Beauty, Part IV ~ What Does God Say?

By now, we have seen the influence that our culture has on us when it comes to beauty and physical appearance. We see the images. We feel the pull.

For many of us the hold is so strong and so longstanding that we can’t really see how things could be different. But they can.

A helpful place to start is to question this influence. To weigh up the price that we are paying to conform to our culture’s definition of beauty.

God says to us, “Beware lest anyone cheat you … according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world” Colossians 2:8. We are being warned here about what our culture values and what it rewards. The warning is to guard against being “cheated” by this. ‘Cheated’ in this verse also means to ‘take you captive.’ Have you been ‘cheated’ or ‘taken captive’ as you have tried to conform to the world’s ideal of physical beauty?

God’s wisdom and guidance is this – “Do not love the world or the things in the world” 1 John 2:15. “Do not be conformed to this world” Romans 12:2. God’s escape route for us is to refuse our culture’s mould, to refuse to take on its values and definitions. Including its definitions of physical beauty. This makes so much sense when we spend a few moments thinking about the misery that ideal often brings us – the rules, the deprivation, the failure, the self-rejection.

So how do we do this? By being prepared to think differently and to see with new eyes. God tells us that transformation comes when our thinking is changed – “be transformed by the renewing of your mind” Romans 12:2.

For those of us who are really gripped by the hold of pursuing thinness for example, this may seem impossible. “How on earth do I change my thinking?” you may wonder. “A thin, toned body is my benchmark.”

It may be impossible for you to change your thinking, but “with God, all things are possible” Matthew 19:26. If you are willing, and if you ask God to help you, He will bring the change that is impossible for you. That is His grace and that is His power.

We do have a part to play as well. As God begins to renew us and change our perspectives, we must assist Him by not allowing ourselves to go back. “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage” Galatians 5:1.

A practical way to do this is to think about your triggers. What causes you to start getting focused and fixated on your eating and exercise and body image? What is it that undermines you, and the way you feel about your looks? Is a particular TV programme you like where the actresses are all petite and glamorous? Is it a particular magazine you read where page after page of skinny, gorgeous models makes you question yourself?

Once we figure out our triggers – avoid them! We know where it will lead. Back to a place of being “entangled again with a yoke of bondage.” Whatever we feed grows stronger. So let’s choose to feed the healing, freeing work of God in our lives, and not what will ultimately undermine and cheat us.

OK. So if we allow God to renew our minds, what new perspectives might be in store? We’ll be looking at that tomorrow, so come back to hear all about the way we are Fearfully and Wonderfully Made.

© Copyright 2007 Birgit Whelan

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~ by Birgit on August 13, 2007.

3 Responses to “Beauty, Part IV ~ What Does God Say?”

  1. God did not accidentally commanded us to love our neighbours as we love ourselves…We can really only live to the fullest if we experience God’s love in our own lives…and that includes to like ourselves! Only then we’ll be the clay in our Fathers Hands; not protesting, but hoping; not fearing, but trusting; not controlling, but obeying – it frees you up!

  2. Thank you for this post. I struggle alot with loving myself on a daily basic and for years now. I am trying to get delivered and free and learn how to accept myself. It is hard when you have the tv and music video and website.

  3. Dear Desire, thank you for such an encouraging reply about how to experience fullness and freedom with God in this area, and this really great reminder to give grace to ourselves as God does us, and to soak in His love. Lots of blessings :)

    ***

    Dear Keta, thank you for stopping by and for leaving this reply. My heart really goes out to you, as this struggle is something I think many of us can relate to (please do see my own story in this area, if you would be interested – https://birgitwhelan.com/2007/08/19/beauty-part-x-my-story/). Just to let you know I’ve also prayed. Many blessings to you.

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