1 Samuel 16:7 But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
How pretty is my heart? These days, we can camouflage our exterior faults easily. Cover that blemish, emphasize our high cheekbones or beautiful eyes. There’s a multi-billion dollar industry dedicated to helping women be as put-together as possible. We have Spanx, push up bras, highlights for our hair and (for the vertically challenged) four inch heels. I spend money every day when I put on my anti-aging moisturizer and eye creme that promises to de-wrinkle and brighten my peepers. All this attention I focus on an exterior that in the long run really doesn’t matter. All the while, the things of eternal importance get forgotten.
1 Peter 3:3-4 says “Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel— 4 rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.” Sometimes this verse is used to say women of God shouldn’t cut their hair, wear jewelry, and that we should be in shapeless unflattering clothes – but the exhortation here is not to “merely” adorn the outside. The rest of the verse seems to get lost in the debate over how much outward adorning is ok. Who is the hidden person of your heart? Do you have a gentle and quiet spirit? God says that’s beautiful and precious in His sight. That’s fantastic! Way better (sorry honey) than my husband telling me he likes my dress.
In 1 Samuel, God was helping His prophet (Samuel) select a new king. The Lord told Sammy what family he’d find the next ruler in. Samuel trucked down to the ranch of Jessie, in Bethlehem where he proceeded to assume the new king was one of Jesse’s seven strapping, mighty sons. Apparently Samuel learned his lessons about like I do. It takes us a few mistakes (or seven) to really understand God’s point. Finally, The Lord directed him to David, the baby of the family, who was out in the fields probably covered in sheep poo and wool. I’ll bet David didn’t smell very nice either. Not exactly what anybody expected as the next king of God’s people.
The thing is, God doesn’t care about how great our body wash scent is. Whether we’ve applied the appropriate three coats of mascara, or been a good girl and cleaned our face before bedtime. Great news for me since most nights I collapse exhausted into bed without coming near a washcloth. His concerns go much deeper. Is my heart loving and full of grace to my husband and children? Am I willing to devote myself to a beauty that’s important to my Jesus, but not many others in this world? A quiet spirit doesn’t mean I’ve got to be a mouse woman, never speaking my mind and always allowing others to tell me what to do. Quietness of spirit does require me to listen a little more though. To be aware of The Lord’s prompting in my life, and be willing to follow Him. A full face of foundation isn’t going to fool God. He knows what’s inside our hearts and wants to develop a beauty that can’t be contained within.