“Cultivate inner beauty, the gentle, gracious kind that God delights in.” (I Peter 3: 4, the Message Bible)
What does it mean to cultivate this quality within? It is to recognize and nurture that aspect of God that is your most natural self. This inner loveliness is the essence of you, and it only needs to be noticed, to be encouraged, to be unveiled, and so to shine.
This graciousness is the lovingkindness that is aware of God, of good, of what is right, and sincerely pursues these ideals. We can willingly and conscientiously cherish and give attention to our inner goodness rather than unduly focusing on the outer. It is not only a preoccupation with our looks and presentation that can draw us away from what is really powerful and good. It can also be that concern over what others think, how we appear to the world, and how we measure up.
God delights in what He made. He made a beautiful spirit, a glorious idea that is His very image—magnificent—and this is our natural state of being. As we give that sweetness our attention and affection; as we rejoice in the purpose of loving and giving, sharing and helping; as we take off the lens of judgment of self and others, we naturally both experience and express what is honestly lovely. And so, we bring light to the world, not by artifice, but by the authenticity of our radiant being.
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