All my cousin ever thinks about is the latest fashions, and how she'll look if she gets some new jewelry or has her hair done differently, and things like that. I questioned her once, but she said she didn't see anything wrong because she thinks God must want us to look good. Does He? — B.R.
I'm sure God doesn't want us to neglect the way we look or pretend that our physical appearance doesn't matter -- because it does. Our outer appearance often reflects what we're like on the inside; for example, a slovenly, unkempt person is usually an undisciplined person. The writer of Song of Songs compared his beloved's beauty to "a lily among thorns" (Song of Songs 2:2).
But the Bible says that being overly concerned with our physical appearance is wrong for at least two reasons. First, it's wrong because its sole motive is to call attention to ourselves. Instead of being concerned about others and their needs, we become absorbed only with ourselves and what others think about us. (Incidentally, men can be just as guilty of this as women!)
It's wrong also because it ignores what's really important in God's eyes -- and that is our inner character. Of what use is outward beauty (which in time will fade away), if we lack inner goodness? The Bible says, "Your beauty should not come from outward adornment.... Instead, 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).
Pray for your cousin, that she will come to see her need for the inner beauty that God alone can give her. And pray, too, that you will be an example to her of Christ's love and goodness.