What are the Benefits of Studying the Word of God?
Over the past few years, I have received a lot of questions and emails from people who asking how to study the Bible. I want to begin by saying that the great thing about spending time in the Word is that we get to spend time with our Father, and He wants to speak to us through His Word even more than we want to hear from Him! He loves us more than we could ever imagine, and His love letter to each one of us is the Bible!
I wanted to start by saying, because I truly think that if we go into studying the Word of God with the mindset that it is something that we ‘should’ or ‘have’ to do, it sucks the life right out of it! Instead, if we approach the Word as time to be with our Father and fellowship with the creator of the universe, we will see this time as a treasure, rather than a religious duty.
Not only is time spent in the Word a time to receive the Lord’s great love for us, but it is also the road map to our lives, guiding us and leading us into all truth and showing us the way to go. It also builds us up in our faith, gives us direction, renews our minds, lovingly corrects us, gives us wisdom, and brings true peace, joy, and fulfillment… and the list goes on. An important thing to remember is that the Word of God has the answer to every situation we will ever face in this life, and it will nourish and satisfy us like nothing on this earth ever could!
How do we Study the Word?
Now that I have laid a foundation for the benefits of spending time in the Word, the second thing I want to say about studying the Bible is that it is not a simple answer because the Word is Alive (Hebrews 4:12). It is different than any other book, because the Holy Spirit wrote it through people, and it is the Holy Spirit that brings each word on the page alive to each one of us as we study it. Therefore, the study of the Word and time spent with the Lord will look a little different for each person. It may look different each day and season of our lives because there may times/days when we really just need to spend time studying one passage or scripture for a period of time while asking the Lord to reveal it to us in a deeper way and bring it to life to us. There may be other times, however, when we read a whole chapter in one day and the Lord uses bits and pieces of it to speak different things to us. However, that being said, there are some truths that are constant and remain the same when it comes to believers reading the Word.
Here are the five things that should stay the same and apply to everyone in their time spent studying the Word:
1. Give God’s Word First Place. When we put God’s Word first place, everything in our lives will be built upon a firm foundation. John 8:31-32 tells us that if we abide in the Word, then we will be His disciples. We will know the truth and the truth will set us free. If we want to walk in the freedom that God has for us in every area of our life, we must make it our first priority to spend time with the Lord each day. If you feel that you don’t have time early in the morning, I would encourage you to try going to bed earlier so that you can set your alarm to wake up earlier! You can always study during your lunch break, at night, or any time throughout the day, but I personally have found that my whole day gets off to the right start when I make time to fellowship with Him first thing!
2. Go into Reading your Bible with Expectancy. When you spend time with the Lord, begin looking at it like getting to know your best friend. When you spend time with that person, they rub off on you a little more and soon you become like them. That is the way we should go into spending time with God. That takes away any tendency that someone might have to spend time with God out of ‘duty’ or obligation. When we expect to hear from Him, we are walking in faith that He will speak to us. This kind of attitude not only pleases Him (Hebrews 11:6), but it opens our hearts up to receive what He is speaking to us!
3. Pray Before you Read. Ask the Lord to bring the Word alive to you, to bring you revelation, and to give you eyes to see, ears to hear, and a heart to receive what He is saying to you. I always ask the Holy Spirit to give me insight and understanding when reading the Word. The Holy Spirit was sent to us to teach us, counsel us, and remind us of the truths of God’s Word. He is also the one who inspired the people who wrote the Word, so He is the best teacher of all! (John 14:26)
4. Seek and You will Find. If you have a question, something you are going through, or just want to know the Lord more, know that when you seek, you will find, and that the Word has the answer to everything we have need of in this life. (Matthew 7:7)
5. Meditate and Pray the Word. I personally love journaling while studying the Word. When I write down scriptures, it allows me to think about each word and think about how it applies to my own life. I also love praying the Word, because I know that I am praying God’s perfect will when I am praying in alignment with what He said! I also love writing and praying scripture based prayers, because it increases my faith in His promises and it allows me to look back and reflect on His faithfulness!
