As women, we love beautiful things. Even as little girls, we loved to get dressed up in pretty, frilly dress, and wear a sparkling necklace. We loved princesses' beautiful ball gowns, and diamond tiaras. We love to curl our hair, do our make-up, and make ourselves look pretty. We love a sparkling waterfall, and shining rainbow, and radiant jewel. We LOVE beauty, and that's good! I've been thinking about the concept of beauty and how it relates to God. Of course, like everything else in the world, beauty has been corrupted. The world thinks beauty is being thinner, taller, prettier, more muscular, more seductive, and the list goes on. None of this is presented as beauty in the Bible.
The word "beauty" is in the Bible 49 times. Here are some things in the Bible that are described as beautiful.
1. Aaron's and the priests garments. Exodus 28:2
2. Holiness. I Chronicles 16:29, II Chronicles 20:21, Psalm 29:2, Psalm 96:9
3. Precious stones. II Chronicles 3:6
4. Zion. Psalm 50:2
5. The grey head. Proverbs 20:29
6. The LORD of hosts. Isaiah 28:5
There are warnings in the Bible about beauty too. Proverbs 31:30 tells us that "...beauty is vain...". Beauty is good, but beauty in and of itself is empty. God is not against beauty, but He is for beauty on His terms. God's standard is perfect, and thus, God's beauty is perfect too.
I find it interesting that the first mention of the word "beauty" in the Bible is in relation to clothing. And thou shalt make holy garments for Aaron thy brother for glory and for beauty. Exodus 28:2.
There's a lot of time and effort going into the fashion industry these days. Clothing retail and design is a huge money making endeavour. If fashion was a country it would rank 7th in GDP. That's as big as Canada. A lot of money gets spent on clothes that everyone thinks is making them look more beautiful. But, is it really beauty?
There's a lot of discussion in Christian circles about clothing too, and about modesty. However, I find there's very little discussion about beauty, and yet the Bible clearly relates beauty to clothing. The priests in the Old Testament had a very special function, and God wanted them looking their best. The priests' clothes were beautiful by God's standards, just like the rest of the tabernacle.
The Bible calls those who are saved priests in Revelation 1:6. It also calls us kings in the same verse. Kings and royalty dress beautifully too! The priests were to be dressed in beautiful garments in the Old Testament. Has God changed? No. God still wants His children to look beautiful. The problem is that culture has defined beauty as something it is not.
We need to be careful that our emphasis on modesty is not just about being covered, but also about being beautiful. Not beautiful on our terms, but on God's terms. God has created us to enjoy and appreciate true beauty. I think one of the greatest lessons in beauty is to look at Creation. Think of a rainbow, the trees in the fall, the ocean. God created all these things and they are beautiful. Colour is beautiful. Order is beautiful. God is not the author of confusion, but of order. These principles can be applied to our clothing too.
The more we learn about God and His character, the more we will understand what He views as beautiful. God's beauty should transcend all aspects of our lives. I have chosen to apply it today a little to modesty, because I believe we spend a lot of time trying to define modesty, and we neglect to appreciate that God wants us to be beautiful too! Don't let the world define beauty for you. Let God define it. Get into the Scriptures. Learn about God. Who He is. What He loves. And what He calls beautiful. Then let your life reflect His beauty in you. Not just in how you look, but in how you act, speak, and think too!