ.

And we’ll do that as we open God’s Word with speakers like Joni Eareckson Tada, Lauren Chandler, Janet Parshall, and others. And then we’ll have sweet times of worshiping the Lord together as Keith and Kristyn Getty lead us once again. You can read about many other speakers and artists who will be joining us by visiting ReviveOurHearts.com.

So I hope you’ll make your plans this week and then join us October 9–11 in Indianapolis for True Woman ’14.

Leslie: Thanks, Nancy.

Well, the apostle Peter said true beauty involves a gentle and quiet spirit. What if that just doesn’t describe your personality? Nancy and today’s panel will be back to talk about that tomorrow. I hope you’ll be back for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries. 

All Scripture is taken from the English Standard Version. 

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.