There is an obsession in people; or most people’s inmost thoughts and innermost feelings are dominated with a persistent idea, image and desire to look beautiful, handsome and feeling healthy. That’s why the cosmetics, drugs, health foods industries are multimillion dollar businesses. Joining the beauty craze is the exercise equipment manufacturers which produce all kinds of machines that claim and guarantee users of “Adonis-like” and “Aphrodite-like” physique that wooed and envied by everybody.

I guess there is nothing wrong per see to take care of our bodies being the temple of God’s Spirit.  But it is wrong to be preoccupied even to the point of becoming too obsessed about how you look on the outside.

Beauty Products

If you happened to be at a supermarket, or a drug store, or at a department store; look at the shelves displaying all kinds of beauty products. They come in all sorts of sizes, kinds, brand-names, and colors. They come as perfumes, lotions, facial cremes, face powders, body wash, bathe soap, mouthwash, nail polish, lipsticks, etc.

Look further on the shelves of health care stores where you can see dizzying array of health foods and veritable food multivitamins from slimming pills to herbal products to make you look beautiful and young, and feels healthy. On top of these, fashion designers and manufacturers of clothing apparels and jewelries made of pearls, diamonds, silver, gold and various precious stones and metals add theirs to the whole spectrum and gamut of beauty and health products.

Men and women in the movie, entertainment, show business, and advertising world precede and spearhead the users of these arrays of beauty and health products. If you happened to take a look on the magazine racks of the stores, practically all magazines’ cover display models of either (or both)  an “Apollo-looking” man or a “Venus-looking” woman.

Almost all of commercial advertising whether an advertisement of an automobile, motorcycle, refrigerator, LED TV, watches, clothes, bathe soap, toothpaste, SLR and digital cameras, laptop computer, and you name it ad infinitum; contain also a gorgeous picture of a model usually a beautiful and voluptuous woman scantily and provocatively dressed and/or a macho-looking well-built man. Sometimes consumers don’t focus on the products being advertised but the pictures of men and women grabbed first their attention and interest. An article accompanying a photo like below, says a whole lot: “Women in motorcycle advertising have been around forever, they will continue to be, sex sells now as much as ever.”  Sex is part of advertising gimmick to make a product sale-able.

Marissa Miller posing on top of a Harley Davidson motorcycle

An article appeared in a woman’s magazine, and I quote portions of it: “We women adore fashion and style. Fashion comes in clothes, shoes, makeup, fancy accessories, styles the way we carry things and hairstyles. We enjoy dressing up, getting ready and styling our hair. Hair is the part of fashion and beauty and Hair-styling is an art.”

That is to demonstrate man’s instinct and insatiable hunger to live forever young, retaining their youthful strength and beauty.  That’s why this mad quest for the legendary Fountain of Youth, that reputedly restores the youth of anyone who drinks of its waters, continues on relentlessly since the days of Juan Ponce De Leon, the Spanish explorer. The legend story narrated that Ponce De Leon was searching for the fountain of youth when he traveled to what is now Florida in 1513. Since, then, the fountain has been frequently associated with Florida.

Rainbow Springs, formerly known as Blue Spring, is a first-magnitude artesian spring formation in Marion County, Florida, USA, several miles north of the city of Dunnellon, Florida. Rainbow Springs is the focal point of Rainbow Springs State Park. The spring formation is the fourth-largest in Florida, and produces over 490 million gallons of water daily. Rainbow Springs forms the headwaters of the Rainbow River, which empties into the Withlacoochee River. (From Wikipedia)

Rainbow River

Could it be that the Rainbow Springs was the fountain of youth Ponce De Leon was searching for and found in Florida?

However, man’s quest for the fountain of youth, it’s like the endless search for the elusive pot of gold at end of the rainbow; or like the mad craze in search of the hidden treasure of Yamashita, the emperor of Japan during World War II, is proven to be abysmally futile. God said through Jeremiah, one of his Old Testament prophets:  “Be appalled, O heavens, at this; be shocked, be utterly desolate, declares the LORD, for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.” (Jer. 2:12, 13)  The Fountain of Youth that makes one forever young, beautiful and strong and healthy is no other than but God himself.  But most people at all times in countless ways has forsaken God and don’t want to seek after Him. (Psa. 53:2, Rom. 3:11)

Pot of Gold at the end of a Rainbow

In the first book of Moses, the book of origins (Genesis), it related the account of creation. Genesis chapter 1 and verse 31 says: “And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.”  Notice that on the sixth day, the day man was created, the phrase “it was very good” only appeared here. The preceding days of creation, all that God made, they were only “good.” This is to show that the creation of man being the apex and the masterpiece of God’s creation, caps everything he had made as “very good.”

There is poem made into a hymn that children sing which goes this way:

All things bright and beautiful,

All creatures great and small,

All things wise and wonderful,

The Lord God made them all.

The implication here is originally God made man very good, very good looking, very healthy and very beautiful. But sin marred, defaced, disfigured, deformed and destroyed this beautiful masterpiece of God’s creation, man, which was created in his image. The physical and mental deformities of man are primarily the result of sin. Sin has affected the genes and cells of man’s body that’s why there are children born with defects and deformities and abnormalities.

Birth Defects

In Rom 5:12, the apostle Paul wrote “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned.” Sin destroyed everything beautiful about the man, including his estimation and perception about himself. The Fall distorted and warped his thinking. That ugly spirit of rebellion had caused dissatisfaction and discontentment of about how he looks. That attitude had spawned and given rise to question God: “But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” (Rom 9:20)  Here the apostle is quoting the words of Isaiah in Isa 45:9  “Woe to him who strives with him who formed him, a pot among earthen pots! Does the clay say to him who forms it, ‘What are you making?’ or ‘Your work has no handles’?  

