Wednesday, June 06, 2007
"For ye were bought with a price: glorify God therefore in your body." (ASV)
Self esteem is a huge issue in our society today. Television and magazines tell women that we have to be six feet tall, thin as a rail, and perfectly dressed and styled. Men are supposed to be thin but muscular, powerful, strong, and always in charge of their emotions and the world around them. Eating disorders, steroid abuse, plastic surgery, botox and other forms of self-destructive behavior are on the rise. And all the while we take it in. We wish we could look more like the celebrities on the screen. We strive for the "ideal" body. We forget that we have already been "fearfully and wonderfully made" (Psalm 139:14)
In an age when even the Pope wears designer labels, it is time for Christians to cast aside the molds and standards of the world and remember the God who made us and who loves us just the way we are. It is time for us to remember that we are not our own. We belong to God. He paid for us with Christ's death on the cross, a very dear cost indeed. All He asks in return is that we love Him and strive for His glory above our own.
Every imperfection we see in the mirror, every time we tell ourselves we're not good enough, we allow Satan a foothold in our lives. We make the ideals of beauty and perfection our idols. We spend more time thinking about that extra five pounds than we do thinking about the God who loves us or the calling He's given us. We search for the perfect diet instead of searching for purpose. We waste our efforts trying to get rid of gray hairs instead of working toward ridding ourselves of sin. And we bask in our vanity, assuring ourselves that it's normal because it's what the rest of the world is doing.
Christians are not called to be just like the rest of the world. We are called to be a holy people. The simple definition of the world holy is "set apart". We are to set ourselves apart from the corruption and pride of the world in which we live. How are we to show them the difference God has made in our lives if we really are no different? It would be an act of hypocrisy to even try.
Instead of trying to be just like the world, we should strive to be just like Jesus. That is the true nature of being a follower -- seeking to emulate our leader in all things. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that He was on the cutting edge of fashion. He was a humble man, a carpenter's son by outward appearance. It was not beauty or physical presence that attracted people to Him. The crowds flocked to His side because of the love He showed and the miracles He performed. People wanted to be near Him because they could see God in Him.
We can have the same effect on our world, if we only try. God wants to shine through us. He wants us to be the light of the world. He wants us to be the salt of the earth, giving flavor to an otherwise bland existence. But the way to do this is not found in a beauty magazine. We can't attain it through long hours at the gym. Rather, we simply have to seek after God, "and all these things shall be added unto you." (Matthew 6:33)