5 Surprising Traits of Inner Beauty
Inside: We continue our series on Beauty for Ashes by challenging the stereotypical view of inner beauty. We can learn a lot about inner beauty from the example of Abigail.
We continue our series on Beauty for Ashes by challenging the stereotypical view of inner beauty. Stick with me on this one, and if you’re of the male persuasion, apply it to your “inner handsomeness.” The account is riveting and so very much worth the read. If you can, read all of 1 Samuel 25.
Digging into God’s Word: Inner Beauty
Several years ago as I began my adult fitness journey, I entered a fitness club designed exclusively for women. During one of my first visits, I met a fellow exerciser named Kathy, who simply glowed with inner beauty. I knew from the moment I met her that something set her apart.
I would soon learn that Kathy had the same types of problems as the rest of us: Her parents were facing new struggles in aging, and her job delivered daily stress. Yet Kathy was radiant–full of smiles, energy, and genuine care.
Let me tell you what Kathy was not: She was not a woman who wore a long drab skirt, loafers, and a solemn expression. Her hands were not demurely folded in her lap. Sometimes we read passages that encourage a gentle spirit and misinterpret them as encouraging doormatness (a new word).
Kathy knew the Lord, and her whole countenance spoke joy to the hurting people around her. She was not disconnected from real life; rather, she was quite relevantly connected.
And so we see a similarly surprising picture of inner beauty in Abigail in our scripture passage:
For years, Abigail had endured an arranged marriage to a foolish man. He regularly embarrassed his household with his uncivilized, harsh behavior. Some translations describe his dealings as evil. There was no out for Abigail. Despite the misery of her private life, Abigail managed a huge household and had earned the respect of Nabal’s men. Notice that 200 loaves of bread and 5 sheep, among other foodstuffs, were already prepared for consumption.
Notice, too, that Nabal’s men knew their only hope of survival from David’s wrath was Abigail, not her husband. The young man said to Abigail,
Now therefore know this and consider what you should do, for harm is determined against our master and against all his house. (verse 17)
Might I suggest that if Abigail had wrung her hands in worry or paced to and fro with indecision, we would not find in her a model of inner beauty? Instead, she didn’t miss a beat in loading up supplies and gathering men to go with her to talk David and 400 of his men out of attacking her household. Can you say Mama Bear?
I have to wonder if God was smiling down on Abigail as she rode in haste to dissuade David. Perhaps He was cheering, “You go, girl! I made you beautiful and discerning and strong. Look at you use it! I am with you!”
We learn a lot about inner beauty from the example of Abigail:
- The person of inner beauty knows when to seal her lips and when to speak boldly. She is brave in both.
- The person of inner beauty knows who to rely on in the face of grave situations and endlessly challenging circumstances.
- The person of inner beauty handles with grace and strength people of different values, beliefs, and personalities.
- The person of inner beauty does not operate from a position of fear. “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” 2 Timothy 1:7 (ESV).
- The person of inner beauty loves strongly, responds tenderly and wisely, and walks bravely because she knows that her strength comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
You and me, let’s become people of inner beauty! What aspect of inner beauty do you desire today?
Digging Deeper: Inner Beauty
As you are able, spend time with God, reflecting on these questions or journaling your thoughts.
- Although cultivating inner beauty does include developing gentleness and discernment, it does not mean becoming a doormat. In what areas of life do you need to replace “doormatness” with a reliance on God’s strength?
- Re-read verses 23 to 31, taking note of how Lord and lord are capitalized. Abigail completely understood, and reminded David of, God’s position as Lord, David’s position as lord, and her position as servant to the king-to-be. This did not make her a less strong person. Rather, with wisdom, Abigail applied this understanding to save her household. What do you learn from Abigail’s example that applies to you today?
- In Psalm 138:3, King David wrote, “On the day I called, you answered me; my strength of soul you increased.” The Hebrew reads, “you made me bold in my soul with strength.” God answers our prayers and strengthens our souls. What requests do you have for Him today?
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