That’s why some peoples of different races like any of the traditional divisions of humankind, the commonest being the Caucasian, Mongoloid, and Negro, characterized by supposedly distinctive and universal physical characteristics as skin color, facial form, or eye shape, or nose shape, etc. sometimes they don’t like the way God made them.

It’s no wonder men and women turned to all kinds of technological marvels to somewhat alter, or change, or improve their God given characteristics.  They resorted to all kinds of remedies and cures  for the ailments of discontentment and dissatisfaction about their looks and make-ups. They turned to cosmetics, surgery, breast-lifts, face-lifts or nose-lifts, whitening lotions to make the skin looks fairer, expose their white skin to have sun-tan, slimming gadgets, costly apparels, fancy and real jewelries etcetera to make themselves look beautiful and feeling healthy. As I said, they are too obsessed and preoccupied to outwardly adorn themselves with all kinds of adornment to camouflage the ugliness of their hearts because of sin.

The apostle Peter admonished Christian women and wives: “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.” (1Pe 3:3-6).

Beautiful Flowers, Lake and Mountains

“The apostle does not condemn true ornament, nor does he condemn the desire to appear in such a way as to secure the esteem of others. God does not condemn real ornament. The universe is full of it. The colors of the clouds and of the rainbow; the varied hues of flowers; the plumage of birds, and the covering of many of the animals of the forest; the green grass; the variety of hill and dale; the beauty of the human complexion, the ruddy cheek, and the sparkling eye, are all of the nature of ornament…The true notion of ornament or adorning is that which will make any person or thing appear well, or beautiful, to others; and the apostle does not prohibit that which would have this effect in the wife. The grand thing which she was to seek, was not that which is merely external, but that which is internal, and which God regards as of so great value…Let not this be the main or principal thing; let not her heart be set on this. The apostle does not say that she should wholly neglect her personal appearance, for she has no more right to be offensive to her husband by neglecting her personal appearance, than by a finical attention to it. Religion promotes neatness, and cleanliness, and a proper attention to our external appearance according to our circumstances in life, as certainly as it does to the internal virtue of the soul.”  (From Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible)

In other words, Peter is warning women against too much preoccupation with the external adornment instead of the internal.  He goes on to show the examples of holy women like Sarah the wife of Abraham on how they adorned themselves. A Christian woman with unsaved husband is to adorn herself in a certain way in order to captivate and win him to Christ, that is a life live in obedience, reverence and purity expressed in submissive attitude that honors her husband as the head of the house; coupled with a meek and gentle and quiet spirit has far more impact upon her unsaved husband to motivate him to embrace true religion.

Matthew Henry’s Commentary of the Whole Bible also has commented about these verses from 1 Peter 3:3-6: “The ornaments of the body are destroyed by the moth, and perish in the using; but the grace of God, the longer we wear it, the brighter and better it is. More especially, the finest ornament of Christian women is a meek and quiet spirit, a tractable easy temper of mind, void of passion, pride, and immoderate anger, discovering itself in a quiet obliging behavior towards their husbands and families. If the husband be harsh, and averse to religion (which was the case of these good wives to whom the apostle gives this direction), there is no way so likely to win him as a prudent meek behavior. At least, a quiet spirit will make a good woman easy to herself, which, being visible to others, becomes an amiable ornament to a person in the eyes of the world.”

Zhang Ziyi, a Chinese film actress. the 24th of the 50 Most Beautiful Female Celebrities

Part of the lesson which Lemuel’s mother (Lemuel was the name Bathsheba, his mother fondly called Solomon when he was still young) taught him was that “Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.”  (Prov 31:30).  She was admonishing him that he should not gauge a virtuous woman by her charming beauty, by her attractive looks, by her charismatic personality, by her well favored look, by her graceful countenance, by the symmetry and well-proportioned body parts. These qualities are not the determining factor  that classify a virtuous woman, but a woman who fear the Lord. That is the true gauge determinative of a virtuous woman.

A certain author wrote: “Beauty is only skin deep.”  If you were born with a beautiful face and a well-proportioned figure, thank and praise God for them. But remember they are but temporary and transitory; they are just passing phenomenon.  Over time your beautiful face and well-proportioned body will soon fade and consumed away, or will be ravaged by an illness or a dreadful disease like cancer, and peter away through old age; and vanish lastly by death.

 “A fit of sickness will stain and sully (or tarnish) it in a little time; a thousand accidents may blast this flower in its prime; old age will certainly wither it and death and the grave consume it. But the fear of God reigning in the heart is the beauty of the soul; it recommends those that have it to the favor of God, and is, in his sight, of great price; it will last for ever, and bid defiance to death itself, which consumes the beauty of the body, but consummates the beauty of the soul.” (From Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Proverbs 31:30)

I want to conclude and leave you with these words: “The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman is seen in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides. True beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It’s the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows & the beauty of a woman only grows with passing years.” ― Audrey Hepburn

Audrey Hepburn (born Audrey Kathleen Ruston; (4 May 1929 – 20 January 1993) was a British actress and humanitarian. Although modest about her acting ability, Hepburn remains one of the world’s most famous actresses of all time, remembered as a film and fashion icon of the twentieth century. Born in Ixelles, a district of Brussels, Hepburn spent her childhood between Belgium, England and the Netherlands, including German-occupied Arnhem during the Second World War. Her war-time struggles inspired her passion for humanitarian work and, although Hepburn had contributed to the organisation since the 1950s, she worked in some of the most profoundly disadvantaged communities of Africa, South America and Asia in the late eighties and early nineties. In 1992, Hepburn was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in recognition of her work as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador but died of appendiceal cancer at her home in Switzerland, aged 63, in 1993. (Source: Wiki)

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