I was listening to a message on VCY America about godly beauty earlier and found it to be very interesting. It deals with how we as women deal with worldly beauty vs biblical beauty. It discusses how we, as believers, have let the world's view of beauty effect us in a negative way. Regina Franklin delivers a powerful message on a journey of seeing what the world sees or believing what the Word says about us and beauty.
Roughly she says at one point, My identity is in Christ, and if I'm chasing the world I cannot find my identity in Him...He died so you can know how uniquely He created you...Our beauty was paid for with the blood of Christ.
She discusses how the things we see in advertising campaigns are driven by one thing, the dollar. When we see women on t.v and we feel like in order to be "sexy" and beautiful we have to look or dress certain ways. And we feed ourselves lies, and we chase the impossible airbrushed images of society and wonder why we feel so empty and ugly. Why should we stand in front of the mirror and say to ourselves "I'm fat, I've got big hips, my hair won't do what I want it to"?
I feel like we, as Christian women, should be able to stand in front of that mirror and say to ourselves, "God loves this, God loves me, I am His temple." And as we stand in front of the mirror or in front of other women, or even our daughters, and say derogatory things about ourselves and then wonder why our daughters at such a young age become fixated and influenced by the world's standards. Our youth are our future and our future needs to be protected. Their innocence is important, and precious, and we must fight and guide our children so that they know that they are unconditionally loved. That it doesn't matter what is on the cover of People Magazine, what matters lies between the words of the Bible, what matters lies in Christ and His love for them.
Romans 12:1-2 (emphasis mine)
1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
When the thought comes into our minds we have to take hold of the thought, and if it does not line up with what God thinks of us we have to choose to realign ourselves with His word and transform our minds through Him.
"Skin sells and skin is selling well." We can either buy into the message of the world or we can separate ourselves and the Bible makes it clear that we are not of this world.
John 17:16 (King James Version)
16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
It is often difficult as we are constantly bombarded with the perpetuated image of what beauty is. We can't turn the TV on or go to the grocery store without being confronted by worldly beauty. As a Christian woman we are called to aspire to godly beauty, but if we don't daily come to God for strength to resist these images we can & will succumb. We say to ourselves, "I can separate myself, I just won't watch certain shows or read those magazines," but we are told not to put confidence in our flesh (Philippians 3:3).
1 John 2:16 (NKJV)
For all that is in the world - the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life - is not of the Father but is of the world.
Edited 11:53pm on Wednesday
When we become consumed by what is in the mirror we cannot begin to understand who we are in Christ. We have to lay down the idolatry and turn to God for our identity. We are suffering as a society from an identity crisis, we seem to forget so easily who we are. Who brought us back from emptiness & death; we so desperately long for affirmation that it costs us the understanding that comes when we become the women God created us to be.
He did not create 16 million "Sally"s or 50,000 "Sarah"s. He created me, Kristina Marie Hansen, and He created you. You are an individual, as am I, and God doesn't want you to be Jennifer Aniston, Katie Holmes, Angelina Jolie, or even the pastor's wife at your church. He wants YOU! He wants ME!
I am beautiful, I may not always feel that way but I know in Christ I am. And in Christ you are. You may feel awkward or geeky or even a bit plump, but here and now understand you are beautiful. You have a choice. You can believe the world who is never satisfied, and you can continue to strive for the airbrushed beauty. Or you can believe God's Word, and know you are worthy of love. You are beautiful, you are worth dying for, and someone loves you so much that He died & rose so that you can know that you are loved!
We so often will search for love and affection and acceptance in relationships with people, even husbands, and get disappointed. In Genesis 29 we meet Leah and her sister Rachel. The Bible tells us that Rachel was rather stunning, while Leah had "pale eyes" and through a twist of events Leah and Rachel both marry the same man, "but because Leah was unloved, the Lord let her have a child, while Rachel was childless." God reached out to this poor woman who was feeling unloved and gave her a son. This was a great act of love on His part, but she didn't seem to realize it and was more concerned with making her husband love her. "The Lord has noticed my misery, and now my husband will love me," but he didn't love her. Not the way she wanted him to, and so she had another son, and another, and finally when she gave birth to her fourth son, Judah, she seems to have finally realized that God loves her and she said, "Now I will praise the Lord!"
Can you imagine how loved she must have felt on that day? To have finally realized what God had done in her life, to be able to fall at His feet in the knowledge that she had been loved all along? The tears of joy she must have shed on that day...To understand that God loved her and it didn't matter what other people, including her own husband thought about her - what a great day!
In 1st Samuel we meet Hannah, who though she is loved by her husband still feels unloved and probably very inadequate. Because by society's standards she wasn't up to par, she was barren. Her husband's other wife would often tease Hannah, because she could have children, to the point of tears. Hannah was so consumed by the need for a child that finally after years of trying and years of being disappointed she fell to her knees before God.
"And she vowed a vow, and said, O LORD of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the LORD all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head." (1 Samuel 1:11)
And God gave her that son, and I can only imagine the joy she must have felt. Finally, her husband's wife could say nothing more to her. She was no longer a sub-standard citizen in society. God used her desire to show her that she was loved, and because He was faithful to her, she was faithful to Him. She weaned that precious child and brought him to the temple and left him with the priests to be raised and to be a servant to the Lord.
All through out the Bible God chooses to show love and mercy to the unloved, the people society doesn't deem as beautiful or worthy He stretches His loving arms out to receive them. He calls and gives strength to the meek, He blesses the poor, He comforts the hurting, and the people society calls unlovely He loves. And it is only in allowing oneself to realize that beautiful fact that we can really begin to understand who we are, and who God is. It is in knowing God, and rejecting what the world thinks (after all, society doesn't know what it wants. One year it's the in thing to be blonde, the next it is cool to be a brunette), that we can see even the lepers are beautiful.