Guest Post, Crystal Ingle: True Beauty

Guest Post, Crystal Ingle: True Beauty August 28, 2019

Even on those days when we are ragged, haven’t change out of our pajamas, are tackling 5 extra large loads of laundry, clipping 60 plus finger and toenails, preparing 3 meals and numerous snacks, mopping the floor for the third time in a 2 hour period, fumbling through papers trying to find that “one” important document while briefly stopping by the mirror to tuck back lose hairs and wipe the mascara from under our eyes as we rush to answer the door praying, “Lord, please let it be my mother and not the mailman,” we can still radiate true beauty.

JVI | Crystal Ingle: True Beauty | 08.28.19

Guest Post: True Beauty

When I think of the women in my life that I call beautiful, rarely does it have anything to do with their outer appearance.  It has so much to do with the spirit and actions of who she really is and how she displays herself.  Am I one of those women?  Not yet, but I am striving to attain true beauty.

Whose adorning let it not be the outward adorning of braiding the hair, and of wearing jewels of gold, or of putting on apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in the incorruptible apparel of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.  1 Peter iii.3-4, KJV

i. What True Beauty is Not

Whose adorning let it not be the outward adorning of braiding the hair, and of wearing jewels of gold, or of putting on apparel (verse 3).

The essence of this verse is simplicity in dress.  So often we are bombarded with style, fashion, and materialism that our lives become consumed with the “what will I wear” part of another familiar verse in Matthew.

Simplicity is the practice of limiting or getting rid of things that stand between Christ and us.

Are we too busy trying to be someone or something else that we are not being who God created us to be? Sometimes we need to be set free from having too much, set free from not having enough, set free from keeping up with the manikin or magazine cover, set free from the world’s view of beauty.

Two of my favorite children’s books by Max Lucado, You Are Special [1] and If Only I Had A Green Nose[2], help to illustrate the relationship between the world’s ideas of beauty versus our Creator’s.  The main character, a simple minded Wemmick cares too much about what others think of him and of keeping up with the latest fashions.  After some time, he realizes how unhappy he is with himself and with the system, until he meets his creator.  The creator assures him that the approval of others only matters when you “let” it.  He tells the Wemmick, “The more you trust my love, the less you care,” about what they think of you.  He continues, “I’ll always help you be who I made you to be, but it’s going to take some time.” We are special and beautiful to our Creator because He made us.  It is that simple.

Sometimes our thoughts of ourselves, or what we believe others are thinking of us, can betray us.

You keep listening to those who seem to reject you . . . They do not say that you are bad, ugly, or despicable.  They say only that you are asking for something they cannot give . . . The sadness is that you perceive their necessary withdrawal as a rejection of you instead of as a call to return home and discover there your true belovedness.[3]

It is only in Christ that we are able to find our true beauty.  In Him we realize true beauty is not physical and it does not come from the acceptance others may or may not give.  It goes much deeper.  It is spiritual.

ii. What True Beauty Is

But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in the incorruptible apparel of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price (1 Peter iii.4).

When we are able to return home to Christ and accept that He calls us His beloved, then we are capable of moving toward true beauty.  True beauty in this passage is, “the hidden man of the heart, . . . a meek and quiet spirit.”

I find it interesting that the only self-description Christ ever used of Himself as recorded in the Gospels is found in the two words “meek” and “lowly” (Matthew xi.29). We are going to focus on the word “meek.”  How did Christ display the characteristic of meekness?  What does it mean for us to be meek toward God and others?

Christ displayed meekness by being the servant of all, placing Himself in a position to serve others at all times.  He filled the needs of others constantly; needs for healing, food, more faith, truth, living water, cleansing, forgiveness, and finally becoming the ultimate sacrifice for all mankind.

iii. What Meekness Is   

Meekness is that temper of spirit in which we accept God’s dealings with us as good, and we accept this without disputing or resisting.  In other words, taking the bad with the good, knowing that it is God who orders our steps, and that He is using our circumstances to beautify us.  I will admit that I have had my disputes with the Lord, over certain situations, and I am learning that meekness is truly a better way.  Am I still being real?  Yes, but I come to accept that God is on my side and that He loves me completely.  As a result of this knowledge I respond to Him with trust, trying to refrain from complaining or arguing, and therefore begin to reflect the beauty of Christ.

Matthew Henry puts it very plainly, stating that meekness is the opposite of self-assertiveness and self-interest.  It stems from trust in God’s goodness and control over each problem.  The meek are not occupied with self at all.  They are able to bear being provoked by another without becoming inflamed.  The meek are either silent or return a soft answer.  They can show their displeasure when necessary without being indecent.  They can be cool when others are hot, and in their patience, keep possession of their own souls.[4]

To be meek is to have self-control, keeping your center when under pressure.  To be meek is to be free from pride.  Such a tall order, especially in our selfish American society, but I have met many women with this true beauty of meekness at work in their lives.

iv. Responding in Meekness

To be beautiful as Christ is beautiful, we must cultivate a spirit of meekness, first toward God and then toward others.  We have all encountered that one individual who seems to push all of our buttons.  It’s remarkable how we seem to believe that those we get along with are sent from God, but what about the one who tests our character?  Is this one also from the Lord?  Although some get under our skin we are not to respond with extreme emotional reactions toward friends, acquaintances, or even family.  We must remember to accept God’s dealings with us as good, without disputing.  How can I serve this individual?  Can I offer friendship, prayer, mercy, or a soft answer?  These are truly beautiful responses.

True Beauty is set in motion in our spirit man when we trust our Creator, when we believe He has made us just the way he intended, and when we accept that we are His beloved.  His desire is to beautify us through meekness.  When we are meek we are content with ourselves and with our circumstances, responding to our Creator in trust and to others in self-control.

I encourage you to allow meekness to begin its work of beautification in your life.

The more you come to know yourself-spirit, mind, and body-as truly loved, the freer you will be to proclaim the good news.  That is the freedom of the children of God.  Henri Nouwen[5]

Prayer: Meek and lowly, Lord – beautify me.

Scripture:

Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  Matthew xi.29, KJV

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 iii.3-4, NLT

Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.  Matthew v.5, KJV


Crystal P. Ingle is a Christian, Wife, Mom, homeschool mom, a gifted communicator, and online ESL teacher through VIPKID.

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notes:

[1] Max Lucado, You Are Special (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1997).

[2] Max Lucado, If Only I Had A Green Nose (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2002).

[3] adapted from Henri J.M. Nouwen, The Inner Voice of Love: A Journey Through Anguish to Freedom (New York: Doubleday, 1996).

[4] adapted from Matthew Henry, Matthew to John, vol. 5 of Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible (Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1721).

[5] Nouwen, 75.


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