Revive Our Hearts Podcast

What Really Matters

Leslie Basham: Wouldn't it be wonderful if, when our name came up in conversation, the talk would quickly turn to God?

It's Thursday, November 7; and you're listening to Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss. Proverbs 31:30 says "Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised." It would be nice if people found us attractive, but that's not what matters. Here's Nancy to introduce today's message.

Nancy DeMoss: I think one of the biggest challenges for those of us women who are Christians is to figure out how to resist the bombardment of the world's messages and its influence as it relates to this matter of what it means to be beautiful.

We've been listening all this week to a message by Carolyn Mahaney in which she's talking about the biblical concept of true beauty. And she's been challenging us to adopt a whole new way of thinking about what it means to be beautiful. Today Carolyn is going to give us three practical suggestions about how to develop beauty goals that are biblical.

Carolyn Mahaney: What objectives must we incorporate into our lives so that we will be pursuing a beauty that enhances our femininity as women? Well, first, we need to resolve who it is I am to please in my beauty pursuit. Single women: you have only one to please. 1 Corinthians 7:34 points an unmarried woman to the Lord as the object of her beauty pursuit.

All your thoughts, motives and actions related to beauty should be for the eyes of one and one only--God alone. Married women: we have two to please--God and our husband.

Now that may sound like heresy that I should say we are to please someone besides God in our beauty pursuit, but let me explain. See, God calls us in Scripture to please our husband so, therefore, we ARE pleasing God when we seek to please our husband.

We need to find out our husband's preferences with regard to how we care for our appearance. How does he want me to dress? Style my hair? Wear or not wear makeup? And as a way to honor and serve and please our husband, we need to take care of our physical appearance.

Now I must interject here that seeking to please the Lord in our beauty pursuit will not result in trying to look ugly or appear unattractive. I am not advocating for a moment that we neglect our personal appearance.

Pure devotion to God will produce a woman who has an appropriate concern about her physical appearance. She will want to present an outward appearance that honors God and attracts others to her life in a right way. She will want to care for her outward appearance in a way that heightens her chance to share her testimony about the Christ who dwells within her.

Looking like a slob does not reflect the beauty of our creator, neither does it increase our effectiveness in sharing the Gospel. It is not wrong to seek to enhance our own appearance. It is not evil to wear stylish clothing and an attractive hairstyle. It is not sinful to wear makeup and jewelry.

We see in scripture where the Proverbs 31 woman wore colorful, high quality clothing. The bride in Song of Solomon adorned her appearance with jewelry. We are told that Esther underwent 12 months of beauty treatments, six months with oil and myrrh and six with perfumes and cosmetics. The Bible does not condemn the wearing of these things.

It is wearing them for the wrong motives that God's Word forbids. However, when the Lord is the object of our beauty pursuit, we will have a proper concern about our physical appearance.

As John Piper said in his book A Godward Life "with God at the center, like the sun, satisfying a woman's longing for beauty and greatness and truth and love, all the planets of food and dress and exercise and cosmetics and posture and countenance will stay in their proper orbit."

Another beauty objective we need to cultivate is we need to acknowledge God's providence and receive with gratefulness the body and appearance that God has given to each of us. God determined what we would look like.

We were not presented with an array of options. We were not given a choice. He decided our body shape; how tall we would be; the color of our eyes and all the unique features that make up our body type and appearance. God determined that.

Now we can either spend our lives pining about the result of God's determination or we can receive with gratefulness His design, knowing that He does all things for His glory and our good. I love the story that Elisabeth Elliot tells about Gladys Aylward in her book Let Me Be A Woman. She says:

*"You have heard me tell of Gladys Aylward, the "Small Woman" of China, whom I heard speak many years ago at Prairie Bible Institute in Alberta (Canada). She told how when she was a child she had two great sorrows.

One, that while all her friends had beautiful golden hair, hers was black. The other, that while her friends were still growing, she stopped. She was about four feet, ten inches tall.

