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About this series
Precious in His Sight
Seeing Me Through Jesus' Eyes
This series, taught by Theresa Ingram, wife of Chip, helps women understand that they are fully forgiven, deeply loved, and have great worth because of their relationship with Christ. We all spend many hours and days trying to be someone significant, only to realize we often don't like the person we see in the mirror. Little do we know how precious we are in God's sight.More from this series
Well, the second truth is that my value as a person, my innate worth, is not determined by my physical appearance. It’s not determined by my outward appearance. True, lasting beauty is that which flows from a heart filled with God. Now, there may be many things about our bodies that we wish were different, that we would like to change, but the unique person that we are is a treasured masterpiece to God, and we are valuable because of that – of that, alone, and not because of what our outward appearance might be.
Many of us base our worth on faulty foundations, on faulty beliefs that what we look like determines who we are, and whether we’ll be happy, and whether we’ll be successful in life. And we think that, if we wear the right clothes, and if we’re the right weight – whatever that is – and if we have the right hairstyle, or the right color hair, then that makes us okay. You see, we think those things make us somebody, make us a valuable person.
And those things may help us feel better, for a while, about ourselves, and they may make us feel beautiful. And that’s okay. But God says, God says that true beauty is not that which comes from our outward appearance, but that true, lasting beauty comes from the inside, the true person inside, that it flows from a heart that’s filled up with God.
In 1 Samuel 16, King Saul had fallen into sin, and God took the throne away from him. And the Lord came to Samuel – the prophet Samuel – and He said to Samuel, “You have mourned long enough for Saul, for I’ve rejected him as king of Israel.” And He told Samuel to take a vial of olive oil, and go to Bethlehem, and find a man named Jesse. And He said, “Jesse has a lot of sons,” and He said, “I’ve chosen one of Jesse’s sons to be the next king of Israel.
And so, Samuel does what the Lord tells him, and he goes and finds Jesse. And Jesse has, I think, about seven of his sons there, who come in. And the first one who walks in – Samuel took one look at him – his name was Eliab – and he thought, Surely, this is the one. This is the one the Lord has chosen to be king.
Now, we need to know that King Saul had been a very handsome man. He was a very impressive-looking man. And Samuel probably thought that the person whom God would choose as the next king, to take Saul’s place, would look a lot like Saul. He probably thought that he would have this impressive-looking appearance. And so, as soon as he saw Jesse’s first son, he said, “That’s the one. I think that’s the one.”
But let’s listen to what the Lord said. He spoke to Samuel, and He said, “Don’t judge by a man’s face or height, for this is not the one. I don’t make decisions the way you do. Men judge by outward appearance, but I look at a man’s thoughts and intentions. You see, man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
Why? Why does He do that? Well, it’s because our outward appearance doesn’t really reveal who we are inside, and it doesn’t really reveal what our true value is. You see, God sees our character. He sees our character. He sees what kind of person that we are on the inside.
Have you ever met someone who, initially, their appearance wasn’t very attractive to you at all, and, after you got to know that person, and you learned about the kind of person they were inside, they became more and more beautiful to you, until you didn’t even see those flaws anymore? And, after a while, if you remembered that you thought that way you wondered why you ever thought that way in the first place?
Because, see, we initially do look at a person’s outward appearance. That’s just our natural tendency. But God says the true value, the true beauty, is that which comes from inside the person, in the heart.
In Proverbs 31:30, it says, “Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she is to be praised.” A woman who fears the Lord. You see, outward beauty is fleeting. It doesn’t last. If we live long enough, it won’t last. We know that – those of us who are getting older. We know that it won’t last. And it could be marred by an accident; it could be marred by disease. We can’t count on it. We can’t count on it always being there.
Years ago, I had a wonderful friend. She was an older lady. When I met her, I was a brand, new Christian. She was about 60 years old, and I was mid-20s. And we became very, very good friends. And, in fact, the Lord gave me the privilege of leading her to Christ. And we were very close. We were both alone, and we became very close friends. And then, I married Chip, and we moved away from West Virginia. We moved to Texas.
But, every year, I would go back and visit Edith, my friend. And, one time, she had a really, really bad stroke, and she was placed in a nursing home. And so, every year, when I got to go back home, I would go visit Edith in the nursing home.
And then, one year I went, and I couldn’t find her. And I went in the cafeteria, where the nurse told me she was, and there were a handful of people in there, but I couldn’t find Edith. And I looked, and I looked. And then, the nurse showed me who she was. I didn’t recognize my friend. She didn’t look like the person that I knew. But it was her.
