I’m fairly sure you are familiar with the legendary “Proverbs 31” woman……I am also fairly sure all Christian women aspire to be like her. Did you ever notice, however that her physical appearance is not mentioned other than “she is clothed in fine linen and purple” – she is known only by her character. It is her inner beauty we strive to emulate.
1 Peter 3:3-4 says, “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 quiet and gentle spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”
Now before you all throw away your make-up, your jewelry and your favorite strappy sandals, let’s consider that this passage does not prohibit outward adornment. In fact, First Corinthians 6:19-20 tells us “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” 1 Corinthians 3:16 says “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s spirit lives in you.” It is important to take care of our bodies and present ourselves appropriately and in the spirit of excellence, however the outward adornment should not be our primary focus. Consider what Jesus very boldly tells the Pharisees in Matthew 23:25-26, “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.”
We can read in 1 Kings 6 about the temple of the Lord that Solomon built. Every last detail was considered and addressed specifically and to very high standards. This, after all, was a dwelling place for the God of the Universe. Nothing was overlooked. In fact the inner sanctuary, the Most Holy Place, was covered with pure gold.
As temples of the Living God, should we not cover our ‘inner sanctuary” with something of value? Just as we must dress our outward appearance each day, so must we spend time dressing our “inner sanctuary” as well. Unlike shopping for a new wardrobe or a new hairstyle, this dressing can not be found at the mall or the thrift store. It can only be found in the word of God, bought with the blood of Jesus, and adorned with the Holy Spirit. Galatians 5:22-23 reminds us “But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” This is the wardrobe of a princess. And unlike the occasional and seasonal shopping required to maintain our physical wardrobe, our spiritual wardrobe “looks” the best when freshened daily in God’s presence.
Pampering is generally equated to special attention given to our physical bodies. As women, especially as mothers, pampering is something we all desire yet it is something we often compromise or even deny ourselves altogether in order to tend to those around us. There are even those of us who may feel guilty when we are pampered and certainly would not pamper our own unworthy selves. We are cheating ourselves and more than that, we are undervaluing ourselves. In Romans 8 we are told we are daughters of God and co-heirs with Christ. Acts 5:31 reminds us that Christ is a Prince. That makes us princesses – and who gets more pampering than a princess?!
Webster’s says pampering is “treating with extreme care”. With this in mind, consider that scripture is full of ways that God pampers us, His princesses…
• In Psalm 23 He makes us lie down in green pastures, leads us beside still waters and restores our souls. Is that not another way to say “stop and smell the roses”?
• In Isaiah 40:29 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. That sure beats months at the gym.
• In Isaiah 61:1 He binds up the brokenhearted, frees the captives and releases the prisoners from darkness. • In Isaiah 66:13 He comforts us as a mother comforts her child. Not even the best salon can offer that kind of makeover.
• In Matthew 11:28-30 He invites us, saying “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
• And some of the most precious pampering is found in Zephaniah 3:17 “The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”
Receive it – go to the Lord and let Him pamper you – ask Him to pamper you. Matthew 6:33 directs us to do that – it tells us “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” I can hear you wailing in desperation, ‘my plate is full – how will I find time”. Some days the only chance for God-time I have is in the shower. The good news is – He will meet you there. He is waiting for you to spend time with Him so He can pamper the most precious part of you.
As mothers, teaching our daughters the art of “pampering” is among the many privileges we are expected to participate in. There are lessons in shaving legs, applying eye-liner and walking in heels, among other things. While these are certainly vital to the upkeep of the outer temple, modeling the inner pampering for our daughters – maybe even our sisters, our mothers, our friends – may be the most valuable contribution we make.