An observation that most guys make early on in life is that girls look good. And while that is true, and there is nothing wrong with noticing that a member of the opposite sex is pretty stunning, as we seek mature, Christ-honouring relationships with the fine steak God has planned for us we need to look deeper than just looks. It would be a terrible shame to fill yourself on chicken just because it came with a nice side salad and then miss out on your steak.
In 1 Peter 3, Peter gives this advice to women: “Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewellery, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.” (1 Peter 3:3-4)
I think there is a great lesson for us there. Attractiveness should be less about physical appearances and more about Christian character. Instead of being drawn to someone because they have a six-pack, or curves in all the right places1, we should be attracted to people who can demonstrate the characteristics of the fruits of the spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). Instead of seeking someone with perfect hair or who is an expert at spending hours in front of a mirror with a make-up brush creating an illusion of flawlessness we should look for a girl or guy who is seeking God, whose “hands and hearts are pure, who do not worship idols and never tell lies” (Psalm 24:4), who is seeking to “grow into a full experience of salvation” (1 Peter 2:2). That is the sort of person we should find attractive according to God’s Word. Non-Christians will never be attractive by this standard, merely good looking eye candy (sometimes it must be said, exceptionally good looking eye candy, but still not worth our romantic attention).
One of the greatest compliments I ever got was when a girl confessed to me that she had feeling of attraction towards me. But it wasn’t because of my dazzling looks, charming personality or quick wit. It was because of my faith. She could see the unfading beauty of a spirit living for God in me, through stuff I had said and stuff I had written, and that was what attracted her to me. And it challenged me, because often that’s not the first thing I’ll be drawn to in a girl. But if we are to enjoy the relationships God wants us to it needs to be.
So let’s stop worrying so much about looks, and more about what is beneath all the brand labels, hair gel, fake tan and make up. We need to realise that as Christians someone should only be attractive to us if they are seeking to live for God. We need to stop putting so much focus on appearance, and much more on the stuff that really matters, like Godly character and spiritual maturity. And then we will be more likely to find that perfect juicy steak God has set aside for us rather than settling for a fast food happy meal that came in a nice box.
1. Yes, that was a reference to a Mika song. Bet you didn’t expect to see that in a Christian devotion…