Standard “how-to” books on feminine beauty can range from painfully silly to revoltingly crude. Their philosophy and their purpose are skewed. That’s inevitable because they overlook or deny the most important aspect of the human self and its existence: the spiritual. So, then, the beauty they tout really is only skin deep. What a waste, and what a shame.
The world’s beauty emphasis is only to be expected, and it shouldn’t surprise us. But it is sad to see that, rather than recognizing and rejecting the secular approach to womanly beauty, many Christians accept and adopt it. Why? How is it that saved girls and women can so readily fall prey to worldly blandishments? I believe that primarily the weakness lies in compartmentalizing life. That is, “spiritual” is the church; everything else is secular.
For those of us who are born again, the spiritual dimension isn’t to be an isolated compartment; it should be the vital core of self and life. We’re told in Genesis that when God created the first human being, “man became a living soul.” We occupy this body of flesh only a brief time, but our soul lives forever. According to the infallible, forever-settled Word of God, a person’s soul continues to exist either rejoicing in heaven with God or suffering in hell, condemned by God. The determining factor in our eternal destiny is our soul’s garb. Every individual chooses his spiritual garments: either gleaming robes of righteousness purchased by the blood of Christ the Savior or the besmirched rags of sin produced by self-effort.
Our temporal being and our eternal one are not meant to be separated from one another, existing in different compartments. The two communicate and interact constantly. Our “living soul” is the very essence of our being. Scripture urges us as believers to live in such a way that we reflect not just the unspeakably marvelous work that has been done in our soul but also the mighty Worker, the Lord Jesus Christ.
For whom is this book written? Women everywhere who possess genuine internal beauty—beauty that has its source in light. Such beauty is possible only through sin’s cleansing by the shed blood of Jesus Christ and the continuing “housework” of the indwelling Holy Spirit.
Our world is full of religious labels. But labels don’t count for a thing. God’s holy Word, the Bible, makes clear that human beings are helpless to cleanse their own hearts, to purify their own lives, and to make themselves acceptable in the sight of an eternal, holy God.
But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. Isa. 64:6
Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil. Isa. 1:16
Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. Isa. 1:18
Perhaps you don’t like to acknowledge your dark sinfulness; the Bible silences any objections by saying,
for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. Rom. 3:23
Rather than deny our sinfulness, God calls upon us to acknowledge the filth of our sins and to bring them to Him for cleansing:
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. I John 1:9
Why ask God to remove our sins? Because otherwise a righteous and just God must condemn our sin and punish it. He proclaimed long ago through Ezekiel,
the soul that sinneth, it shall die. Ezek. 18:20
The truth was reiterated by the apostle Paul, with the cure for sin added:
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Rom. 6:23
When we acknowledge and confess our sins, God cancels our punishment because Jesus Christ took our sinfulness upon Himself and died on our behalf on the cross of Calvary.
Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree. Gal. 3:13
Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross. Col. 2:14
As He cancels our sin debt, He simultaneously extends an eternal gift:
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast. Eph. 2:8–9
He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. And this is the record, that God hath given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. I John 5:10–12
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. . . . For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Rom. 10:9–10, 13
Saved! Cleansed! Made new by the power of God through the precious blood of His only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ! Jesus said,
I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. John 12:46
Thus, we are brought out of death’s darkness into the light of life.
He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord. Ps. 40:2–3
Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Rom. 5:1
We emerge from spiritual darkness and enter into light instantaneously at salvation. It is a gift. But we walk in light by choice. The prophet Isaiah long ago challenged,
Come ye, and let us walk in the light of the Lord. Isa. 2:5b
Jesus said in John 8:12,
I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
That chosen path of following Christ more often than not moves in direct opposition to the world’s pathway. Only with a heart made clean and lovely by salvation can a woman move toward genuine beauty of self and life.
God’s desire is that salvation should begin a process by which we grow spiritually lovelier day by day. The process is called sanctification. Likewise, in matters of our physical self we should engage in thoughtful, consistent effort toward loveliness. Our outward self should be unified with our inner person as we move toward that supreme moment when we’ll stand face to face with Him who is “altogether lovely.”
There are many ways to approach the subject of a Christian woman’s testimony before others. In order to achieve unity and to emphasize pervasive spiritual principles, I’ve chosen the theme of light. In the physical sense, we recognize and opt for the advantage of light over darkness. The very contrast of the terms themselves is something we use often in conversation, description, and instruction.
While an unsaved girl or woman orders her life according to considerations of herself, her feelings, her desires, her ease, and so forth, God’s woman must live very differently. The Bible clearly sets forth that principle from Genesis through Revelation: the believer’s life focus is to be God Himself. First John 1:5b tells us,
God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.
Further, the Word declares,
In him we live, and move, and have our being. Acts 17:28
Accordingly, we should be lighted creatures in every part of our existence.
What, then, is my intended purpose in writing this book? To encourage and assist a born-again Christian woman—whether she’s twelve or eighty-two—to cultivate her personal feminine loveliness in order to reflect the beauty Jesus Christ has brought to her soul and heart.
Women in wide-ranging age groups used the original Beauty and the Best. This new book is intended to expand on the concepts presented there. Each chapter will first deal with general principles concerning the topic under discussion, followed by Spiritual X-Rays, in which we’ll encapsulate heart essentials in a Christian’s pursuit of beauty. Then a Generation Considerations section will address three groups: teens, mothers, and mentors. And finally, chapters will end with Caution Lights, giving observations and warnings about imbalance and distortion.
Now let’s move ahead together to carefully explore and contemplate various life areas we share as women and in which we have responsibility to seek—and to reflect—the light of the Lord. May the psalmist’s prayer become ours.
O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles. Ps. 43:3