Where Should I Start Reading?
As far as where to start reading or what Bible to read, I would say that it is important to read both the Old and New Testament equally. However, if it is your first time reading the Bible, I would suggest starting with the New Testament because this is where you will find your identity about who you are in Jesus. The New Testament is composed of The Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke John), which were written by the disciples, sharing their encounters with Jesus when He was on the earth.The Epistles – (Acts-Revelation) were written for the Christian church instructing us on how to live and carry out the ministry of Jesus today, while teaching us who we are in Christ. The New Testament is beneficial to us today because as Christians, we are saved by what Jesus did for us on the cross. For that reason, we are now under a new covenant with God, which means that we are no longer subject to the punishment of God and we don’t have to offer sacrifices for our sins. Jesus came as a sacrifice once and for all for all and carried our sins in His body so that we could be born again and have a personal relationship with God (1 Peter 2:24).
The Old Testament is also equally important because it is the foundation for the New Testament, teaching us about who God created us to be from the beginning. It also contains countless prophesies of things to come in the New Testament that could only be fully understood if you read the Old Testament. It has powerful life lessons that provide wisdom, insight, and understanding to our lives today.
What Version Should I Read?
I personally like the NKJV and the NLT. However, it is important that it is a version that you can understand. The NIV, NKJV, NLT, Amplified, and The Message are all versions I have studied in the past. I would say that it also helps to have a dictionary to help you understand certain words and/or a concordance to study the Greek or Hebrew root words and their meanings. Some other additional study guides that I have found helpful in learning my foundation of who I am in Christ are, The Believers Journey by Chris Palmer and The Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer. I also wrote my devotional Devotions for a Healthier You in hopes to help women find their true fulfillment and identity in Christ based on what I have studied and learned over the years.
I hope this helps! This topic can go much deeper than one post can explain, but I hope this encourages you to explore and study the Word if you haven’t already started! I truly believe that God’s Word is the foundation for our lives, and it will be our rock- firm, steady, and never changing through all of life’s seasons…But most of all, it is God’s personal love letter to you! xo Katie
Proverbs 4:23 instructs us to guard our heart ABOVE ALL ELSE. There must be a reason that God put’s it as a top priority…which makes me think it’s important to pay attention.
As I began to think about my heart, and the ‘issues’ that affect it, I immediately thought about the ‘obvious’ things that would affect me. I know better than to watch certain movies and shows that demoralize women for example…but as I began to talk to the Lord about this issue, He showed me that it is often the ‘little’ and subtle things that come in and affect our hearts.
It may be different for everyone, but I know for me, I have to guard my heart against scrolling on social media pages (FB, instagram, etc.), which can lead to comparing and jealousy without even realizing it. I also try to filter through the music and lyrics I allow in my ears, for I have learned that it eventually goes into my heart. I also try to be aware of the magazines I flip through- I try to ask myself, does this bring forth thoughts that come from God’s identity and worth/value, or does it send me down a negative spiral making me feel like I need to do 5 more things before I feel ‘good’ about myself?
I know it may seem silly, but the Word of God says that we need to be alert, for the devil roams about like a lion, seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8), which tells me that it is the little subtle things that pull us into a trap. Sure, we may fill our minds with the Word of God in the morning, but if we allow 100′s of other ‘messages’ to come in throughout the day, we will be left confused and unaware of who we truly are. If we take a look at the ‘issues’ in our lives, and if they have anything to do with a lack of self-worth, there may be a chance that we can trace them back to something we have put in our hearts.
