Lets talk body image. Have you ever thought where the “perfect” body came from? When God created Eve He didn’t describe her physical attributes yet she was the perfect woman because she was created in His image. “ Bone of my bones. Flesh of my flesh. She shall be called woman, because she was taken out of man.” ( Genesis 2:23 ) The only thing we know for sure about Eve’s appearance is that she was naked and was not ashamed. She was made in God’s image. Her appearance was the least important thing we should know about her because it isn’t even mentioned in the Bible. So. Where does body image, specifically negative body image, come from if not from the Bible?
Body image is the perception that a person has of their physical self and the thoughts and feelings that result from that perception. It is a perception brought on by the thief known as comparison. Eve did not have another woman to compare herself to. Adam did not have other women to compare Eve to. They had a perfect garden to reside in and body image was not on their radar. We do not see Adam complain about Eves curves when they had relations. We do not hear God telling either of them anything other than they are good. Their marriage was built on the love and gratitude they shared from the Father, not what they physically looked like. Comparison entered the picture when men started looking at other women and women started looking at other men. That is where the thief steals the joy of intimacy in marriages. Body image is greatly manipulated by the devil. Eve was not ashamed of her body at all until the serpent fed her the lie of delight and deceived both her and Adam. Then they found themselves ashamed.
The devil feeds us lies of delight every day. Take notice of the acceptable body image over the decades. In 1910 a woman was considered perfect if she had a tiny waist with large breasts and hips. In the 1920’s it was all about long lean legs. In the 1930’s curves and blonde curls were the goal. The 1940’s it was back to leanness – no real cleavage, thin legs and small waist. Then the 1950’s hit and it was all about curves again- the bigger the better. In the 60’s you had to be petite with no curves to be desirable and in the 70’s your shoulders needed to be wider than your hips. The 80’s brought the fit woman into the spotlight and in the 90’s androgyny hit the scene. Can you see the trend here? None of it is lasting. Proverbs 31:10 says Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.”
Ladies, the devil is lying to you. Beauty is not permanent and we cannot ever fill the shoes of perfect body image because it changes constantly. The average lifespan is 80 years. How many changes to the “beauty image” happened in 80 years? Guess what the Father saw as beauty from the beginning of time? A woman who respects the Father. He did not have any other requirements of beauty other than that. So why do we?
We are pressured by a society that seeks worldy pleasure. Boys grow up looking at magazines that tell them this is what beauty is and what they should strive for. Women see the same magazines and feel pressured to conform if they want a mate. Women see men beefed up on steroids and think that is where its at because the devil whispers it in their ear. Men refuse to see their mates as beautiful unless they are certain size because the devil whispers it to be so. Men and women alike are so enamored by the deception of beauty that they have difficulty desiring what should be the sexiest thing we see in a mate: their love of Christ. That, in my opinion, is the greatest win the devil has in this spiritual war. He has stolen the most beautiful gift Yahuah gave us: unity of husbands and wives. He has warped it and turned it into some side show that swirls around in the sickness of unhealthy desire and temptation and above all – comparison.
Comparison separates us from Christ. 2 Corinthians :12 says “For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.” When we choose comparison, we are not wise by any means. We have conformed to the ways of this world when we compare our mates to another.
The Father doesn’t put emphasis on body image because that is not what is important. He wants us to focus on what’s inside. You can meet a man that is perfect by the worlds standards: tall, dark, handsome and has that perfect six pack, yet inside resides the demon of vanity and pride. You can have a wife that is “trophy” material but inside resides the demon of lust and greed.
Friends, we are not to conform to the ways of this world (Romans 12:2) and that includes falling prey to body image and comparison. What would happen in your relationships today if you looked at your mate and felt contented with their looks and fell in love with what is inside? How much glory would that bring to the Father and result in dramatically amazing changes in your relationship? How gorgeous would your life be to live fully in the glory of a relationship that says I have learned to content in whatever my mate looks like on the outside because I have seen the light that shines on the inside?
I challenge you today to let go of the worldly body image snare. I challenge you to not compare your mate to what the world says is beauty. I challenge you to not compare yourself and instead love who you are because you are created the way you are for a purpose. Fight the disease of comparison and live fully in the freedom of Christ!