BEAUTY THAT LAST

BEAUTY THAT LAST

BEDROCKS

Sade Akanni

Beauty can be defined as a combination of qualities that give pleasure to the senses (especially the eye or ear) or to the mind. It is a pleasing or attractive feature about something or somebody. It can be external or internal. Behind the rush for new clothes and cars, new ar­chitectural designs and new fashion designs is, most of the times, the desire for beauty. Beauty is a great charming phenomenon in the world today. To look beautiful is an uppermost desire in the hearts of many young ladies. It is what pushes many to get money at all cost so as to be able to buy things to beautify themselves. The desire to appear beautiful has become such a great matter that both the young and the old make it their pursuit. As it happens to women, so it happens to men though the desire and investment on beauty is much more intense among women.

 

Most of the time, it is the desire for beauty and importance that makes men to go for the more recent flashy cars and architectural designs. It is the same thing that makes men (even Christians) to rush for girls that look beautiful. Such girls often receive more proposals for marriage from more than the less beautiful ones not necessarily because the, Lord is leading them but because the beautiful appearances of the girls attract them. People naturally go for things that appear beautiful. Unfortunately, such beauty is temporary. A beautiful house, no matter how beautiful, will soon fade away or collapse and a little carelessness w!.th fire may raze it down to ashes. The same thing it is with beautiful cars, clothes etc. Even the beauty of human appearance is not everlasting. A girl that appears beautiful today may become ugly tomorrow by reason of growth or child bearing, sickness or accident. Handsome men also are often not handsome for life. Things can happen in life to turn that beauty to ashes. Moreover, every such beauty is sure to be terminated by death whether you like it or not. If you make physical beauty your pursuit, you will be dis­appointed because it will surely fade away.

 

But there is a beauty that lasts, an inner beauty, which attracts God to one’s life. That is the focus of this article. If we would please God and see Him in action in our lives, that must be our pursuit.

 

Fading Beauty

” …For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (2Cor.4: 18)

There is a temporary beauty and there is the beauty that lasts. There is a fading beauty and a beauty that is eternal. The things, which are seen, things that are physi­cal and visible, the Bible says, are temporary. No matter how much is spent to bring forth such beautiful edifice, beautiful body and face or beautiful clothes, it is temporary. It will not last. As long as you can see it with your eyes, it is a fading beauty and it will leave you empty and disappointed at last.

But the things, which are invisible, are eternal. There is an invisible beauty, a beauty not physical in terms of ap­pearance; that is the beauty that lasts and that is the beauty we must pursue.

 

“Then as He went out of the temple, one of His disciples said to Him, “Teacher, see what man­ner of stones and what buildings are here!” Mk 13:1-2.

The temple of Solomon was built with precious stones and costly materials. And it was God that provided all that was used to build it. At the time that temple was being dedicated, God told Solomon (all Israel) what he should focus upon (2Chr. 7: 17-22). He must make his walk with the Lord his topmost priority. His inner life must be con­tinually right with God. He must walk according to God’s will. He was warned that if he turned away from doing that, even that magnificent temple he built would be de­stroyed. And when Solomon and the people of Israel diso­beyed that instruction, they were carried away captives and the temple was destroyed.

 

After many years when the people returned to the Lord, the temple was rebuilt. And in the scriptures above, we sy.e Jesus referring to the same issue. Buildings may be beautiful but they are temporary. Cars may be flashy, but these will not last forever. The whole world is subject to the force of decay. Physical beauty is a beauty that fades. What to concentrate our attention and lives upon is to build the beauty that lasts.

 

What God looks for is the inner beauty, as soon as that is omitted, even the beautiful body, the beautiful build­ing and the beautiful car will be affected. Agents of decay will be sent to attack them and in your very eyes, not one stone will be left upon another that shall not be thrown down.