Let’s be alert and aware of the things that we allow in our hearts, whether it be a show, a movie, a magazine, music, social media- you name it… If it is not promoting and esteeming who God says you are, I would challenge you to lay it down at His feet! I can say from my own experience, it may ‘seem’ hard at first, but nothing that He leads us to give away isn’t returned to us with something better (often it’s the simple gift of peace and joy!) I pray someone is encouraged and blessed by this today, and that we begin to guard our hearts as women against what this worlds says we should be, and that we come into a revelation of who God says we are, and Who’s we are~ His daughters! xo Katie
Did you know that exercise can be an act of worship? When you begin to look at exercise in that light, it will bless both your body and your soul like never before.
For some people, choosing regular exercise is not a problem, it comes naturally and they actually enjoy it. But for many, making exercise part of their ongoing, long-term lifestyle is a real challenge. More often than not, I hear from women that exercise is something they dread. I’d like to share some thoughts that may just change the way you look at your next workout.
I’m one of those that find enjoyment in exercise (I know, I know, don’t stop reading.) Regular exercise and group fitness instruction have been part of my life for the past decade. However, over the past two years, the Lord has really caused my heart and intentions toward exercise to change. Exercise used to be all about my body. It was totally motivated by physical results. I was guilty of “compartmentalizing” that area of my life. I’d forgotten that the Lord desires to be the focus of everything in my life, including exercise. My entire life can be an act of worship if I’ll allow the Lord to be a part of it!
Perhaps more than any other verse, the Lord has used Romans 12:2 to completely change my thoughts about food and exercise. I love the amplified version that says, “Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for YOU].”
The world has taught us that exercise is something we “should” do and generally focuses solely on our body. Really, exercise is something we GET to do and can be all about our spirit! Our experience changes completely when we renew our minds with a new attitude, and shift our thoughts about exercise! Remind yourself what a gift it is that your body is able to move like that! Thank God that your feet and legs, and arms are strong and functional. That you are blessed to live in a part of the world that makes moving easy and accessible! If you exercise at a gym, thank God that He’s providing the financial means to enjoy a place where you can improve your health and help your body to be its best. Enjoy the ability to breathe deeply. Thank Him for the endorphins that exercise provides to help elevate your mood!
Then, worship!!! I ONLY listen to worship music during my workouts and just sing and praise Him, and pray. I ask Him to speak truth and revelation to me during that time, and PRAISE Him for time set apart for that! When you know that you’re going into a time of praise and worship, you will actually find that you look forward to your workout times because you know that you will walk away from it with a fuller spirit and a healthier body!!!
Finally, seek Gods direction for the best form of exercise for you. Trust Him to lead you into His perfect will, what is good and acceptable in His sight for YOU and your body. I recommend doing away with fitness magazines and to view fitness blogs with caution. The Word tells us that, “[God] is not a God of confusion and disorder but of peace and order.” Seeking trustworthy guidance on how to safely exercise is one thing, but I find that if I spend too much time reading about other people’s workouts and getting too much input from the world, my mind becomes overwhelmed and confused by all the opinions of people. In those moments, I call on Proverbs 3:5, “Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and MIND and do not rely on your own [or other people’s] insight or understanding.” I become purposeful to return my thoughts to the Lord and seek His direction and peace even in my workouts.
Prayer: Lord, we thank you that we are perfectly made by your mighty hands. We praise you that you know everything about us, right down to the ideal form of exercise for our own bodies. Help us Lord to surrender this area of our lives to you now. Help us to commit that time to praise and worship and to celebrate the body we are moving in right now, at this moment, not the body we wish we had, and not what the world tells us is good and acceptable. Lord, renew our attitudes so that we may give YOU glory in all we do including how and why we move the precious gift of the body you gave us! In Jesus name, amen!
This Dashing Devotional was written by Sarah Shaffer, the newest member of the Dashing Dish team! To learn more about who Sarah is, and what her heart is all about, Click Here!
Putting an End to Secret Eating
By Sarah Shaffer
Several years ago when the Lord really began opening my eyes to His truth to change my thoughts toward disordered eating habits, he used my kids to teach me a life-changing lesson. In our house we have a saying, “sneaking is the same as lying.” I teach my kids that if you have to sneak something, you need to pause and question, is what I’m about to choose permissible AND beneficial? If not, that choice could easily lead down a difficult path. You are free to choose, but you are not free from the consequences of that choice.
