I often take a moment as I wait at our grocery store checkout stand to scan the covers of the magazines displayed there. It seems that if they aren't about sex and money, they're about diet, fitness, health and outward beauty. There's nothing there for the soul. The problem is that people read the wrong magazines - those that are full of lies that fixate on beauty of face and form as though that's all there is. This can lead to comparison and terrible despair.
Some years ago, a friend of mine told of a conversation he had with a lovely, self-assured teenager. "You're very confident", he observed. "Can you tell me why?" "Yes", the young woman answered. "It's because I'm so pretty". "Oh, I'm sorry", he said with extraordinary wisdom. "Why?", she asked in surprise. "Because", he replied, "you may not always be pretty".
"Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing" is the wisdom we read in Proverbs 31. Physical beauty all too quickly fades away; all one's efforts to keep it are doomed to fail. But there is an inner beauty - authentic beauty that will endure forever - in the one "who fears the Lord" (v. 30). Righteousness in the heart produces beauty in the character.