Thursday, February 23, 2023

The Snare of Vanity (Proverbs 11:22; 31:10–31)

"As a ring of gold in a swine’s snout, so is a lovely woman who lacks discretion" (Prov. 11:22).

While men can certainly be vain, women are especially prone to this sin. Young girls in particular need to be warned against vanity and protected from their own tendency to concentrate too much on their outward appearance instead of the state of their heart. Too often, Christian parents fall into the world’s trap of wanting their daughters to be popular, beautiful, accepted by their peers, and admired by young men. They allow their daughters to pamper themselves with a new outfit every time their fancy strikes. They allow their little girls to take premature steps to womanhood by allowing them to look like the model on the latest teen magazine. While make-up and nice clothes are certainly not condemned by Scripture, vanity is a sin. Instead of focusing on outward beauty, young women need to learn that greatest attractiveness comes from “wearing” the fruits of the Spirit, discretion, and a gentle and quiet spirit.

Solomon describes a woman more concerned about her looks than about godliness as a “gold ring in a pig’s snout.” This is a most contrary and distasteful comparison, but ever so accurate. An indiscreet and ungodly woman who is unattractive is bad enough, but a beautiful woman, whose heart does not match her appearance, is a tragedy. If you are beautiful, dressed in the latest fashions and painted to perfection, yet you do not wear those ornaments of the heart so loved by God, the ugliness of your inner being will not remain hidden for long. Beware of our culture that holds women of beauty in high esteem who do not reflect the attributes of kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. Do not be conformed to this way of thinking, and do not be deceived by the vanity of your own heart. Your looks are fleeting. You could lose them in a minute. You will definitely lose them in time.

But the heart that is renewed by the Spirit of God, the soul that is being conformed to the image of Christ, will never spoil or fade. Those who concern themselves more with their appearance than the state of their soul will find no comfort when the flower of youth has wilted. Therefore, put on the robes of righteousness and be adorned with a beauty that never fades, a beauty from within that will make your face shine (Eccl. 8:1).

Do you have a problem with vanity? How much time and money do you spend on your looks? How does this time compare to the amount of time spent in prayer and the Word? Could you spend less money on things for your looks and put your money to more productive uses? If so, begin by making changes today.