 

Sarah, Abraham’s wife was a beautiful woman even at sixty such that the princes of Pharaoh could not remove their eyes from her when they saw her. She was naturally beautiful. Hers was not a beauty induced or made-up. She was so beautiful that Pharaoh’s princes recommended her to the king for marriage (Gen. 12:11-15). But thank God her beauty was not her pursuit and she was not willing to use it to make gain for herself no matter how difficult her situation was even in times of famine. Even though her husband exchanged her for money and material posses­sions, she would not compromise her inner beauty of holi­ness for anything. Physical beauty was not her pursuit; otherwise she would have been happy and proud to become Pharaoh’s wife.

 

And how long did her physical beauty last? At most as long as she lived. As soon as she died, she was buried with her beauty. That beautiful body eventually decayed and that was the end of it. If that were to be a big matter in her life pursuit, that would have been the end. If she had spent her time labouring to service and maintain that beauty, that would have been a great loss eternally, because there is no reward in heaven for such a labour.

 

Physical beauty is good. All things that God made are good. But good as it is, it is temporary. It is not eternal. If you spend your precious life to service and pursue this, you are only labouring for emptiness. And you may un­knowingly be working towards an eternal disappoint”.

“For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption … ” (Gal. 6:8)

Rachael the wife of Jacob was another beautiful woman mentioned in the Bible.

“Leah’s eyes were weak, but Rachel was beautiful of form and appearance” (Gen.29: 17)

It was the beauty of Rachael that caught Jacob’s heart and attracted her to him. He immediately desired to marry her without even praying to ask for God’s leading and coun­sel. He “fell” in love with Rachael and was willing to serve Laban her father for seven years in order to marry her. The night she was to go in to be his new wife, Laban gave him Leah instead of Rachael and he was so blinded by his in­fatuation that he lay with her without knowing whom he was lying with. But because Rachael was the object of his love and Leah was not beautiful, he opted to serve for an­other seven years to have Rachael. The beauty of Rachael charmed him and since he was not particular about seeking to have God’s leading and God’s will in making a choice, he fell for it. Jacob loved Rachael more than Leah for this same reason.

 

God’s will for a man however does not depend on external beauty. “When the Lord saw that Leah was un­loved, He opened her womb but Rachael was barren.” (Gen.29:31). Though Rachael was beautiful in appearance, she was barren inside. Not all that glitter is gold. That beauty was a barren beauty. It will render you barren spir­itually and eternally if you focus on it. You will recall that it was this same Rachael that stole her father’s idol and car­ried it along behind Jacob. More than that, she denied be­ing in possession of it. What a corrupt beauty! That was an idolatrous beauty. She introduced idolatry into the house of Jacob. That was not God’s intention for Jacob.

 

Physical beauty is temporary but also barren, cor­rupt and idolatrous. It has a way of introducing idolatry and spiritual barrenness into the I ives of those who go for it. Even if God made you beautiful, set not your mind on it. Do not service it. When you pursue physical beauty your life will be barren as far as spiritual things are concerned. Physical beauty is physical and is of the world, not heav­enly. Friendship with the world is enmity with God (Jas 4:4). It is necessary to ensure day by day that your hearts do not pursue this. Though God Himself can give us physical things that are beautiful and choose for us beautiful wives and husbands, that must not be our pursuit. We must set our hearts to fear God and do His will. It is only those who do the will of God that shall abide forever (lJn.2: 17).

 

Beautiful as Rachael was, she died on the way home. She did not follow Jacob home. That beauty ended on the way. It was a temporary beauty that Jacob pursued in Rachael. When you make physical beauty your pursuit, it will not follow you “home”. It is temporary, a fading beauty. It will perish on the way. And as for Rachael, she was so proud of her beauty that even though she was barren, she used her beauty to steal away Jacob’s heart from Leah. She’ caused much contention in that home. Rather than develop an inner beauty that will not fade away, she dwelt on her physical appearance and she died on the way. She did not last as a wife. There is nothing wrong in being naturally beautiful. But if you spend your years, money and energy trying to service that beauty rather than devel­oping an inner beauty, you will also perish on the way ‘home.’ The implication of this for us Christians is very serious. We have no continuing city here. Our home is in heaven. I do not personally desire to end my journey home on the way. I desire to finish my race and get home safely and I perceive that that is your desire too. But the desire to pursue external beauty is one sharp cutlass that can cut one short and off in the middle of the journey. That desire must be cut off and uprooted at all cost.

