“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” 1 Peter 3:3-4 (NIV)

Our culture is riddled with materialism. We are told to look a certain way and to wear certain clothes by businesses, brands, and pop culture entities 24/7. We see models on magazine covers everywhere we go–decked out in the latest fashion trends or perhaps trying out some avant garde attire. Singers and rappers tout lives of luxury and seemingly surround themselves with beautiful people.

Last night I found myself at the mall having a pair of sunglasses repaired. On my way back to my car, I decided to stop in a department store. I checked to see if it carried a designer I have an affinity for, and it did. By the time I finished trying on clothes and perusing jewelry, I bought a dozen items. Did I need any of those things? I went into the mall to fix some sunglasses, and I left with a wheelbarrow full of merchandise. No, I clearly didn’t need anything I purchased. While choosing items, I tried to rationalize with myself–surely I need new outfits for upcoming episodes of SERVPRO Television. I mean, I can’t cycle through the same three outfits on an international stage, can I?

So what was I thinking? My lack of repetitive clothing choices on camera doesn’t make the content more valuable. What do I think I’m making up for with expensive clothes and high end jewelry? Am I substituting unnatural beauty (adornment) for God-given beauty?

1 Peter 3:3-4 warns against materialistic beauty. It instructs us not to lean on adornments such as clothes, jewelry, and hairstyles. This “beauty” fades. Clothes become worn out. Jewelry loses its shine. Our bodies age. Luckily, the Lord places an unfading beauty within us. Our spirit holds all the beauty that matters–both in this world and in the one after. Should we give magazine covers promoting the ‘new fall trends’ a second glance? If material items are serving as a crutch in the beauty department, we need to look inward.

In the grand scheme of things, what you chose to wear today doesn’t matter… at all. That new watch you saved up for doesn’t tell time any better than a regular one. Why do we concern ourselves with such frivolous matters? We’re distracted from the good within people if we pay attention to their adornment instead of their nature. We’re distracting from the people we are inside (which is what matters!) by parading around in only the hottest, newest trends. Drop the image. Pay more mind to your spirit. Look within others rather than at them, and they will hopefully do the same to you. Recognize superficial beauty for what it is–superficial.

-Allison Isaacson