But when at last she reached the country to which God had called her to be a missionary, she stood on the wharf in Shanghai and looked around at the people to whom He had called her.

"Every single one of them," she said, "had black hair. And every single one of them had stopped growing when I did. And I said, 'Lord God, You know what You are doing.'"

Are we able to say the same about our own appearance? "Lord God, You know what You are doing and You do all things well." David said, "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made" (Psalm 139:14). When was the last time you worshipped God for the way He created your body? You don't have to answer that. Anything less than a heart filled with gratitude and praise to God for our physical appearance, it's sinful and it grieves the Lord. It shouldn't be so.

Another essential beauty objective: we need to recognize our body is not our own. 1 Corinthians 6:19 says "do you know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own. You were bought with a price. Therefore, honor God with your body."

Are we treating our body as if it is not our own? Are we caring for our body as if it belongs to another? Do we take special extra care because this body doesn't belong to us?

Don't we usually take extra special care of something that doesn't belong to us; that belongs to another? On one occasion, after a special event at our church, a very kind woman came to me and gave me the centerpiece from her table. It was a beautiful flower arrangement that she had created. It was displayed in this china teapot. And she graciously told me to enjoy the flowers and then I could return the teapot to her at my convenience.

Well I did enjoy that flower arrangement, but you can be sure I took special care of that china teapot as well.

I made sure to keep it out of the reach of my little boy who was three at the time. I exhorted all of my daughters "now be very careful with this because it belongs to so-and-so…" Now why? Why was I being so careful with this china teapot? Because it wasn't mine. It belonged to someone else. And I wanted to be able to return the teapot to her undamaged.

In the same way, our bodies are not our own. They belong to God. Therefore, we should be careful how we treat our bodies. We should treat them with special care.

We should not neglect them. We should do nothing to abuse them. We are not to overlook and ignore what the Bible has to say regarding how we are to view and care for this body. We are not the owner of this body. God is. It is the temple for the Holy Spirit. We house the Holy Spirit in our very own body. That makes all the difference in how we should treat it.

Nancy DeMoss: Carolyn will be back in a moment to lead us in prayer. But first, let me just ask you to reflect on what she shared with us over these last few moments. Have you resolved in your heart who it is that you're trying to please?

Are you trying to please the Lord? Or are you trying to please others? And have you received with gratefulness the body, the physical appearance that God gave you? And have you recognized that your body is not your own, that it belongs to the Lord?

As you ask yourself these three questions and answer them honestly, you'll be going a long way toward developing beauty goals that are truly biblical and will make you pleasing to the Lord.

Leslie Basham: Thanks, Nancy. I hope that what you've heard today is just the first step in developing inward beauty. One book that can help you learn and grow as you become more like Jesus Christ is called Biblical Womanhood in the Home.

Nancy edited this book with contributions from five godly women including Carolyn Mahaney. It will give you practical steps in becoming a woman of God. It is one book that you will definitely want to read and pass on to your friends, daughters and granddaughters. The book Biblical Womanhood in the Home can be yours for a donation of $13.

You can order on our Web site ReviveOurHearts.com or by calling 1-800-569-5959.  Please join us tomorrow for the conclusion of Carolyn Mahaney's message on true beauty.

Carolyn Mahaney: Let's ask our Lord to help us cultivate such a beauty. Father, we do ask that You would help us to set our hearts and minds on things above, to be women who gaze upon Your beauty, to be women who develop and cultivate an inner beauty.

Father, help us to not be consumed by the beauty that our culture worships, Lord, that we would be women who pursue true beauty--that we would receive with gratefulness the bodies that You have given us, that we would take extra special care of this body, that we would not pursue vain pursuits, Lord, but our quest for beauty would be one that honors You and brings glory to Your name.

Father, we just ask that You would help us as women to do that. In Jesus' name, Amen.

*Elliot, Elisabeth, "Let Me Be a Woman", Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, 1998, Chapter 8, "The Weight of Wings," p. 32.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is a ministry partnership of Life Action Ministries.

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