 

All flesh is as grass…

” …ALL flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, and its flower falls away, but the Word of the Lord endures forever … ” 1 Pet 1:24-25

Do you hear that? The body and this physical life is best described as ordinary grass. Now look at what grass is. The grass withers …. No matter how long it appears on the field, the grass withers. The end result is withering. It is a temporary thing. The flower, beautiful as it appears, fades away. Its beauty is temporary. Though God clothes the grass with beauty, it appears in the morning only to disappear in the evening. It does not last. That is how God made it. And that is how God made all flesh.

 

It appears today only to disappear tomorrow. The physical life and our bod­ies are not made to last. There is need for us to have this understanding so as to know where to apply our time, strength and resources. There is the life that lasts, and there is. the life that fades away. If anyone concentrates on beautifying the life that fades, he will wither and soon fade away with it eternally. Life is more than food and the body is more than clothing (Lk 12:23). The expedient thing is to focus and apply our lives to nurse and beautify our inner (spiritual) life. Now the instrument of beautification of the inner life is the Word of God.

“Having been born again, not of corruptible seed, but incorruptible, through the Word of God which lives and abides forever … Now this is the Word which by the gospel was preached to you. ” 1Pet 1:23, 25

The inner life is born and beautified by the word of God. It is by the Word of God that our spiritual lives are nourished, sanctified and purified. And this Word of God is incorruptible. If you pay attention to, and apply your heart to God’s Word, it will beautify your inner man.

 

The Beauty That Lasts

We shall now look at l Pet 3:3-6 from various versions.

“Whose adorning let it not be that of outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing gold, of putting on of apparel. But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet Spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. For after this manner in the old time, the holy women a/so, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands; even as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him Lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.” KJV

 

“Don’t be concerned about the out­ward beauty that depends on jewelry, or beautiful clothes, or hair ar­rangement. Be beautiful inside, in your hearts, with the lasting cit arm of a gentle and quiet Spirit, which is precious to God. That kind of deep beauty was seen in the Saintly women of old, who trusted God and fitted in with their husband’s plan … ” (LB)

 

“You should not use outward aids to make yourselves beautiful, such as the way you do your hair, or the jewelry you put on, or the dresses you wear. Instead, your beauty should consist of your true inner self, the ageless beauty of a gentle and quiet Spirit, which is of the great­est value in God’s sight. For the devout women of the past who placed their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful by submitting to their husbands. Sarah was like that; she obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are now her daughters if you do good and are not afraid of anything.” (GNB).

 

My interest here is not to look into the endless discussions and arguments that people engage in concerning the use of jewelry. But there is a beauty that God is looking for in man. There is a beauty that attracts God to anyone who has it. It is the inner beauty of the hidden person of the heart. It is the ageless beauty of a gentle, meek and quiet Spirit. Such a beauty is not physical. It is inside and it is incorruptible. It is not subject to decay. It endures forever. It is a lasting beauty. The scripture says such a beauty is of great price, very precious in the sight of God.

 

Physical beauty can attract the natural man but not God. God is not attracted by it. But when a man or woman takes time and concentrates his or her life and attention to develop the inner beauty, God will be attracted to such a life even without his saying anything. It was the same beauty that attracted God to Abraham in Gen.IS after he had sur­rendered to God’s dealing from Gen. 12 – Gen. 17. He had become meek and obedient to God’s will. His inner life had become beautified with those ornaments to the extent that the Lord God said

“Shall I hide from Abraham what I am doing … for I have known him … ” (Gen. 18:17-19).

God was attracted by Abraham’s life now that even without Abraham asking, God began to relate with him as his friend.

 

That was what made the life and story of Abraham last up till today. Though he is dead physically, he still lives and his life still speaks to us today. What are the ingredients or ornaments of the inner beauty?

 

 

A Gentle and Meek Spirit

Matt.5:5 (KJV, NAV, LB, Philips).