And what I realized then is that our physical body, sometimes, is no longer able to reflect the true person that we are. Sometimes that happens. But you know, Edith hadn’t changed. Inside, she was the same person that I knew, and that I loved. God was still at work in her life, in her heart. But her outward appearance did not reflect who she was.
And those nurses didn’t know the Edith I knew, because her outward appearance never was able to reflect to them who she was inside. But see, I knew. I knew who she was. I knew the wonderful person that she was.
God also says to us, in 2 Corinthians 4:16, “Therefore, we do not lose heart. But though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.” And, you see, that’s what happened to my friend. The true you – who you are inside, the most beautiful you – is being renewed every day, no matter what your outward appearance is. If you belong to Christ, it’s getting better and better every day.
Even as we age, even as our bodies wrinkle up, and we can’t think very well anymore, and we forget everything, and . . . Even though all those things are happening, you see, God is still at work in our lives, and the true person that we are inside, and, we’re being renewed, day by day. It’s getting better inside.
We now live in a temporary body, the Scripture tells us, but we will be given a spiritual body that will last forever, that’ll last forever.
In 2 Corinthians 5, Paul describes our bodies as an “earthly tent,” and he says, “For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God; a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from Heaven.” You see, he says, this body, this fleshly body that we’re wearing right now, it’s like a tent. It’s like a temporary house, and it’s not going to last.
But he says, someday, when we die, and we go to Heaven, we will have a new body. And that body is a heavenly body, and it’s like a building. It’s not like a tent anymore. It’s like a building that will last forever.
But while we live in the tents that we have – not in our buildings, yet – we need to be filled with the strength, and the power of Christ who is dwelling inside, you see, our mortal bodies, which will one day stop working. We know that. But who we are, the true self that lives inside each of us in this earthly tent, it’s being renewed every day, every day, by the very life of Christ, who lives within us. And that doesn’t change. And that will not deteriorate.
God says we’ll have a resurrected body. In 1 Corinthians 15:42-44 He says, “It is sown a perishable body.” This body that we’re in right now, our tent – it’s raised an imperishable body. “It’s sown in dishonor, it’s raised in glory. It’s sown in weakness, but it’s raised in power. It’s sown a natural body; it’s raised a spiritual body.” We have a lot to look forward to.
And our new body won’t have any flaws. When we look in the mirror in Heaven, we’re not gonna see any flaws, and we’re not gonna see anything that needs changed, or fixed, or removed. It’s going to be perfect in every way. And that body will not deteriorate. But, until that day comes, this is what we have. Right there! And all of our tents look different, don’t they?
But we need to care for our body. We need to care for the body that God’s given us, and allow Him to use them in whatever shape, or form, they are, however you come to glorify Him. He tells us, in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 – He says that our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, for those who have invited Christ into their lives as their Savior, that God will come in, and He will dwell within our tents, within our mortal bodies, and He’ll live there. And that, now, we’re not our own anymore, but we have been bought with the price of Christ’s death on the cross. And He said, therefore, because of that, we should glorify God with the bodies that He’s given us.
In the Old Testament, the Tabernacle is described in quite a bit of detail. It’s where God would come. It’s where He would come and dwell among His people. And God gave the Israelites very detailed and very elaborate instructions about how to care for the Tabernacle, about how it was to be constructed, and how they were to use it.
It was to be constructed with their best material, or their most valuable material. And they were to take care of it, because it was to be the dwelling place of God. It was to be the place where, in the midst of the camp of all these people, God would come and dwell.
But what He says to us, now – He says you don’t need the Tabernacle anymore. He says you are His temple, and He comes and dwells within you, because you’re that precious to Him. And He will come and dwell within you, and He’ll never leave you. And so, it’s important that we cherish our bodies, and care for our physical bodies, because we’re caring for God’s temple.
Do you ever think about that, that He’s chosen to live inside of us, for us to reflect Him to the world? So, do you think much about your body as God’s temple, and how it is important to God that you take care of your body? Now, we need to think about that from time to time, and ask, How am I caring for God’s temple? Because that’s who I am.
Well, we can adorn our bodies. We can adorn them with nice clothes, and jewelry, and make-up. We can do all those things – and I’m glad we have all those things. But what is precious to God, He says, is the hidden person of the heart. That’s what’s precious to God. In 1 Peter 3:3-4, it says, “And let not your adornment be merely external, braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, and putting on dresses. But let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit which is precious in the sight of God.”
