Continued from yesterday…
The preoccupation with external appearances goes as far back as the beginning of time, with the very first woman. What was it about the forbidden fruit that tempted Eve to take it? Was it not because the fruit was pleasing to the eye – physically attractive? “When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye… she took some and ate it” (Genesis 3:6, italics added). “The Enemy succeeded in getting the woman to value physical appearance more highly than less visible qualities, such as trust and obedience,” says Nancy Leigh DeMoss, director of Revive our Heart Ministries. She continues:
The problem wasn’t that the fruit was ‘beautiful’ —God had made it that way. Nor was it wrong for Eve to enjoy and appreciate the beauty of God’s creation. The problem was that Eve placed undue emphasis on external appearance. In doing so, she believed and acted on a lie. From that point on, when Eve placed undue precedence on physical attractiveness, this became the acceptable pattern for all human beings.
“Beautiful is better. Outward perfection is the key to inner peace and joy,” portrays our society. I have caught myself believing this lie subconsciously. If only I looked like so and so. If only I were thinner. If only I would lose 5 pounds, I would be content, happy, or successful. If only, if only, if only… Buying into this lie causes women to feel unattractive, ashamed, embarrassed, and hopelessly flawed. As mentioned above, the quest for physical beauty is unattainable. Even the most admired find fault in themselves. This is evident in the life of Elizabeth Taylor, known to be the most gorgeous woman ever. Yet, her pursuit of physical beauty was not lasting and failed to bring happiness to her life. It reminds me of the evil queen in Snow White. The mirror [culture] will keep telling us that there is someone much fairer in the realm than I, causing a greater desperation to measure up. Just five more pounds… just a different type of makeup… just one bit from this beautiful (poisoned) fruit, and all my problems will be solved.” This does not produce the product the culture advertises!
Can damage come if women put inordinate value on physical, external beauty? Most definitely! It is our core belief system that produces behaviors. What we believe will be seen in the way we live. Believing things that are not true produces sinful behaviors. Erin Davis says that the core lie is “that your value is the result of your physical beauty (i.e. beautiful girls are worth more).” She calls these beauty lies. Believing them can result in several types of sins: envy, competitiveness, sexual addictions, eating disorders, immodest dress, flirtatious behavior – they all are among the long list of attitudes and behaviors which are rooted in beauty lies. “Most often, however, believing this kind of lie is manifested in the form of pride,” says Erin Davis.
Women who are beauty or body obsessed are ‘me focused’ rather than being ‘Christ focused’ and ‘others focused.’ This is a root of pride. Really, anything that separates us from Christ or forces us to take our eyes off of the prize is sin.”
It is the sin in our hearts that longs to find fulfillment and happiness in the applause of others for ourselves rather than for God. It is the sin in our hearts that want to focus on outward appearance instead of the real character defects. 1 John 2:16 says, “All that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.” God never created you and me to find fulfillment in our own appearance.
However there is hope – for every woman consumed by the quest for physical beauty. There is freedom from this lie. There is hope and freedom for you and me. For “[Christ] died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again” (2 Corinthians 5:15). Truth can set women free from the beauty lie that has implanted itself so deeply in our hearts.
More from Darleen tomorrow!!
Kristy Howard is a pastor’s wife, second-generation homeschooling mom of five, and a passionate believer in friendship, coffee, and quiet time! Kristy writes about motherhood, ministry and life at KristysCottage.com.