She passed me her phone with a smirk, asking, “How old do you think I am here?”
It sounded like a dare. I looked at the formal headshot, scrutinizing it for details. Same gorgeous hair, same glowing skin, same shining eyes. It was taken last week as far as I could tell. “Twenty-five?” I guessed.
She shook her head and laughed. “Sixteen.”
My eyes widened as they bounced between her nearly-thirty face and the photo, unable to tell the difference. “How…?” I stammered.
She laughed again and shrugged. “Jesus.”
At the time, I thought my friend was being funny, but as I came to know more women of God, I realized they all had a similar story: you could tell where they’d been in their faith by how they looked in their pictures. The closer they were to Jesus, the more beautiful they were; the further away, the more worn they seemed. The condition of their flesh reflected the condition of their soul.
Of course, this isn’t to say that one should become a Jesus-follower simply for the skincare, but the evidence is pretty remarkable. You can see it in my own pictures. Same makeup, same face, different soul.
Hashtag age-defying. Hashtag beauty from ashes. Hashtag no condemnation. Hashtag Jesus.
This is a silly, superficial example of a deep truth: When Christ lives in us—when we love, trust, and obey him with our whole heart—his loveliness shines from our faces, transfiguring us with a holy, eternal beauty that no amount of charm or makeup can ever replicate. It’s God that makes us truly beautiful, inside and out.
“Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the LORD will be greatly praised.” (Proverbs 31:30 NLT)