By Dr. Emily Dean, Coordinator of Women's Programs
Have you noticed how desperate people in our culture are to hang on to the “fountain of youth?” Everywhere you turn you see advertisements touting products that will make you look years younger or many pounds slimmer. Maybe it’s because I’m now seeing wrinkle creams ads popping up on my social media, (which I am in denial that I am old enough to need wrinkle cream!), but it’s really hard as women in Western culture to get away from the persistent messages that youthful physical beauty should be our primary pursuit. Even going to my dermatologist is like going to a medi-spa. Botox, anyone?
Last weekend we heard a wonderful word at our NOBTS Women’s Conference from Proverbs 31. As we continue to think about that passage, here are some thoughts from a verse that stuck out to me. In Proverbs 31:30 (HCSB) we find, “Charm is deceptive, beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord will be praised.” Hmmm….maybe it’s not just 21st century American culture. Maybe women in the Old Testament struggled with the fleeting pursuit of beauty as well.
We all know that beauty fades as you get older, (If you haven’t learned this from experience yet, you will!), but that doesn’t keep many of us from desperately trying to hang on to it! Jesus told us though that if we want to save our lives, we will lose it. Only in losing our lives for Jesus will we save it (Luke 9:24). What does it mean then to hold on to a life that really lasts?
From this passage, we see:
1) Charm is deceptive – Women have the gift of influence, and our influence is very powerful. We can all think of women who used their influence to be deceptive and destructive. Think Jezebel. How many girls are actually named after her? Not many. Don’t underestimate the power of your influence. Use your influence to bring those around you to the feet of Jesus. When asked for advice, always point your family and friends to Christ.
2) Beauty is fleeting – If you really want to be counter-cultural in the way you live, let this phrase impact your perception of appearance. Ask yourself often, am I obsessing over something that is surely going to fade? Does this mean that we should ignore our appearance all together? Definitely not! In ministry especially, good hygiene and a modest, professional appearance is welcomed by all. My motto is….Look your best, and don’t worry about the rest.
3) Fear the Lord – Daily pursuing a passionate relationship with Jesus is what really lasts. Your influence on people is what really matters, and staying close to Jesus will leave a far greater impact than how your hair was styled for an event. Building your life on the latest beauty products or fashion trends is about like building your house with no foundation like Jesus mentions in Luke 6. The fountain of youth will always remain out of reach (especially since there really is no fountain!). What you can hold onto is the Word of God. When life and ministry get tough, holding onto Jesus means you are holding onto a life that lasts.