In the course of a year, $8 billion dollars is spent in the United States on cosmetics. Over a lifetime, a typical women spends $15,000 on makeup products.
That’s a huge investment in outward beauty. And it’s not just money. According to a Today/AOL report completed in 2014, the average woman takes 55 minutes to run through her daily beauty routine.
Interestingly, while men still appear to be far behind the women in spending time and money this way, recent studies seem to show them beginning to close the gap.
Looking back on the beauty routines of the ancient Greeks, Romans and Egyptians, none of this represents anything new, I’d guess.
There’s absolutely nothing sinful about investing modest sums in enhancing one’s physical beauty, as long as we do not somehow wrap our identity (and even our destiny) around such things. That being said, in ancient times and in modern, what has always been most needed is beauty of the heart and mind.
When a woman finds her identity in Christ, her inner confidence, peace and joy begin to radiate to the outside. As faith in Jesus’ love and goodness grows, true, inner beauty glows brighter and brighter. A woman who knows to the depth of her very being that she is God’s daughter, and carries herself that way, will always possess that something extra.
Inward beauty trumps outward beauty any day of the week, and twice on Sunday. It’s value is infinitesimally greater, as the author of Proverbs 31 notes. While the added value is huge to the woman herself, to her family members and business partners, none will see the value of a woman of noble character more clearly than the woman’s husband.
Some may consider this section rather “old fashioned.” But broaden it out. How many companies have failed in recent years from “all star” CEO’s having abysmal failures of character? They may have had all kinds of wonderful talents and abilities. But in the end, what truly counted was their character.
The book of Proverbs begins as a father’s advice to his son. And one way of looking at the final chapter of Proverbs is to see it as a father’s advice to his daughter. So maybe the question is simply this, “What do we want to see our daughters grow up to become? What beauty do we want them to see as their true beauty?”
“A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life” (Proverbs 31:10-12, NIV).
Jesus, help our daughters to grow up to be beautiful in your sight. May we have both men and women of gospel-motivated character in positions of leadership in our world so that our world may continue in peace and harmony, with great productivity. And through this, Lord, may your name be glorified and your kingdom come, as the gospel reaches to the ends of the earth.
Our Bible reading for Saturday, December 26, is Nehemiah 5:1 – 7:3, Revelation 18:1-17 and Proverbs 31:10-20.
Header image based on "Girl in Make-Up Mirror" by Saxbald Street Photography, CC By 2.0