“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” (KJV)

“Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.” (NA V)

“The meek and lowly are fortunate, for the whole wide world belongs to them.” (LB)

“How happy are those who claim nothing, for the whole earth will belong to them.” (Philips) ~

From the above scriptures, to be gentle means to be meek. It means to be lowly (not high-minded). It means to claim nothing. A gentle person does not cling to anything even though it is his right. He is ever willing to let go. He is lowly and not high-minded. He chooses lowly things, goes with lowly people, and does not refuse to do lowly works. He is humble and submissive and does not struggle or any­thing even if it were his right. He leaves all things rather in the hands of God.

 

In 2 Sam. 16 as king David was running away from his son Absalom who conspired against him, a man called Shimei, a relative of Saul the king started cursing him. He abused David and threw stones at him and kicked up dust against him. The natural thing to have been done by David was to command one of his men to go and discipline or kill Shimei. David was still the anointed king of Israel and having not done Shimei any wrong, he could have used his right as King to deal with that man and silence him. But David was a meek man. In the first place, he did not strug­gle with Absalom with the energy of the flesh and with kingly force to deliver him. And here again, he did. not claim his right. He rather said,

” … Let him alone, and let him curse; for so the Lord has ordered him. It may be that the Lord will repay me with good for his cursing this day. ” (2Sam 16:11-12).

That was meekness. The Lord Jesus Christ also dem­onstrated a life of meekness all through His life here on earth. When He was to be crucified, He did not struggle with those maltreating Him and He did not revenge. When He was insulted, He did not insult back. He did not re­venge, though He had the power to have done so. Rather He prayed for His persecutors: “Father forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” (Lk. 23:34). When we see Him (physically), there is no beauty that we should desire Him (Isa.53: 2). But in His inner life, He was very lovely and beautiful. He was meek and lowly in heart (Matt.11: 29).

 

Gentleness is an attribute of God Himself. It is part of the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Anyone who manifests a gentle spirit attracts God’s presence and God’s attention. The Bi­ble says this is the way the holy women of old who trusted God made themselves beautiful. They were concerned about the outward beauty. They devoted their time and invested their lives and resources on making themselves beautiful inside with certain ornaments: the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit. Sarah was one of them. She was a gentle woman. She did not struggle with her husband when the call of God came on him. She simply followed him, though her husband did not know where he was going. She trusted God, knowing that God was not wicked. He was good and faithful and would not let her down. She was a woman who knew God. Even when her husband decided to ex­change her for food and material possessions, she did not struggle. She committed all things into the hands of the Lord. She trusted God to deliver her and for her sake (not even for Abraham’s sake), God plagued Pharaoh’s house with great plagues (Gen.12: 17 -20) and delivered her.

 

Not only was Sarah meek, but she trusted God to pre­serve her from being defiled by Pharaoh. Though in great need for food, she would not want her inner beauty of ho­liness to be corrupted because of the pressure of need. When God saw these ornaments of inner beauty, He was attracted to Sarah’s life and He delivered her.

 

A gentle spirit is of great price in God’s sight. In­stead of compromising your faith for whatever pressure of need, you can also be like Sarah. Trust in God. Don’t ever think in your heart that God may forget you or attend to your situation too late. God is good and He is faithful. Again, rather than develop a high-minded spirit or a heart of vengeance, meekness is what to pursue. A meek spirit is a beautiful Spirit. In the sight of God, it is of great price. Is there anyone trying to persecute you or deny you your right? Pray for them. Don’t struggle with the energy of the flesh. Commit all things to the Lord who fights our battles. God will be attracted to you by that beautiful gentle Spirit you demonstrate and He will defend your course powerfully and neatly. And do not be high-minded but condescend to men of low estate. Don’t set your mind on high things. Meekness is what will attract God to you in all situations. Remember the example left for us by the Lord Jesus. Though He is God, He was lowly in His birth, choice of friends and in His lifestyle generally. He is the one we are called upon to follow.

