“Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.”
1 Peter 3:3-4
My mister and I were off.
The day was cool, so we layered up. T-shirts, check. Sweatshirts, check. Bunnyhugs (hoodies, to you non prairie folk) and light jackets, check and check. Over them all, a wind proof layer.
Turns out, the sun came out. We were working harder than anticipated with the uneven hilly terrain.
Too. Many. Layers.
Back at camp, off came the layers – from damp to wet as we got closer to our skin.
Later, as we ate our supper, I eyed those empty shells drying hither and yon around the campfire, and it got me thinking.
You and I can look a little like that – a pretty shell with the appearance of life about it, but empty inside.
I wonder if that was in the Apostle Peter’s mind as he wrote these words so many years ago.
It appears human nature hasn’t changed that much. We all layer up.
Plaster on that smile, so others don’t see our lips trembling. Paint on some fancy liner and smear on the shadow to hide the fear in our eyes. Keep up with the trends so we don’t stick out in a crowd. Anti-aging, hair-thickening, flaw-concealing, flab-toning, glute-sculpting, tummy-tucking layers check, check, and check.
Layers, layers, and more layers.
Each one hiding the real you.
The truth is, your skin is just a rental (to borrow the wisdom of the band Switchfoot.) Whatever outward beauty you may have or not have is temporary.
It is the real you, your soul, the part of you that houses your thoughts and dreams and personality and quirks, that needs the special treatment, the attention to detail, the beauty treatment.
That is the part of you that will live forever. Yet we spend very little time working on our character, our eternal and permanent parts, and an inordinate amount of time on our outside layers – the rental.
God reminds us through His good friend Peter here that it is our inside, the real deal, that most matters to Him.
Notice the text doesn’t say to let the outside go.
No, it reminds us to not be concerned about it – not to be so focused on, overwhelmed by, or exclusive about what is so temporary, when building eternal characteristics is at stake.
Are you just a pretty shell?
Or is there a lot more to you than meets the eye?
Make one change that will build your inner beauty with me?
Father, Your heart loves a woman’s inner strength and resilience, values her skills and intellect and creativity, glories in how she is delightfully relational and constantly creates connections. Show us how to develop our inner qualities so that our beauty will be unfading and eternal. Amen.