Have you ever played the word association game. Someone says a word, and you say the first thing that comes into your mind when you hear it. Tree – apple. Bird – robin. Food – chocolate. Beauty – …. What word just popped into your head? Maybe it was an image instead of a word, or the name of a famous actress. Let’s look at what beauty is from the ultimate source, God’s Word, and use His definition to combat some lies that so many of us struggle with.
Lie: I can’t be beautiful unless I’m skinny and look like __(fill in the blank with your favorite model/actress)__.
Truth: First, let me say that skinny does not necessarily mean you’re healthy (see post on Health: A Biblical Perspective). Beauty begins on the inside and works itself outward. Though clothes and makeup may help make us more appealing, they do not make us beautiful! We have been brain-washed since our youth by the media. A person is beautiful because of who they are, not how they look or what they wear! God made each of us different and loves each of us. I’m an identical twin! And even though people who don’t know us well tend to confuse us, my sister and I are very different. Different is good. Imagine how boring life would be if we all looked and dressed the same! I Samuel 16:7 says, “man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart” (emphasis mine).
Lie: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Truth: Beauty is defined first and foremost by God! I Peter 3:3-4 says, “Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious” (emphasis mine).
Lie: “It’s all about me” or “I have to love myself first.”
Truth: The self-esteem movement is growing rapidly. Phrases like “I have to love myself first” or “It’s all about me” are common philosophies being driven into our heads. First, very few if any persons hate themselves, no matter what they say. If a woman truly hated herself, she would be doing everything possible to harm herself. When people are down on themselves and saying they hate themselves, the truth of the matter is that they actually love themselves; they’re consumed with nothing more than self and what others think of them. We are naturally self-focused. The Bible tells us to “Love others as you love yourself.” Why? Because we know how much we love ourselves, so it’s a good reference point for us! Here’s a good resource on dealing with self-esteem issues from a biblical perspective: http://www.pursuingthetruth.org/sermons/files/self_esteem.htm.
Lie: I need new clothes or a makeover to be beautiful.
Truth: Eccl. 8:1b says, “A man’s wisdom makes his face shine, and the hardness of his face is changed.” Wisdom produces true beauty. Where can wisdom be found? Only in the word of God.
Conclusion: God looks on the heart. We are created in God’s image. We are made beautiful by His wisdom. He made a choice to redeem us! II Corinthians 10:5 tells us to cast down any imagination that exalts itself above the knowledge of God. So, if any thought I have is not helping me know God better, it needs to be thrown down, and thrown down hard! We can control our thinking and choose to have our minds obey and follow Christ.
Here’s some excerpts from a helpful devotional by Zoe Elmore of Proverbs31.org from August 30th of this year:
“Entertaining Thoughts” (click the devotional title to be linked to the full devotional)
“What about you, do you entertain lies from your enemy, Satan? Do you entertain thoughts of comparison and insecurity?”
“God tells us over and over again that He thinks we are beautiful; but not just on the outside. Look closely at the truths contained in Ephesians 1:3-6, ‘Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance w ith his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.’ (NIV)”
“Friend, critical thoughts filled with comparison and insecurity are not from your heavenly Father who has chosen you and loved you. When Satan whispers his lies, let’s quickly respond, ‘That is a lie and I reject that thought. I will only entertain thoughts of God’s truth.'”