When I look at pictures of my mom when she was nineteen years old, I see beauty. But the same was true when she was 79, even though she wasn’t beautiful in the same way. In 1949 she was beautiful on the outside. In her eighties she was still beautiful on the outside, but her inside beauty was far greater. The mom I knew feared the Lord, and that is far better than beauty that is often created using makeup, a fancy hairdo and fine clothing. But she also had a beauty that was precious in God’s sight. She had heart beauty. Her beauty was in her gentleness. It was in her quiet spirit of trusting in God and in loving others who were in distress or even those who were distressing her.
Proverbs 31:30 says, “Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” Therefore, let me praise my mom. She was beautiful because of her deep faith in Christ Jesus. She wanted to love her Savior in return, so her focus became adorning her heart.
“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.” 1 Peter 3:3-4 (ESV)
John Piper wisely observes the following about the text from 1 Peter:
“That cannot mean that it’s wrong to give no attention to your hair. It cannot mean that it’s wrong to wear an earring, a bracelet, a necklace. And the reason it can’t mean that is because, in that sequence of hair, jewelry, and clothing, it would mean she couldn’t wear clothing, which it manifestly does not mean.
If “Don’t let your adorning be your clothing” doesn’t mean you can’t wear any and “Don’t let your adorning be your braiding of your hair” doesn’t mean you can’t do it and “Don’t let your adorning be gold jewelry” doesn’t mean you can’t wear any, then what does it mean?
“Spend your life, spend your creativity, spend your prayers on the kind of beauty that can never perish.”
It means that when you think about focusing your mind on something, focusing your energy on something, focusing your time on something, that’s not where your mind goes. Your mind goes, “I will spend my life, I will spend my creativity, I’ll spend my prayer, I’ll spend my efforts becoming beautiful with the kind of beauty that is imperishable.”