A Quiet Spirit

This is another beautiful ornament that God wants us to cultivate. To be quiet means to be peaceful, unruffled and undisturbed no matter the situation. It means to be calm, and not forceful. It is deeper than being silent (not speaking). Silence is external but quietness is internal, though it may manifest externally by silence. Someone with a quiet spirit may be speaking externally but is quiet within, peace­ful and undisturbed. But someone may be silent externally, but with much noise and turmoil within. Whereas it may be easy to be silent, a quiet spirit has to be cultivated. It has to be developed. A quiet woman is a peaceful woman. Since quiet­ness is closely associated with peace, we shall look at 2Pet 1:2 (Amp) to see what the word ‘peace’ means. It says:

“May grace (God’s favour) and peace (which is perfect wellbeing, all necessary good, all spir­itual prosperity and freedom from fears and agi­tating passions and moral conflicts) be multi­plied to you in (the full, personal, precise and correct) knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. ”

 

To have peace means to have perfect wellbeing, all necessary good, and all spiritual prosperity, freedom from fears and agitating passions and moral conflicts. A quiet woman is a woman that is healthy within and without. She is calm and free from all fears. Though passing through storms in life, she is calm. No passion agitates her. She is free from moral conflicts. So she’ is spiritually prosperous. A quiet spirit is a beautiful spirit. In the sight of God, this is of a great price. When God sees a quiet woman, He sees a woman of a great price, a beautiful woman. She may not look so beautiful in appearance but because she has a quiet spirit, she is beautiful within. This is an ornament that attracts God. Even if you decorate yourself with the most beautiful external ornaments, but lack this internal orna­ment, you are not beautiful as far as God is concerned. What every Christian woman must pay close attention to; is this inner beauty, if their pursuit in life is to walk with God and please Him.

 

This is the way the holy women of old who trusted in God beautified themselves. They cultivated and adorned themselves with this precious ornament: the ornament of a quiet spirit. Even in the sight of God, it is of a great price and of a high value.

 

Hannah was a woman in the Bible who cultivated this inner beauty of a quiet spirit. She was the first wife of Elkanah. The name of the second wife was Peninnah.

“Now there was a certain man of Ramathaim Zophim, of the mountains of Ephraim, and his name was Elkanuh … And he had two wives: the name of one was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah. Peninnab had children, but Hannah had no chil­dren. And her rival also provoked her severely, to make her miserable, because tile Lord had closed her womb. So it was, year by year when she went up to the house of the Lord, that she provoked her; therefore, she wept and did not eat. So Hannah arose after they had fin­ished eating and drinking in Shiloh … And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed to the Lord and wept in anguish.” (l Sam 1: 1 – 2, 6-7, 9-10)

Hannah was the first wife of Elkanah and Peninnah was the second. Peninnah had children while Hannah had none. But Peninnah was such a wicked woman whose desire and pursuit was to make Hannah miserable (Vs.6). And to achieve that, she provoked Hannah severely at home and in the temple. Rather than show Hannah compassion for her barrenness, she added to Hannah’s sorrow by se­verely provoking her. Such were terrible provocations that were capable of making a natural woman to either fight or pack out of the home or even to commit suicide.

 

But look at Hannah! We read about the misbehaviour of Peninnah, and the comments made by Elkanah. But no misbehaviour was seen in Hannah. She held her peace. We are not told that she spoke a word. In the face of provoca­tion and her need of a child, she said nothing. She uttered no word to her rival. That is a demonstration of a quiet spirit. If she was only pretending to be quiet, she would have burst forth in the face of severe provocation and an­swer the woman back, or report to Elkanah about Peninnah’s behaviour and demand that he should warn her. But Hannah said nothing to any man. She held her peace. That was the same attitude we saw in Jesus when He was brought be­fore Pilate and when He was being persecuted and cruci­fied. The Bible says that He answered him nothing (Lk 23:9). He was calm within and without. There was no struggling of any kind.