Now, the first part of that verse says, “Let not your adornment be merely external, braiding the hair, wearing gold jewelry, and putting on dresses.” Now, what the writer, here, is not saying is that it’s wrong to wear jewelry, or to wear nice clothes, or to fix our hair, or to wear makeup. He’s not saying that it’s wrong to do that. All of that is a part of the culture that we live in; it’s a part of where we live. And we need to dress appropriately within the culture that God has placed us.
Now, we also need to think about that within our culture, to ask ourselves, Does the way I’m dressed draw undue attention to me? You know, we don’t want to dress in such a way that would somehow draw people away from Christ. Or, Am I dressed in a way, maybe, that would reflect Christ, who lives in me?
And another question: Could the way I’m dressed create problems for the opposite sex, for men, in the area of lust? So, we do need to think about how we’re presenting ourselves. We need to think about the kind of clothes we’re wearing, and how we’re presenting our bodies, even though God says it’s okay, it’s ok to dress appropriately within the culture that you live.
The second part of that verse says, “But let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.” You see, this woman’s beauty, here, does not come, it says, from her outward adornment. God says it’s from her inner self; it’s from her heart – the unfading beauty, it says, “of a gentle and quiet spirit,” you see.
And what this means is that she has a submissive spirit to God, and to her husband, that she lives a life of purity, that her hope is found in God. And God says, “This kind of person – this is what is beautiful to Me.” He says, “This is what is precious in My sight.”
And it’s okay, as we’ve said, to adorn our bodies in an appropriate way that would enhance our outward appearance. That’s a good thing to do. But Christian women should not think that their outer attire is a source of genuine beauty, because it’s not. Because genuine beauty, God says, flows from the hidden person of the heart.
And I think we have the freedom to enjoy our culture, and all that it has to offer. I think we have the freedom to do that, and to enjoy whatever it has to offer to enhance our outward appearance.
But we must not get trapped in the false belief that our appearance – that the kind of clothes we wear, how we fix our hair, whether we wear makeup or not, what size we wear – we must not get that confused with thinking that that gives us value, and that that makes us somebody, and that gives us worth as a person, because it doesn’t. Because – you know what? Those things constantly change. They change all the time.
I remember, when I was in elementary school, all the little girls had curly hair. And I just so wanted to have curly hair. My hair was always straight. And my mother would put a permanent in it, from time to time, but those things didn’t work very well, either. And I was always rolling my hair, and trying to be like the other little girls, because I thought that was great, that really made me fit in.
And what is so interesting to me, as I look back now, is, when I was, I think, a senior in high school, the hippie movement had just gotten to West Virginia. Things get there late. But all those girls – all those friends of mine that I was trying to be like, and have curly hair – started ironing their hair, because they wanted it to be straight.
And I thought, This is really great. You know, I finally fit! I finally was in style. And I’ve kept the same hairstyle ever since! I’ve been in and out of style ever since. But I realize it doesn’t really matter.
So, we need just to realize that those kinds of things are constantly changing, and that’s not what gives us value. That’s not what gives us real worth, and significance, as a person. My value as a person has already been determined because of my relationship to Christ, and there’s nothing, or no one, that can ever, ever take that value away from you. Nothing!
So, we have a choice to make. We have a choice to make. We can either look at the reflection of ourselves in the distorted mirrors that the world provides, that tell us that we don’t measure up, or we can choose to look at the reflection of ourselves in the mirror of God’s Word. And His Word says to me that my physical appearance, in my unchangeable aspects, is beautiful in His sight, because He is my Designer, and Maker. And, secondly, that my value – my innate worth, and significance – is not determined by my outward appearance.
And I’d like to just encourage you to use the application that I put at the end of your notes, that, when you look in the mirror in the morning, or when you go to bed tonight, and when you comb your hair, or you put on your makeup – or whatever you do in front of the mirror – take time, take time tonight, or in the morning, just to look at yourself, and thank God for the way He made you.
Thank Him for the things that you like about yourself, and thank Him for the things that you don’t like. And then, ask Him, ask Him for wisdom to be able to change the things you can, and to be content with the things that you can’t change. But I really encourage you to do that tonight.
Father, we thank You so much that You created us just the way You wanted us to be, and that we all look different; we’re all uniquely made. But that’s the way You’ve chosen us to be, and You use us, and You want to reflect Yourself through the unique bodies that You’ve given to each one of us. Help us to be thankful for what You’ve given us, for how You’ve made us. And give us wisdom, Lord, in how to care for our bodies in the best way that would honor You.
Thank You, Lord, that we’re beautiful in Your sight. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.