I Peter 3:3-4 (ESV) Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—but let your adorning 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.
It’s Sunday. Everyone is still sleeping. In my closet, I am slowly looking through the embarrassing abundance of clothing for something to wear to church today. Not much for skirts or dresses, I quickly pass them by and begin assessing the pants for some that might fit properly. I’ve gained a few pounds that though I am earnestly trying to discard are stubbornly hanging on for dear life so the assessment yields few that I find acceptable. Turning to blouses – long sleeve, short sleeve, tank top. Do I wear a cardigan or kimono to cover or no? I can’t even think about shoes yet. Making my way to this place of quiet time in my Father’s Presence, this passage comes to mind. I have made no real choice or decision – it will have to wait for now. I always find something and manage to make it out the door. But this morning, the Lord is whispering to me that it is not in the earthly garments and apparel that offer any kind of attractiveness but what is hidden in our heart filled with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit that God finds precious in His Sight.
Please don’t get me wrong. I believe that honoring God includes caring for His Temple. My body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit. I should continually work His Spirit in my mind, body and soul for completeness. This flesh will not go to heaven but it carries me through the earth. To maintain our health only allows the glow of a healthy soul to shine through more clearly. To have a made up mind that is settled on Christ free from fear, worry, doubt and sorrow emanate that my expectancy is not in the outcomes of life but the One who lives in me.
During my stints on the elliptical machine, I listen to praise and worship music. My kids laugh at me. How can you work out to church music? I don’t think I would survive if I did not. To hear of His Love and fill my heart with encouragement as I fight my flesh to keep going while my fat screams for release keeps me going as I focus on Him. When the workout is complete, I feel refreshed in my mind and soul, as well as my body. The Spirit of God waits to be invited into every area of my life. When I open the door to my mind, soul AND body, He will enter in and begin to transform me from the inside out. What better way to represent Christ and even minister in unlikely places?
Proverbs 31:30 (ESV) Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Society focuses heavily on appearance. Social media offers a platform to present false images and alternate personas. I am in love with the filters that erase the wrinkles of time and any imperfection. Charm is deceitful. Beauty is vain when the kind of loveliness sought after is that longing for human acceptance, affirmation and affection. The Lord looks much deeper than face value. He is looking inside the broken hearts and torn apart lives that superficiality has left behind. Depression and despair cloak perfect smiles and flawless features who live in darkness without experiencing true love that is unconditional yet offered freely in overflowing abundance by the Living God to His Beloved Children.
I Samuel 16:7 (ESV) But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”
Appearances are not everything. There are some beautiful people projecting artificial contentment and satisfaction when really they are empty inside. The prospering soul begins inside of us and then God works it through our natural life as well. Our soul goes to Heaven. It is the most important feature of the human makeup. Once our soul is secure, the heart will change by falling deeper in love with Jesus each day. His Spirit slowly begins to inhabit us and permeate the space of our heart. He picks up the broken pieces and shapes our life into the beautiful masterpiece day by day. We assist Him only in the surrender of our whole spirit, mind, and body to the process. Without all of our being, there is no possible way to be complete and lack nothing. There is no fulfillment of purpose with every detail. He has a plan and our life is filled with great potential – it just takes allowing God to change our countenance from the inside out. Trusting that He will meet and exceed our expectation. To believe that nothing is impossible and discipline our mind, spirit and body to remain engaged in His Way. A new life and inexpressible joy create radiant beings that truly reflect the Love of God in the most amazing way!
I Thessalonians 5:23-24 (ESV) Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.