Even now, it makes me smile to think about how the Lord uses the lessons we strive to teach our kids in our own lives. One day, I caught my little girl hiding in her closet with a number of her older brother’s “off limits” toys. She’d made a very purposeful decision to sneak something she knew wasn’t in her best interest. Minutes later, literally just moments after talking with her about why her sneaking would result in a consequence, I found myself in the kitchen. Specifically, in the pantry – light on, door closed – elbow deep in a bag of chips, very intent on stuffing in as many as I could before I was discovered. BAM!!!! My hypocrisy hit me like a ton of bricks. The Lord used that perfectly timed experience with my daughter to reveal a life-changing lesson to me. How could I lead my children into truth when this was the example I was setting for them?
The Lord used that moment and two verses in particular to change my heart toward “sneak” eating. Psalm 25:21 says, “May integrity and honesty protect me, for I put my hope in you.” And, Psalm 32:1-2 declares, “Oh, what joy for those whose rebellion is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight! Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of sin, whose lives are lived in complete honesty!”
Just as I encourage my children to make blameless choices, choices that they can be proud of no matter who’s watching, the Lord desires the same for you and me. Not because He is watching, waiting for us to “mess up”, or doesn’t trust us, but because He desires that things go well for us. He wants us to make choices that lead to blessed, peaceful paths. That day, I committed that particular area of my disordered eating to Him and laid sneak eating at the foot of the cross.
If you struggle in this area, let me just encourage you that the Lord is faithful to his beloved children. If you hand this over to the Lord, He will make you free. He will lead you along the right path and show you which way to turn. My prayer for you today is this – Lord, you tell us that where your spirit is there is freedom. We ask you now to send your Holy Spirit to gently direct us away from choices to sneak what may be permissible but not beneficial in our lives. We commit to you now to live our lives in the light, shield us with your love. In Jesus name, amen.”
The Word of God is alive, powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword! When we pray according to promises in the Word of God, we are praying in agreement with what God says about us! Nothing has impacted or changed my life more than when I found promises in the Word of God, wrote them down on notecards, and put them around my house, car, or wherever I could see them throughout the day! I started doing this years ago, and it was so life-changing, that I have continued to do it ever since! Whatever season we may be in, or whatever difficulties we may be facing, God’s Word has an answer, a promise, and and way out! When we agree and focus our attention on these promises, we can and will overcome anything that comes our way!
I wrote these prayers using scriptures from the Word of God that relate to different emotional battles that we all may go through in life. There is no ‘magic’ formula to praying these prayers. In fact, the way to develop a powerful, effective prayer life is by simply spending time with the Lord every day, which can and should include praying from your heart!
I would also encourage you to ask the Lord to show you scriptures that He has specifically for you…But I hope this helps get you started! I pray you are encouraged today by these prayers, and that the awesome Word of God reminds you who are in Christ, and the overcoming victory that you can have in Him!
Feel free to print these scripture-based prayers out for yourself! You could also write them down on notecards, in a journal, or share them with friends/family! To print out a PDF version click here!
Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.~ Proverbs 4:23
Proverbs 4:23 is both instruction and explanation. God first instructs us to guard our hearts. Then He explains why it is so important: because whatever is in our hearts will “determine the course” of our lives. In other words, whatever we put into our hearts will impact our lives in one way or another. That is why it is so important to make careful choices about what we let come into our eyes and ears, because they are the gateway to our hearts (Matthew 6:22).
But God doesn’t mean we need to live isolated from this world, tucked away so that we don’t have to worry about encountering negative input, but we do need to think twice about what we watch, read, and listen to if we want to live in a way that honors and glorifies God. Paul offered us this very practical advice for guarding our hearts “Whatever is true, whatever is noble,whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (Philippians 4:8).
