I am reading a book and I had to stop and pause when I read this,
"One of the great tragedies of American Christian young women is our total preoccupation with self. In my book _____ I wrote about the danger of the popular self-esteem message for women, which teaches that our own heart is good and encourages us to live to our true self and inhabit our own beauty. Not only is this a nonbiblical concept (we have no true eternal beauty outside of the beauty of Jesus Christ, and we only bring Him glory by dying to self, not living to it)..."
(please go back and read this a couple times before continuing on just to make sure you really grasp what she is saying)
I'm not sure how this struck you, but, it struck me wrong. Like a slap in the face. Not all of this is out of place (to me, mind you, this is my opinion, just like that is hers). I understand that a misguided skewed focus on self is not good, but to say that we are worth nothing, and our beauty is insignificant without Christ is to diminish God's masterpiece within us. After all, didn't God make us as as humans before Christ died to save us--before sin was even in the picture?
I believe that within each of us is a beautiful work of art (Psalm 139) handcrafted and beautifully mastered by the most gifted and talented artist of all--God. To say that His creation is not beautiful in and of itself is to diminish His ability to make beauty.
I believe that if we focus too much on outer things, we miss the mystery of ourselves. To focus too much on ourselves we miss the beauty in others. Christ does redeem us, His forgiveness brings us back to a wonderful right standing with our Creator, but even without Christ we are mysterious masterpieces birthed from God's imagination.
Although people misuse their giftings, or allow their beauty to be misused, it doesn't mean that it's not there. Even without Christ the very creation speaks of a maker in it's beauty and gifting.
She says it's wrong to "live to our true self and inhabit our own beauty." Why? If God is the author of our true self and Maker of our beauty then doesn't searching and finding ourselves bring glory to Him? Doesn't fulfilling who He made us to be, which takes long periods of self searching, bring Him glory? To look past what He has made within us is to slap our maker in the face, I believe. He made us different, unique, beautiful for a reason--to bring glory and honor to the master Artist.
here are just a few verses on Him being our Maker:
Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker
As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things.
“This is what the LORD says— your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb: I am the LORD, the Maker of all things, who stretches out the heavens, who spreads out the earth by
In this book she also says, "we only bring Him glory by dying to self, not living to it." I understand that God instructs us to not think too highly of ourselves, to humble ourselves and have sober judgment.
I may be rambling now, but I am a firm believer that God has a plan unique and wonderful for us all (Jeremiah 29:11) and that he wrote down every single day we would live before we even breathed the first one (psalm 139) and that He as maker and designer pieced us together in our mother's womb (Psalm 139) and knows every hair on our heads. I think to deny the fact that within us lies pieces of God Himself, within His handiwork are clues and answers to our life and our purpose, to deny that without Christ, we as His masterpieces are not worthy to be called beautiful--in a way I see this as almost blasphemous.
I'm not sure if my point is accurately being communicated, or if even right now you are cringing at my very words, but with Christ we rise to the beauty that is eternal, forever, we are made perfect--back in Eden with no tarnish, nothing lacking--but without Christ the very fact that we are made by God makes us beautiful and worthy.
After all we were worth Him dyeing for before we were made Holy through His death.