Saturday, August 3, 2019

Body-Image Brokenness

Brianna McClean wrote an article for The Gospel Coalition (Australia Edition) entitled, "Eve's Nakedness and Your Broken Body." It's really well written, addressing a pervasive problem with grace and wisdom. She writes to the daughters of the King, but knows that the sons need to read it too. I'd encourage you to read the whole thing. A couple quotes should prove that it's worth your time.
Eve was the last woman to experience unbroken body-image. She was the last woman to see her body outside of the shadow of sin. In Genesis chapter two, Eve listens to the serpent and not to God, sin enters the world. Note, the first consequence of sin is broken body-image. Adam and Eve realise they are naked and feel ashamed. They cover themselves. Imagine Eve squirming in her fig-leaf, sucking in her stomach and pinching her upper arms. She is dissatisfied. ‘Am I ugly?’, she wonders for the first time. Sin affected Eve’s physical body, made it mortal. The moment she turned her back on God the life-giver, pain, disease and death embedded themselves in her DNA. 
As God made Eve’s animal-skin covering, he was really sewing a prototype. He had plans for a much better covering, one which would destroy the power of sin and shame. The clothes of Christ’s righteousness. The Bible has good news for those weighed down by body-hatred. Jesus Christ died for your body, and he will resurrect it. Christ didn’t just die for your soul, he died to redeem your physical body. The New Creation will be a physical place, where God’s people will live in their redeemed physical bodies. 

Friday, August 2, 2019

Beauty is Vain... Or Unfading

Proverbs 31:30 (ESV)
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Beauty is vain? What does that mean?

First, what it doesn't mean. It doesn't mean that beauty is meaningless. We live in a world made by a beautiful God who fills his world with beauty. He is the designer and source of all beauty. It is his glory on display. Beauty matters.

So what does it mean? It means that physical beauty is fleeting. God loves us enough to tell us not to build our identity on something so transient, so fragile. If you do, you'll be building your life on sand. Sand that easily shifts. Sand that pours through your grasping fingers. Hourglass sand that quickly runs out. If you build your identity on how you look, who you are will be tragically fragile.

This was illustrated with sad clarity recently in a World Magazine article by Sophia Lee entitled, "Selfies with a Supermodel."

Through her friend who runs a ministry to the homeless in LA, the author met Ivy Nicholson, a once world-famous model. Nicholson is now elderly and homeless. Pictures of her then and now provide visual aid to the wisdom of Proverbs 31:30. And Lee's article provides sad testimony of the effects of "chasing after the wind" of physical beauty.
Ivy was regaling Regina with tales of her past…how she traveled all around the world doing high-fashion shoots. And for the rest of the afternoon, all she talked about was the past. One of the first things she said to me was, “Do you know who I am? Look me up!” 
The once-gorgeous young woman was now an 84-year-old homeless woman, but she still acted as if in the heyday of her 20s, giggling and fixing her hair in her compact mirror. She barely talked about her kids and grandchildren, but bragged how easy it was for her to gain VIP seats at fancy-schmancy bars and hard-to-reserve restaurants.
She concludes with this: 
I felt rather sad for the poor woman: She seemed to me to be basing so much of her self-worth and value on her physical appearance and past experiences. I also felt convicted, because as embarrassed as I am to admit it, I also base too much of my own worth and self-confidence in how I look and what I’ve accomplished. … Is this really what I want to boast about 50 years from today?

1 Peter 3:3-4 (NIV, emphasis added)
Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight.