For ladies young and old our appearance plays a huge part of who we are. In a world so caught up in how the physical body looks the road to feeling comfortable in your skin is difficult. Every form of media tells us we have to look like a A&F models. In fact some of you may not know but when A&F launched one of their first catalogs the young men were shirtless. Their catalog looked more like a glamour magazine than advertising clothing. In their stores they put large screen TVs with videos running of young people scantily clad with clothing that looked two sizes to small. This has been going on for decades. During my time braless halter tops and mid-drift blouses with one inch zippers on jeans were the rage. Bathing suits had less fabric than underwear. Today, plastic surgery to increase or decease your body is common. Products that will help you lose weight, grow your eye lashes, hide wrinkles are billon dollar industries. Satan wins this battle everyday. All of this creates insecurity, low self-image and unworthiness. To further complicate things the devil has us believing we need to look like a princess to catch and keep the prince. Unfortunately, how we look often determines whether doors will open or close in life as well. So in all of this how do we as Christian Women find our truth, our identity and value. How do we balance obsession with a healthy view of self?
“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NASB
First, I want to address your appearance. I believe it is important to take care of yourself. Eat healthy, moderate exercise and take care of your physical body. I truly believe everyone has an optimum weight that is not so much a number or size but how we feel and how our body functions. We need to find a balance, a comfortable place one that can be maintained without obsessing. I guarantee this will be a life long challenge, maybe as a woman your greatest…to keep how you see yourself from becoming an obsession. I can prove this with one example. Have you ever been shopping for clothing and nothing you try on looks good or fits? Be honest for me that’s most of the time! If you are young finding your unique comfort zone now will help you as your life unfolds. Learning how to love and feel good about yourself is not the true solution to overcoming how you see yourself. Your identity MUST be found in Jesus Christ, only when you find it in Him will you be able to discern and fight the devils traps. It is vital for you to understand how precious you are in God’s sight…so valuable. Loved and valued so much that Jesus went to the cross for you. You also should value your life because you were made in His image; you are His most precious creation. His love for us is truly unmeasurable. And as a Christian woman, you are the daughter of the King; redeemed and made into royalty through the work of the Cross. But when you make “feeling good about yourself” a focal point, you quickly take your eyes off Christ and become wrapped up in self. Unhealthy behavior will feed a continuing cycle of obsession and balance. Sometimes in an effort to find yourself the devil will speak lies to you causing destructive behavior. Getting help is essential, please don’t let Satan use self-inflicted physical abuse to destroy you.
Scripture tells us that you are not to have confidence in yourself but in Christ only. It’s important for you to focus on how our Lord sees you, how what’s in your heart is the measure of who you are in Jesus. Your confidence and strength must come from the heavenly Father. Any other source is fueled in pride. You will walk a fine line in this as well. You need to continually be asking Jesus to refine away your prideful thoughts and realize that you are who you are inside and out because of who created you. You must believe that God created you in love and that He loved you first.
“For we [who are born-again have been reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, set apart for His purpose and] are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory and take pride and exult in Christ Jesus and place no confidence [in what we have or who we are] in the flesh.” Philippians 3:3 AMP
Paul tells us that he counts all his personal accomplishments “as rubbish” compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ. This must be your priority as well. When you understand that it’s not about you but about how you can serve a God who loves you. When you make your life pursuit in knowing God and loving Him as He loves you freedom is found.
“But more than that, I count everything as loss compared to the priceless privilege and supreme advantage of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord [and of growing more deeply and thoroughly acquainted with Him—a joy unequaled]. For His sake I have lost everything, and I consider it all garbage, so that I may gain Christ.” Philippians 3:8 AMP
Jesus could not be more clear when He says, “If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me”
And Jesus was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to follow Me [as My disciple], he must deny himself [set aside selfish interests], and take up his cross daily [expressing a willingness to endure whatever may come] and follow Me [believing in Me, conforming to My example in living and, if need be, suffering or perhaps dying because of faith in Me].” Luke 9:23 AMP
It may seem hard to believe that self-denial, rather than self-esteem, could actually be the solution to female insecurity. But when you let self fade into the background and become consumed with Jesus Christ, your personal insecurities will melt away. You no longer look to yourself…your talent, beauty, or uniqueness to find confidence. You must not depend on others for accolades because gratification through objects and people don’t last but are just a momentarily. Instead, you learn to find your confidence in who He is, rather than in who the world says you are.
Charles Spurgeon said, “If a soul has any beauty, it is because Christ has endowed that soul with His own, for in ourselves we are deformed and defiled! There is no beauty in any of us but what our Lord has worked in us.”
The world would lead you to believe that you have “beauty within you” and that if you could only learn to love yourself “just the way you are” you would be confident and happy. The TRUTH, as Spurgeon so plainly put it, “We do not actually possess any beauty or goodness of our own accord.”
“Every one of them has turned aside; together they have become corrupt; There is no one who does good, not even one.” Psalms 53:3 NASB
The only beauty, confidence or worth you can ever have is in Jesus Christ. And His loveliness will only come shining through in your life when self has gotten out of the way.
As John the Baptist declared, “I must decrease, but He must increase.” John 3:30 NASB
Rather than trying to build up your self-esteem and “feel good about yourself” (which doesn’t produce lasting confidence anyway) you are to let thoughts of self fade completely into the background. Remember that to “deny yourself” according to the Bible literally means to lose sight of yourself and your own interests. You will only gain lasting security when you look away from yourself and toward Jesus Christ.
God’s Word is full of information about your identity and position as a believer in Jesus Christ. Let the wonder of God’s perspective on you soak in. Do you fully realize what it means to be:
- Fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14)
- Precious to God (Isaiah 43:4)
- Cared about since your conception (Isaiah 46:3)
- God’s child (John 1:12)
- Jesus’ friend (John 15:15)
- Chosen by Jesus (John 15:16)
- Loved dearly by God (John 16:27)
- Free from condemnation (Romans 8:1)
- A temple—a dwelling place—of God’s Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16)
- Redeemed and forgiven of all your sins (Colossians 1:14)
The question “who am I?” is not nearly as important as the question, “who is He?” Learning to see yourself through God’s eyes is key for He is the Beholder.
Be Blessed, Laurie