"Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. 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 (NIV)
I turned on my computer this morning and my home news page had a headline that caught my eye. The article warned that a certain group of women athletes might be losing their sex appeal. This was considered dangerous because, after all, everything is about that kind of appeal anymore, isn't it?
Girlfriends, who besides me is sick to death of the media telling me I am not beautiful or worthy enough because I don't wear a certain size, have a fashion model's face, or am twenty years old anymore? We women are bombarded constantly with lies--vicious lies. Those of us who believe in Christ for our salvation are just as guilty of believing them as anyone else. Just look at our churches. Sometimes I wonder if we are dressing our best for the King of kings or for the envy of others in the congregation. Our clothes can speak in a subtle way just how well we are doing financially. We wouldn't dare boast about that in words in our community groups or Sunday school classes, but we sure will wear our wealth on our bodies and hope we are noticed.
And all the while we are so obsessed about our outsides, our insides are full of hypocrisy. We run to the gym, follow the latest diet, and spend excessively to present a beautiful facade. On Sundays, we pretend we don't have any problems. Many of us women live with constant depression over our bodies. We tell ourselves to buck up and put on that happy face when we are dying inside. Church is just another thing we do instead of being who we are. We smile and laugh and play the game.
What has happened to us? This body is getting older every single day. No amount of sun screen or makeup on this face is going to change the fact that I am destined to die and after that to face judgment (Hebrews 9:27). I do not want anyone to get the impression that I don't care about my looks! Nor am I pointing a judgmental finger at anyone other than me. But I am getting angry about the time I waste chasing the trivial at the expense of the eternal.
Do you know what Satan and this world do not want you and I to know? How deeply and passionately loved we are by our Jesus. I never had much confidence about my outward appearance growing up. My struggle with weight is what defined me--not how near or far away my heart was from God at any given time. I bemoaned the fact that the dress size I wanted to fit into seemed like the impossible dream rather than grieving over the fact that I had fallen away from my love affair with Christ. Girlfriend, we have got to stop believing that our acceptance is based on how we look! We will never find lasting satisfaction in wearing a certain designer label on a body that weighs a certain amount. No, our worth is found in this truth:
The King is enthralled by your beauty; honor Him for He is your Lord. Psalm 45:11
Have we ever stopped to ask ourselves what God thinks is beautiful? Is His Word what we meditate on or is what we think about all day the messages that are designed to make us feel like losers? Our Jesus is far more concerned about the condition of our hearts than the number on the scale or the amount of wrinkles on our faces. Yes, we need to be good stewards and not abuse our health, but are we nearly as concerned about our spiritual state as we are about our physical?
In the end, when we stand before our God, we are not going to be judged on our physical body. We will be judged for our hearts and motives and deeds we did in this body we have been given. You know the kind of diet that He would want us to participate in? The diet of no slander, no bitterness, no unforgiveness, and no pride. Instead of starving our bodies, He wants us to starve our sinful natures that are full of rebellion, envy, hatred, and selfishness.
We will find true satisfaction following a diet like that.
Jesus, I get so wrapped up in what just does not matter very much in the end. Give me wisdom to have restraint in the area of my physical appearance. Block my heart and mind from the lies that come from the pit of hell and contradict what You say in Your Word. Nothing that I can do will make me more worthy. You are my worthiness--just You and Your finished work on the cross. Help me to be obsessed with You.