 

Hannah was quite peaceful in that terrible situation. No struggling, no fighting, and no self-defense. She only waited to get to the place where she could pour her heart to the One that matters, the Lord God Almighty. Even when the whole family went to worship in Shiloh, Peninnah did not stop her provocation. It was so much that Hannah wept and could not eat. She could have fought back at that break­ing point. But rather than fight, she wept and did not eat. Also, rather than rebel, she still waited for them to finish eating and drinking before she went to pray. And what was the content of her prayer? It was her need for a child. We did not see her praying against Peninnah or asking God to punish her and reward her for her misbehaviour. She swal­lowed that peacefully, trusting God to handle the situations. She only requested for a child. What a spiritual woman! She demonstrated a quiet spirit all through and God was attracted to her and to her situation. He gave Hannah a son.

 

There is a beauty that attracts God to a life: the beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit. Don’t you desire that? What will you gain fighting and struggling? How could a quarrel with Peninnah have given Hannah a son? Even if you get what you are looking for by way of fighting and struggling you would have lost the presence of God because that wi II not attract God to you. That will be a costly loss.

 

What God instructs us to do at difficult times and in every situation is this:

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs and don’t forget to thank Him for His answers. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than human mind can understand. His peace will keep your thoughts and hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus. ” (Phi/.4: 6 -7 LB)

Can you see that? You can see the way to develop a quiet spirit in that scripture. Trust in Christ Jesus. Don’t be faithless. Jesus can carry your weight. Lean on Him. Trust in Him. Learn to trust Him in every situation, small or big. When you trust a man, your heart will yearn to tell him everything happening in your life, knowing that he will not let you down. He did not let Hannah and the women of old who trusted in Him down. Make it your lifestyle not to worry about anything. But pray about everything. Once you have told Him whom you trust about your needs, you will experience God’s peace. His peace will keep your heart and mind Quiet and at rest.

 

1 Thess. 4: 11 says “That you also aspire to lead a quiet life … ” Let this be your aspiration and prayer. Grow in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. As you grow to know Him more and more and to perceive the wonders of His Person, your heart will learn to trust him. This is the foundation for developing a quiet spirit.

 

A Holy life

Here is another ornament of inner beauty with which the women of old who trusted in God beautified themselves.

Holiness is an external manifestation of an internal purity and loyalty to the Lord. It is not ordinarily external. It has its root in the heart. Just as every form of sin has its root in the heart (Matt 15: 19), so also holy living is from the heart. Sin is the fruit produced by the natural life, while holiness is the fruit coming out from the new creation life.

“But now, having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.” (Rom.6: 22)

Holiness of life results when you have been set free from sin and you go further to present your life to God to become a slave of God. Holy character, behaviour and service will be produced in such a life, a life that is loyal to God. It results from purity of heart, when the heart has been rid of every impurity including the producer of all im­purities, which is the flesh. As long as a man is not yet free from the natural life, the flesh, he cannot be free to live holy. Though he desires to be holy, the passion of the hu­man nature will still produce impure thoughts, impure mo­tives and of course, impure actions in such a life. But hav­ing been set free from sin and having become slaves of God, God Himself who is holy, will begin to produce in us fruits unto holiness: holy thoughts, pure motives and holy living. It is not just a matter of dressing holy or speaking holy but being holy at heart. It is an internal ornament, which then produces external holiness.

 

Holiness is an attribute of God. Lev. 11 :44 says, “…you shall be holy; for I am holy…” God our Father is holy and He places a demand on us also to be holy. As we have this Father – Son relationship with Him, it is a neces­sity for us to be holy if we must walk with Him. He com­manded us not to defile ourselves or touch any unclean thing (2Cor.6:17), so that He can dwell in us and walk among us. We are to cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God (2Cor. 7: 1). Holiness is the part of the divine nature and we already have that seed, that nature deposited in us when we surrendered our Jives to Christ (1Jn 3:9). It is an utmost need for us to live in holiness and grow in it. It is a pre­condition for walking with God and seeing God, and seeing Him at work in and through our lives as the scripture says:

“Follow peace with all men, and holiness without which no man shall see the Lord.” Heb. 12:14

“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” (Matt 5:8)

 

There is a beauty in holiness (l Chr. 16: 29), as the Bible describes it. A holy life is a beautiful life in God’s sight. It is a life that attracts the Holy God to make Himself revealed and manifest. It is an ornament of great price with which the holy women of old adorned themselves and it attracted God to their lives and situations.

During the time when Deborah lived, everyone in Israel had backslidden (Judges 5: 6-8) The Bible recorded that in those days, the highways were deserted and the trav­ellers walked on by ways. The highway of holiness (Isa. 35:8) was deserted. No one travelled along that way again. Men and women preferred to walk on byways of sin, com­promise and convenience. But while all others (including the men of her time) chose to walk on the byways, Deborah arose and chose to walk in holiness. Though lonely on that way, she walked with God and influenced the whole of Israel to turn them back to God. The Lord was attracted to the life of this holy woman of old and so to her nation Israel and that ended the oppression of Jabin king of Canaan and Sisera, the commander of his army.

Holiness of life is an ornament of a great price dis­covered by women of old who became great instruments’ in the hands of God. This jewel attracted God to their lives and their lives in turn attracted God to their situation and that of their country. Sister, have you discovered this jewel yet? Or are you still busy pursuing the jewel of silver and gold? Gold is good and silver too; they are God’s hand­work but they are perishables, and are of no eternal conse­quence as far as attracting God is concerned. So also are 15eautiful hair-do and clothes. Good as they may be, they are ornaments that will fade. There are ornaments that are of great price and that fade not away. Holiness of life is one. If you must invest your time, money and attention, I counsel you to invest it on getting this ornament, which in the sight of God is of great price.

How Do You Secure These Ornaments of Inner Beauty?

It is by the Word of God. It is by developing your trust in God. And it is by prayer. We are born again by the incorruptible Word of God (1 Pet 1:23). It is also by the word of God that these grace­ful ornaments of a gentle and quiet spirit and holy life are got.

“My son, hear the instruction of your father, and do not forsake the law of your mother; for they will be a graceful ornament on your head, and chains about your neck.” (Prov. 1:8-9)

“He also taught me, and said to me; “Let your heart retain my words; keep my commands, and live. Get wisdom! Get understanding! Do not for­get, nor turn away from the words of my mouth. Site will place Oil your head an ornament of grace: a crown glory. She will deliver to you. ” (Pmv.4. -I. 5. and 9)

” … The seed is the Word of God.” (Lk 8:11).

The Word of God is the wisdom of God and it is the seed that produces the nature of God in the life of a man. The seed that must be planted in our lives to produce a meek and a quiet spirit and a holy life, is the Word of God. These ornaments do not come suddenly. The seed has to be planted and cultivated in our hearts. Pay attention day by day to the Word of God and to His instructions. De­velop your trust in God and in the Words that come from His mouth. Pray about it and pay attention unto obeying God. Day after day, God normally provides situations and opportunities to develop a meek and quiet spirit and to live holy. He provides opportunities for us to trust in Him. Learn to be sensitive to mark out these opportunities. Make the most of them in order to develop an inner beauty. Use situations that would have made you defend yourself or fight for your right, to develop gentleness of heart. Fear­ful, difficult and stormy situations are Oppol1unities to de­velop a calm and quiet spirit, as you learn to pray, trust and obey God in all situations. And in times of provocation and temptations to sin, it is an opportunity to be holy. Make the most of every opportunity, for the days are evil.

Finally, don’t be over concerned about outward beauty. Let that not be your pursuit. Let it not take your heart and attention. Rather pay close attention to, and in­vest in developing an inner beauty. the lasting ornament of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great price in the sight of God. There are women like u \\ ho have gone before us who focused their attention on developing this inner beauty, the ageless ornament of a gentle and quiet spirit and holy life. The Lord God who helped them and walked with them is still our God today.

“Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.” (Prov. 31: 30)

“Bride of the king, listen to what I say – forget your people and your relatives. Your beauty will make the king desire you. He is your master, so you must obey him.” (Ps -15.10 -II GNB.)

 

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