When I reflect on my junior high years, beauty isn’t one of the words that comes to mind.
More like… acne, awkwardness, and a desire to feel ‘normal’.
Most of us don’t really remember much about those years… and that might be a good thing.
Your junior high students are trying to find a place to fit in, when, in fact, they might not feel like they fit in their own skin.
Use this lesson to remind students that real beauty is seeing ourselves as God sees us.
-Nick Diliberto, Junior High Ministry
JR HIGH LESSON ON REAL BEAUTY
Written by: Tiffany Hollums
BIBLE: 1 Peter 3:3-4
BOTTOM LINE: Real beauty is seeing ourselves as God see us.
- Makeup (eye shadow, blush, lipstick, fingernail polish) enough for 3 different ‘stations’
- Makeup remover wipes
- Nail polish remover
- Beauty ‘capes’
- Hair clips
- 3 chairs and 3 small tables
- Dry-erase marker board and marker
OPENING GAME: EXTREME MAKEOVER
Say: Today, we are going to test your beauty skills.
Can I have 3 volunteers who think they have some real makeover skills to share with us?
Have the three volunteers come forward and then say: Now, do I have any contestants who would like to have an extreme makeover?
Ask the ‘makeover recipients’ to sit in a chair with their makeover artist standing by them.
Say: Now, there is one twist to this makeover… the ‘artists’ will be blindfolded!
Which also means that each artist needs an assistant to hand them their supplies… do I have any assistants?
Once you have the artists, assistants, and contestants you are ready to go!
Say: I will guide you through this makeover, and the audience can help guide you also… it’s time for a makeover!
Let’s start with a little bit of blush.
Give the artists and assistants time to ‘work their magic’ and be sure to have fun!
Next, Move on to the eyeshadow, lipstick and fingernail polish.
You could also have the makeover artists transform the contestant’s hair into a new style, depending on how the makeovers seem to be going.
Next, have a ‘runway’ for the contestants to show off their new looks.
Then, give the contestants a few minutes to clean off their makeup… if they would like.
Well, that was a fine display of real beauty, right?
When was the last time that any of you walked around the mall?
Think about the stores and the way they advertise: how do they try to sell beauty in the mall?
Wait for responses.
Can you imagine how much money is spent each year on things that we think make us beautiful, or handsome?
Maybe you don’t really care about all of that stuff… but maybe some of you here spend more time than you would like to admit thinking about how you look… or rather what others will think about how you look.
What do you think the world defines as ‘beauty’?
Dove soap actually had a campaign a few years ago in which they tried to change the way that beauty is advertised, by showing how the ‘beauty’ we see is an illusion of what reality is.
Isn’t it crazy to know that what we see every day, all around us, on the internet, TV, social media, advertising, is something that has been created by Photoshop?
So, have you ever really taken time to think about what is real beauty?
Write ‘Beauty’ on a dry-erase marker board and write down what the students define as real beauty.
Each of us have different ideas about what we think is beautiful.
A few years ago, a study was conducted, in which artists were given a photo of a women and asked to Photoshop it to ‘make her look beautiful’ and the results were really… well, let’s check it out:
Depending on your group, you may need to edit these photos to display more of a ‘headshot’ look… so the young woman doesn’t appear to be unclothed.
Spend a few minutes discussing what the various countries viewed as beautiful.
As a group, ask your students if they notice the differences between the photos.
Why do you think people have such different ideas of what real beauty is?
Now, think about this: What do you think God considers to be real beauty?
Add these answers to the dry-erase board, as well.
Let’s read 1 Peter 3: 3-4.
After reading the scripture, ask the following questions and wait for responses.
- From this passage of Scripture, what does God consider to be real beauty?
- What do you think it means to have a gentle spirit?
- Have you ever met someone who you think matches this definition of beauty that is in these verses?
- What did they look like? What did they act like?
See, here is the downside of outer beauty: someday outer beauty will get wrinkly and old, and then the world might try to tell you that you need Botox.
It can feel like the world is telling us that we should add or take away something in order to be beautiful.
But God tells us that beauty is about something much deeper.
Something that doesn’t get old and wrinkly… but that gets more and more beautiful the more we start to look, think, and act like Him.
When we are surrounded by people at school and in the world, that are concerned with how they look, it is sometimes easier to live out God’s idea of beauty.
This is something that older people will tell you… and at your age, they wish they had believed: “Beauty that is only skin deep will always fade and will always disappoint. But, the beauty that goes deep into your soul never gets old.”
So, how do you get this real beauty?
Write down their thoughts on the marker board.
Beauty that really shines through happens when we remember this: Our worth comes from who we are in Christ.
The opinions of others and the world will change more quickly than you can imagine, and if you try to make others think that you are beautiful, then you’re giving them control over you in a way that can make you forget that you are a person of great worth.
You don’t have to change to please anyone.
I know, I know, that’s easy to say and difficult to live.
But today, when you go home, or the next time you are near a mirror, take a moment to really look at yourself.
Not to critique yourself or count all of your pimples or look at your crazy eyebrows… look beyond that and at your real self, and ask God to help you see yourself through His eyes.
Because when God looks at you, he looks deep into who you are and He loves you.
Just as you are.
And it is when you really start to see yourself as God sees you that you realize that beauty and worth come from deep within your soul.
You are made in the image of God and He loves you.
Let that reality sink deep into your soul and begin loving who you really are.
Close in prayer.
SMALL GROUP DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
- What do you think the world thinks of as beautiful? Do you agree or disagree, and why?
- What is something about yourself that you think is beautiful?
- How big of a struggle do you think the topic of real beauty is for people your age? Why do you think it is such a struggle?
- Who is someone you think is really beautiful, at a soul level, and why?
- When God sees you, what do you think He loves about you?
- If you have time, go around the group and share something you think is beautiful about each person – think about what you say and try to speak life.