Is there an area in your life where you can begin to guard your heart more carefully? If so, I encourage you to submit that to the Lord today.
Prayer: Lord, please help me guard my heart from everything in this world that would pull me away from You. and to fill it with praiseworthy thoughts that glorify You. And I ask You, Lord, to keep me on the course of life that You have planned for me. In Jesus’ name, amen.
I am BLESSED and encouraged to share this beautiful word from my good friend Sarah Shaffer! She is an amazing woman whom I met through health coaching, and God is now using her to help other women find freedom! She is a mom of two, and here she shares some practical and real-life tips on balancing it all, and staying mentally, spiritually, and physically healthy as a stay at home mom! (Even if you aren’t a mom, there is such rich wisdom on overcoming food related temptations!) I hope it blesses you guys as much as it did me!
It’s Hard to be at Home
By: Sarah Shaffer
When my daughter was born four years ago, my husband and I took a huge leap of faith, one of the biggest in our life together. We prayerfully decided that it was time for me to leave a successful career in public relations and marketing to stay at home full-time with our kids. When I left my career, there were things I expected. I expected to buy more yoga pants, and fewer heels. I expected to have more playdates and fewer lunch meetings. I expected children songs to become embedded in my mind, and to embrace the routine of picking up toys over and over again. However, one thing that I did not expect, or adequately prepare for was the isolation that can come from being at home. While I considered (and still do) the ability to stay at home a huge blessing, the fact is, that it can be very lonely. Though I had battled eating disorders for most of my adult life (specifically binge eating), I was not prepared for how much more severe it would become for me as a stay-at-home mom. It didn’t take long for me to recognize that my binge eating was getting out of control and that the Enemy was getting a tighter grip on me in that area. I remember desperately crying out to the Lord asking Him to reveal ways for me to avoid eating inappropriately, out of isolation and loneliness. He is always faithful! Almost instantly I felt hope as He inspired thoughts that would help set and keep me free.
My prayer is that the Lord would use my struggle to help set other women free. I pray that what the Lord has graciously revealed to me over the past four years will bless you. If you are struggling today, you are not alone and the Lord who sees knows your pain. He will free and restore you, it’s His promise!
These are just some of the ways the Lord has shown me how to live in freedom:
• Pray! Something I asked of the Lord when I cried out to Him was that He give me a quick, easy, instant replacement for thoughts of food and eating. I knew that in the chaos of my day, it had to be simple or it wouldn’t be done. His response was, “pray for someone else”. The most powerful way that the lord helped me overcome eating out of loneliness or isolation, was to immediately shift my focus to praying for someone else. How powerful! Not only was the Lord keeping me from my own sin, but calling me to be more effective for the Kingdom! “Is anyone among you is suffering? Let him pray!” James 5:13
• Rest! I am a doer, I feel more fulfilled when I’m accomplishing something. This was something I had to work through (and do daily) with the Lord. I would run myself ragged trying to accomplish tasks around the house. After leaving my career, I no longer had a boss to report to, I wasn’t getting performance reviews, and I wasn’t getting promotions or accolades. As a result, I felt that my value could only be measured by what I had done. In my mind, if the house was clean, meals were prepared, and everything and everyone smelled, and looked, and acted nice I was successful. I was also exhausted. Rest was a rare indulgence. As I worked myself into a weary state, I would become weak and more vulnerable to attack. The Lord revealed to me that it’s not only okay to rest, but it’s critical to keeping me strong against attack from the Enemy.
• Enjoy a healthy indulgence! Flipping through a magazine is one of my favorite things to do. For me, reading a magazine is a luxury. So, when I’m tempted to fill myself in inappropriate ways, I’ve learned that it’s okay to luxuriate like that. I’ve also learned that enjoying a “treat” that won’t cause me to stumble can help me avoid eating when I’m not hungry. I love a club soda was fresh lime; it makes me feel like I’m on vacation. Or, an iced coffee in the afternoon. Enjoy it and offer praise for that time to “fill your tank”!
