Beauty – what do you immediately think of when you see this word? Certainly this word is familiar; don’t we hear it every day, does not the world try its utmost to convince the people they can beautify themselves with various means? The branch of philosophy, namely aesthetics, which deals with beauty, tries to explain what beauty is and how it may be recognized. The term comes from a Greek word which refers to impressions received through the five senses. However, we do not consult the world for our meaning of beauty, as Scripture is our only source.
Throughout Scripture much emphasis is put on real beauty. For example, the beauty of Zion’s mountains, the beautiful house of our God, “The woman was beautiful to look upon, the maid was fair and beautiful.” What does all this refer to? Physical beauty is a becoming form, the meek and modest form of a woman and the strong and brave form of a man. Someone who is well-formed is beautiful. Gen. 29:1-7, “Rachael was beautiful and well-formed.”
True beauty is glory. In the Old Testament, the beauty of crowns and jewels was considered glorious. The beauty of God’s house, where is the perfection of beauty, is His Holy Place! There was also the beauty of God’s flock, beauty of worship, prayer, and thankfulness, and the beauty of the lamb. The Bible very often speaks of the beauty of nature as well as of his creatures which we also might make mention of in this article. God reveals himself through the beauty of nature. God is praised and glorified in nature. The heavens sing His praises, the floods clap their hands, and the hills are joyful for His name’s sake. Much emphasis was placed on the beauty of the temple, especially that of Solomon. God often caused His people to praise Him through beauty of music and musical instruments.
The beauty of the bride adorned for her husband is repeatedly stressed as an example of the Church and the New Jerusalem.
From what source does beauty come, and how is it bestowed, and upon whom is it bestowed? In the Psalms we read that God will beautify the meek with salvation, joy, and glory. The source therefore, is God; and He bestows beauty to His people, the meek, the elect. The world is not beautiful because it is defiled, and to the defiled are all things impure; but to the pure all things are undefiled. Beauty is pureness, holiness. The Holy Spirit purifies our hearts and makes us holy before God. Beauty is obedience; and a most perfect example is the beautiful obedience of Christ in so much that he entered the depths of hell and God’s wrath for His people. Obedience to parent, teacher, husband, and all those in authority is the beauty that the child of God must put on. Such is the beauty we must desire.
However, the Bible also speaks of the beauty that we must not desire, as described in Proverbs 6:35, “Lust not after her beauty, neither let her take thee with her eyelids.” The undesirable beauty is the attire of a harlot who deceives her prey and causes him to walk in lasciviousness. To trust in one’s beauty can prove very fateful: Christian women must not follow the example of Delilah, Jezebel, Zeresh and Herodias, but of Miriam, Ruth, Hannah, and Elizabeth. “Favor is deceitful and beauty is vain.” Covenant people are called to flee from deceit and hatred and to put on the beauty of the new man. That beauty is honorable and a woman that feareth the Lord shall be praised. That is the beauty we must desire.
Beauty is virtue, wisdom, meekness, and humility. To walk in the midst of the world, whether that be in the office, factory, or even in school, being a living testimony of true beauty is the calling of the Christian. A child of God who is patient amidst strife, and who loveth those who love God, is beautiful.
For that reason, true beauty cannot be known by the world because it walks a life that praises the devil instead of God. Its very mind and conscience is defiled. They are and will forever seek the undesirable beauty which is that of hatred, idolatry, deceit, and falsehood.
The Bible speaks in different passages of the way a woman should dress. I Timothy 2:9, “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety, not with braided hair, gold or pearls or costly array.” A becoming woman is one who professes godliness. This means that in all ways, whether that be in thought, word, deed, or apparel, she shows that she belongs to the great throng. That is true beauty. Beauty is sobriety. Does this mean that we as young people in order to be beautiful must be sober in such a way that laughter and gaiety be prohibited? Not at all; but let not our gaiety and laughter be that of the world, but that in our joy we may profess godliness. Beauty is devotion. A woman who is truly devoted to her husband in all spheres is thought beautiful in the eyes of her husband. Beauty is silence – “Let the women learn in silence with all subjection.” Beauty is faith, and charity. Proverbs 31:28, “She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.” Beauty is graciousness which retaineth honor as strong men retain riches. A God-fearing person who obeys God’s law is beautiful before God. A self-sacrificing and hospitable child of God is to be desired.
However, on earth we have but a very small beginning of the real beauty that shall be expressed in the new heavens. All the beauty before mentioned is that which falls away and returns to the dust of the earth. We have only the first fruits of the spirit and prayerfully we wait for the full and eternal beauty of heavenly glory. The beauty on earth is imperfect, polluted, and very often unattained: however, our comfort is that in the notable day, we shall all be changed and made beautiful. Then only shall we taste the perfect and full beauty. As for now, we taste but a small beginning of true beauty.