Genesis 1:27, 2 Corinthians 3:17-18
- What are some insecurities you struggle with in regards to your physical appearance?
- Describe your “beauty” routine. What do you do each day/week to try to keep up your desired physical appearance?
- How does it make you feel that you are made in the image of God? What does it mean to you?
What do you see when you look in the mirror?
What thoughts come to your mind as you ponder your reflection?
“Ugh, my nose is so ugly.”
“Why doesn’t my hair ever do what I want it to do?”
“I need to get rid of this fat.”
“All I can see is acne.”
Sin deformed the image of God in us. Sin is missing the mark of how we were created to thrive as human-beings created by God. We have completely missed the mark of true, image-bearing beauty by being obsessed with our outward appearance.
If it weren’t for sin, we wouldn’t see what we see in the mirror. We wouldn’t be wrapped up in insecurities or trying to cover up our flaws with new hair styles, workout routines, make-up, or a sense of humor. Not that those things are always wrong, but I sometimes wonder if we will work on our appearance much in heaven.
2 Corinthians 3:17 says there is freedom where the Spirit of the Lord is. Are you living in freedom when it comes to how you see yourself? Or do you carry around the heavy weight of insecurities that consume your mind and cripple your sense of worth?
Many of us cognitively know that we were created in the image of God, but we struggle to live in the reality that accompanies that truth.
We were all created in the image of God. We, together, can reflect the beautiful character of God. This character can shine so radiantly that it brings rare beauty. But our culture has distorted and created it’s own image of beauty: Beautiful hair, perfectly straight and white teeth, skinny, muscular or toned, not too tall or too short. This is the generic image of beauty that has been preached to us through the media since day one.
But the image of God isn’t beautiful because of some superficial outside appearance. The image of God is beautiful because of the love, peace, joy, grace, and light that shine brighter than any whitened set of teeth you can find.
God isn’t concerned with our outward appearance and yet our world is obsessed with outward appearances. How can we not follow the world when it’s what has been ingrained in us since we were handed our first Barbie doll?
And yet, we cannot live in the freedom the Spirit of God offers just by willing ourselves to focus on the fact that we’ve been created in the image of God. Not only have we traded the beauty of God for the superficial “beauty” of the world, we’ve traded grace for grudges, unity for division, diversity for racism, and community for isolation. Our world is wrought with sin that has destroyed the image of God in us.
So how do we restore the image of God?
We turn to the Lord.
2 Corinthians shows us that the Spirit of the Lord is freedom. And because of Jesus and his death on the cross in our place, we no longer have any kind of barrier between us and God. Our sin has been paid for in full, and now nothing stands in the way of us and God.
Because of Jesus, we get to see the glory of God as if we were looking in a mirror. In the times when the Bible was written, a mirror was not nearly as clear as the ones we use today. So, while we may not be ready to behold the glory of God in full (we will just have to wait until heaven), we do get to see His glory without any kind of barrier in our way.
And not only do we see God for who he is, the more we spend time looking at him, studying him, getting to know him, spending time with him, the more we are transformed into the beautiful image we were originally created to display.
As we get to know our God of grace, unity, diversity, and community, we begin to radiantly display grace, unity, diversity, and community as followers of Jesus.
We become people of peace, joy, love, comfort, encouragement, service, sacrifice, hope, patience, kindness.
This is the kind of beauty we were created for. This is true beauty.
As you are transformed into the image of God from one degree of glory to the next, you will find that you are becoming a display of true beauty. The way the world desires beauty (and the way you once desired beauty) will fade away. You will no longer focus on your outward “flaws” and insecurities because the beauty of God will be shining through you more and more every day.
Beauty was never supposed to be based on your outward appearance. When you are made in the image of God, a new kind of beauty will pour out of you that can only come from getting to know your Creator deeply.
- Pick a time each day this week to spend time with God. Get alone, get in the quiet, remove distractions, and get into your Bible. The more you spend time looking at God and getting to know him, the more you will be transformed into His image.
- Practice speaking truth to yourself every time you look in the mirror this week. Remind yourself that you are an image-bearer of God and that His beauty is radiating from you more and more every day as you draw nearer to Him.
- Pick a day this week to go without one part of your normal “beauty” routine. Whether it’s not doing your hair or make-up or not working out or eating whatever sounds good to you. Trust in the beauty of the image of God that is shining through you instead of trusting in your routines and habits that you’ve used to create an outward appearance of “beauty.”