And you, O desolate one, what do you mean that you dress in scarlet, that you adorn yourself with ornaments of gold, that you enlarge your eyes with paint? In vain you beautify yourself. Your lovers despise you; they will seek your life. (Jeremiah 4:30)
God said this to the people of Israel (Judah) and to Jerusalem (Jer. 4:11) as part of the warning of the captivity to come. The point here seems to be basically, “Why are you still trying to look like something you are not for the people who hate you?” Judah had used the riches and blessings God had given her (symbolized by the dress, jewelry, and makeup) to commit adultery with other gods.
Jezebel did much the same thing on a personal level in 2 Kings 9:30-36. We see Jezebel respond to Jehu’s arrival, to destroy her and all of Ahab’s household, with putting on her makeup and arranging her hair.
These and other verses show that this is a natural tendency for women. When things are tough, when there is a problem to solve – you put on your “armor”, so to speak. You make yourself look as nice as you can so you can gain an advantage, or you try to make someone believe that you are something other than what you are by putting on the makeup, certain clothes, and styling your hair.
God has provided the abundance that allows you to have beautiful fabrics, makeup and jewelry. These things are meant to point you back to God and what He has made of you, rather than to be something that is used to build you up separate from Him.
You do need to know that you are beautiful. You do need to have confidence to approach the circumstances that come your way. The answer is not in fashion. It is not in Hollywood. The answer is right in your Bible. God shares how He makes you beautiful!
David expressed in Psalm 139:14, “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” You are beautiful because God created you! On days three through six of Creation, God “saw that it was good” after each new creation until He created man and woman. In Genesis 1:31, after He created man and woman, then He saw everything that He had made and it was “very good”. The miracle of Creation is a wonderful thing, but God expressed deeper pleasure in it after He created mankind. You are unique from the animals. Your soul is made “in [God’s] image” (Genesis 1:26).
Psalm 149:4 says, “For the Lord takes pleasure in His people; He adorns the humble with salvation.” You are made beautiful again when you receive God’s gift of salvation. 2 Thessalonians 2:13 reminds us that this was God’s plan from the beginning:
But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the first-fruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. (ESV)
He has given you “armor” to put on so that you can face your day. He has provided the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the readiness of the gospel of peace as shoes, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God (Eph. 6:14-17). What armor could you apply to your face or choose for yourself that would fare better than the armor God has ready for you? It is designed for the very battles you will face. Get up each day and put it on!
You CAN have confidence in your beauty – when you define it God’s way! 1 Timothy 2:8-10 explains how women are to dress:
I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling; likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness – with good works. (ESV)
Just as men are to approach God in prayer with holy hands exemplified by self-control and good attitudes, women are to live up to the “godliness” that they profess by showing self-control, dressing appropriately and doing good works. Peter explains this further in 1 Peter 3:3-6 saying:
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. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening. (ESV)
Isn’t “imperishable beauty” what the world is always seeking and promising with makeup, diets, and pills? God tells you where TRUE beauty lies – WITHIN your heart. When you know that you are being obedient to Him by showing a “meek and quiet spirit”, you can have confidence in yourself. When you put on your beauty the same way that “holy women” did, by submitting to your husband’s God-given authority and doing good, then you can approach any day confident in the beauty God sees in you because of those things you do.
If you want to feel beautiful every day, no matter how the world is defining “beauty” that day, then follow the protocol that Peter provides in 2 Peter 1:3-11. If you will get up each day and work on adding to your faith virtue, adding to your virtue knowledge, adding to your knowledge self-control, to your self-control steadfastness, adding to your steadfastness godliness, to your godliness brotherly affection, and adding to your brotherly affection love then you WILL have that adorning of salvation mentioned in Psalm 149:4!
If you were created by God Almighty (which you were, because ALL men have been), then you are beautiful.
If you are one who has been baptized into the “newness of life” that is salvation (Rom. 6:4; Eph. 2:8-10), then you are beautiful.
If you are doing good works, choosing apparel that is readily recognized as godly, and showing a meek and quiet spirit that manifests itself by being submissive, then you are beautiful.
When you look in the mirror, do not be ashamed of the unique beauty God gave you when He formed YOU. Use the blessings of clothing, makeup and jewelry to bring glory to God. Develop a meek and quiet spirit that shines with that imperishable beauty that God takes pleasure in. Put on the BEST armor every day, starting with the helmet of salvation and see the true beauty that is within you.
You can study this topic further here. Lessons that will build your confidence and inner beauty can also be found in the Bible Study Guide “To Be a Handmaid of the Lord” – Pre-order you copy today!