• Run away!!! One of the most powerful tools I’ve learned to use are my feet! When the attack is fierce, my defense needs to be stronger as well. Sometimes I just need to literally turn off the lights in the kitchen, and run from the temptation! There have been times that the pull has been so strong I’ve even had to walk out of the house! “God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted He will show you a way out so that you can endure.” 1 Cor 10:13
• Find your people! On the days when I feel the temptation to binge coming on, I need to be purposeful to be outside of my house. It’s those days that I schedule a play date with friends, or spend the morning at the park surrounded by the sights and sounds of other people, or even just spend the morning walking around the mall. Being intentional about staying out of the house and surrounding myself with others really helps mitigate the battle.
• Sing! It’s hard for a mouth filled with praise and worship to be sinning. When I feel tempted to fill my mouth with food inappropriately, I purposefully start praising (and praying). Almost immediately I feel my soul fill and the presence of the Lord fill the lonely spaces. “I will sing to the Lord as long as I live. I will praise my God to my last breath!” Psalm 104;33
• Get support! The Bible tells us that iron sharpens iron!! Friends, I cannot emphasis enough how critical this point is. CRITICAL! Please, if you haven’t before, ask God to give you someone, just one person that you can depend on and be accountable to. Second only to prayer and worship, this has been the most vital to my success! On the days, and in the moments when you feel alone and tempted to fill that void with food, you’ll have someone to pray for you. I have been blessed beyond measure to have had an accountability partner for the past four years! Almost daily we touch base to make sure that we are filling our souls with the Word of God, disciplining our bodies with both proper eating and exercise, and asking for specific prayer needs. Katie’s health coaching is an incredible resource to help fill this need! I absolutely would not be where I am today without it! “But instead warn admonish, urge, and encourage one another every day, as long as it is called today, that none of you may be hardened into settled rebellion by the deceitfulness of sin by the fraudulence, the trickery which the delusive glamor of his sin may play on him.” Hebrews 3:13
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
As the winter turns to spring around us, I am reminded in such a powerful way of how the Lord takes what was once dead and breaths His life into it, making it new.
Good Friday & Easter are special reminders of God’s amazing ability to take what was once dead and bring it back to life. As we reflect on the true meaning of these days, we remember how He took Jesus, who was dead for three days, and brought Him back to life, so that we could have abundant life and eternal salvation! What a beautiful picture of how He truly does renew and restore!
I am personally so grateful to Jesus for dying on the cross for my sins, but the amazing thing is…He did it for you too! And what’s even more amazing is that He did so much more than wash away our sins when He went to the cross.
The bible explains what exactly Jesus did when He he was crucified, and it just takes my breath away! He not only bore our sins, but the bible says that when He went to the cross He carried our weakness, and was weighed down with our sorrows. He was beaten so we could be made whole…and whipped so we could be healed! In fact, Isaiah 53 paints a portrait of what Jesus bore when He went to the cross for you and I:
Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins. But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the LORD laid on him the sins of us all. (Isaiah 53)
We all have areas weaknesses, and we have all been through things that have caused us sorrow and pain… But we can see in this passage of scripture that Jesus bore it all for you and me to have complete freedom and restoration from anything and everything life brings our way.
Jesus did not promise a life free from pain, in fact He told us in his word that, “In this world you will have trouble…” But He followed this statement with, “Take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) Which means that no matter what we go through in this life, we can overcome it with Jesus!
I’m living proof that there is nothing too big or small that you can’t overcome with Jesus by your side! If you don’t know Him personally, just ask Him to reveal himself to you, and I can promise He will! After all, He didn’t die for you and I only to keep Himself a secret! He loves you so much and wants to reveal Himself to you more than you even want to know Him!
It doesn’t matter how hopeless your situation may look, or how dead something might seem. If you bring it to the God who brings life to the dead, you can surely rest in the fact that He will bring hope, restoration, and renewal to ever area of your life as well!
