This post was originally written in January 2013, and has been edited.
Sister’s, I know this topic has been discussed to death. It is the dead horse, and everyone just keep’s kicking. I get it. I’m tired of it too. And yet, here comes the “but”.
It has to be kicked. Because although we think the horse is dead, it’s still very much alive. January has come and gone and whether or not that diet of yours has stuck with the passing days is irrelevant.
Here’s the thing, I am not about to tell you not to bother with your current fitness regiment or diet or all-avocado and lemon juice detox cleanser you are trying. I don’t think doing any of the above is immodest and in fact, I encourage you to go for it! Steward the bodies the Lord has entrusted you with, and do it joyfully if at all possible. At the very least be thankful you have legs you can run with! Being well is important, so go do it.
But… (yes there’s another but)
End all of it, if your being motivated by the cultures view of beauty or your doing it to impress those around you. And, please oh please, do not make it priority number one on your life list.
You will likely stop reading now, because you think you don’t struggle with any of these idea’s. And if that’s the case then you’re literally the only one. So let’s take a quick look at these danger’s before we eliminate ourselves out of the equation. At the very least, just humor me and keep reading.
Isaiah 3:16-26 talk’s of the Lord’s judgement on Israel in great detail. There are plenty of reasons for His wrath, but there is one scenario I find fascinating. It reads in verse’s 16-17,
“The Lord said: Because the daughters of Zion are haughty and walk with outstretched necks, glancing wantonly with their eyes, mincing along as they go, tinkling with their feet, therefore the Lord will strike with a scab the heads of the daughters of Zion, and the Lord will lay bare their secret parts.”
In those days, some women would wear headbands, bracelets, scarves, handbags and anklets around their feet. This was the culture’s standard of beauty. Sound familiar? They did this with their neck’s stretched out to impress those around them and show off their outward appearance. Sure they were polished and put together, all things we as women desire to be, but God looked at them and saw arrogance, conceit and self-indulgence. And His judgement is fierce.
Being preoccupied with yourself in this vein and egotistical way is ugly in the eyes of God. We have to be very honest with ourselves and question what our motivation is to buy the latest trends and maintain a certain body weight. Are we overly preoccupied with it? Do we think about it more than we think about our neighbor in need? Do we look at other women and judge them secretly for how they look? Are we trying to impress our co-workers, friends, our husbands friends or our hard-to-please family members?
Answer truthfully because this kind of self-indulgence is hideous and God hates it.
God’s judgement for Israel’s vain ladies continues in verse 24, “Instead of perfume there will be rottenness; and instead of a belt, a rope; and instead of well-set hair, baldness; and instead of a rich robe, a skirt of sackcloth; and branding instead of beauty.”
Ladies, it is clear all through-out scripture that our main goal as women is to live sacrificially. We are called to be humble. And in being humble we will think less of ourselves and our need to be pretty and more about those around us.
Women who are preoccupied with doing good works and godliness will not be idle and lazy, they will spend their time on the things of God. The way they look outwardly will not be priority number one. Humble women spend little time thinking about what they want for themselves and lots of time thinking about service to others.
It is a tall order that I fail continuously. But sisters, we are called to be humble.
Our son’s and daughters need to see us caring for others and seeking Christ. Not watching us stand in the mirror, pulling at our faces and complaining about baby weight. I’m willing to bet our kids over-hear us talking to our friends about big hips, diets and make-up techniques exceedingly more then our deep need and love for Christ.
Try with me, will you? Try to stop talking about it. All of it. The diets. The self-loathing. The judging others. And humble yourself. Return to the cross. Receive His grace again. And let it spur you on in good works. For His glory alone.
I will let Paul’s words in 1 Timothy 4:8 conclude my point. Let these words seep into your thoughts as you continue on in faith this year.
“For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.”