Sunday, October 31, 2010

Redefining Beauty and Strength in a World That Redefined Them Already

Last Friday (October 29), I was able to attend a debut party of a friend. I was there as one of the 18 candles, meaning as one of those who would render a message for the debutant. I am not that acquainted with the debutant; in fact, I was surprised to know that I was on the list. The debutant is my best friend's niece and her mother was my first Vacation Bible School (VBS) teacher - both or either could be the reason why I was there. I knew what to say that time but I was grasping for a more personal message. So I started my speech about her mother and the unfading beauty I saw more than two decades ago. Yes, I may not know her that much but I am confident with the mother who raised her up.

After that, I can't help to think of how valuable are the roles of mothers (or even older women) in shaping their kids; moreover, in influencing young women's way of thinking in a "modernized"/feminized world. There are many views that corrupt the Biblical definition of a woman. If not for the guidance of a godly mother or a godly older woman, they may be embracing how women nowadays define beauty and display strength.

Beauty - an individually pleasing or beautiful quality; grace; charm

This is one of the most abused words among women. Beauty is measured by crowns, titles, admirers or even boys. But I Peter 3:3-4 says that
your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. Do not desire the charm that the Scriptures say is deceptive nor the beauty that is vain (Proverbs 31:30). For more about this imperishable beauty, click here.

Jay Adams puts it this way:
A vital Christian, radiating that hidden beauty of the heart, is more attractive to the right sort of Christian man (the only kind you want) than the raving beauty who is hollow within. A woman who is developing her domestic abilities, who is reasonably attractive, and who is a vital Christian in her own right is an irresistible person.
Strength - the quality or state of being strong; bodily or muscular power; vigor (

A woman defines strength when she is able to par if not to
surpass that of men's. I received a text message which says that the LOUD VOICE of a man really shocks and threatens a woman...but, the SILENCE of a woman tremendously shakes the consciousness of a man.

However, Titus 2:3-5 says:
Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God (emphasis mine).

Strength is not the ability to display the power over those viewed as superior than you, it is not the ability to control your situation or control a man. Strength is best displayed in domesticity. Carolyn Mahaney says that domesticity - devotion to the quality of home life - is an essential facet of femininity. Looking for some quotations about domesticity, I encountered this Harriet Spofford who says that if a woman is not fit to manage the internal matters of a house, she is fit for nothing, and should never be put in a house or over a house, any way.

This is the strength of Biblical women and the strength of the women of reformation (a term I learned referring to the wives/mothers of those men of reformation). Nancy Leigh DeMoss explains:
“In contrast to the wise woman, the foolish woman is not content to be a keeper at home. She is not satisfied with where God has put her. One of the things the feminist movement has done so successfully is to stir up discontent in women with being homemakers and to convince them that other pursuits can increase their sense of self-worth… Fueling discontent and pushing women out of their homes in search of greater meaning and satisfaction has resulted in off-the-chart stress levels for many women who can no longer survive without pills and therapists… The greatest spiritual, moral, and emotional protection a woman will ever experience is found when she is content to stay within her God-appointed sphere. This does not mean that she never leaves her house, but rather that her heart is rooted in her home and that she puts her family’s needs above all other interests and pursuits.”
Remember Martin Luther when he says that earth has nothing more tender than a woman’s heart when it is the abode of piety. What kind of woman are you? Are you one of those who struggle to show that you are one of the most beautiful women? Are you one of those who cry "girl power" and demand the exhibition of your greater ability than men's? Or are you a different woman?

The fact that I am a woman does not make me a different kind of Christian,but the fact that I am a Christian does make me a different kind of woman.

Those are words of Elisabeth Elliot. Are you a different woman?

Copyright His Beloved 2011.