I pray that you come to know God’s great love for you in a deeper way this spring season. xo Katie
By Sarah Shaffer
What do you think of when you think of beauty? I think of fall scented days when the sun shines on radiantly colored leaves, a newborn baby’s perfect toes and pink lips, a breathtaking sunset over the Rocky Mountains. However, my mind also conjures up images of thin women with gorgeous, cellulite free legs, long flowing hair, and flawless skin.
Is that the Lord’s view of beauty? Beauty was, after all, the Lord’s idea; the Bible tells us that He is the perfection of beauty itself! Beauty is a gift from the Lord. Look around you – notice the infinite examples of beauty the Lord chose to bless us with each and every day. The Lord could have opted to transform summer’s leaf covered trees into instant nakedness in the fall. Instead, for OUR pleasure, He chose a slow and glorious process of change that includes radiant reds, oranges, and yellows. Fall is such a visual reminder of God’s love for us in the form of beauty isn’t it?
The truth is though, that we are drawn to physical beauty. At some point we’ve all probably favored someone because they were physically attractive. Statistics show that people who are perceived as physically beautiful will earn an average of $230,000 dollars more in lifetime earnings, are significantly more likely to be hired for jobs, and are more often described as “likeable” in pictures when compared to a less physically attractive person. Was that the Lord’s plan for beauty? I don’t think so.
I believe the world’s distorted view of beauty is much like the apple in the garden. It was inherently beautiful, alluring, and delightful to look at, all in God’s perfect design. It was the Enemy who took those characteristics and twisted them – made them dangerous – and in do so, distorted God’s plan for beauty. The value of physical beauty has become something it was never meant to be. Don’t you think that if being esteemed based on physical beauty were God’s plan that he would have made Jesus remarkably, amazingly, drop-dead gorgeous? Instead, the Bible tells us that Jesus had no beauty – that passage is translated into “fine-looking”. Jesus, the Son of God, the Christ, the beginning and the end, was fine looking! That means something to me!
It tells me that beauty our Lord values is not found in the adornments of hair, flawless skin, or a certain size. His plan for beauty is that we reflect Christ. The Bible says that “all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.” The Lord’s plan for us is to measure our beauty in light of Christ’s. We are to use Him as our mirror.
Honestly, for as long as I can recall, I have struggled with what I see in the mirror. What I see is a pudgy nose, less than perfect skin, increasingly deepening creases, hair that takes a lot of heat and product to force into smooth submission, and a number of other self-labeled “flaws”. Most of my life people have said that I was pretty, but I’ve never believed it, I’ve never been able to see it for myself. This struggle is something that I’ve really had to work on. Just as I struggled for years with scale addiction, I also later realized that I had full-blown reflection addiction as well. I would search for my reflection in windows as I walked past stores and up to restaurants. I would intentionally migrate toward mirrors in my house, or at the mall. Anything that would reflect my image would suffice. And, the question would always linger, which is the most accurate reflection of what I really look like?
Thankfully, by the grace of God, I’m learning to realize is that none of them are accurate. They are all a false reflection of who I am. They literally provide a distorted view. They do not reflect my profound brokenness over the sin in the world. They do not reflect my deep commitment to prayer. They do not reflect the unimaginable depth of love and sacrifice I feel as a mom. Just as the scale delivers a false value of our worth, the mirror bares a false reflection of who we are.
When I began seeking God as my mirror, I started to see what He sees in me! In my journey toward both a healthy mind and body, I have made a conscience choice to esteem what God says about me in His Word (after all, the Bible is referred to as a mirror), more than what I see in the mirror. It’s not easy! But, as with all things, our choices either lead us closer to the Lord, or closer to the world. I’m choosing to keep my eyes and my mind on my reflection in Christ.
Today, my prayer us, is that we will seek to find our true, accurate reflection through the eyes of the Lord and there alone, the perfection of our beauty shines forth!