Sunday, July 8, 2012

Scripture vs. Society: Image

Image (n.)- A representation of the external form of a personal thing or person.

Self image- the idea, conception, or mental image one has of one’s self, generally resistant to change.

Self image and identity are things everyone struggles with from elementary school until we’re too old and senile to care anymore, whether that image is positive or negative.  You could probably hear about it all the time over Hollywood news or talk shows. More often than not you’ll hear about self image in a negative light, like we’re programmed to think the worst of ourselves.

Like I said in my last post, people see 40,000+ advertisement images every year. How many of those images do you think have a tendency to put our self images under the microscope (even on a subconscious level)? If I’m being honest with myself, it can be a bigger deal to me than I like to admit.

Negative self images can be root causes of some depression and eating disorders, but could there be more to it than that? Could there be something at the root of self image problems that can make the other issues more preventable? And what does the Bible say about image issues and identity crises?
Ephesians 2:10 says that: “We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus”.
“Christian” is our identifier; our identity is in Christ and only in Christ. To be preoccupied with how we look to ourselves or anyone else is to be concerned with other identifiers. This is the fastest way to get caught up in comparisons to the other people around us or the images we see in advertisements. That’s when things get destructive and even sinful. All comparison, apart from comparing ourselves with Christ, is sinful. Now, that’s a blunt and heavy statement, but stay with me here.

Comparing ourselves to anyone or any image outside of the image of God is a sinful act because it takes our focus off of Christ and causes us to try to live according to the lower and much more superficial standard of creation. Instead of being transformed to the image of God, we are conforming to the ways of the world (Romans 12:2). We not only set ourselves up to be hurt emotionally, but we destroy ourselves spiritually when we look to others or advertisements to label our identities. It sets us up to be less than holy. It causes us to strive for superficiality, rather than for God’s greater plans for our lives.

What we should be doing is keeping our focus on God and we do that through prayer, staying in God’s word, and surrounding ourselves with other believers who can keep us accountable through a local church.

Our weight, body type, skin color, or anything else doesn’t define who we are. We have to remember that our identity is in Christ.

Beauty really is only skin deep and the mirror lies to you. What’s true about you is what God says about you. And do you know what God says about you?
Jeremiah 1:5… Before you were formed in your mother’s womb, He knew you. 
Psalm 139:16… All your days were fashioned for you, when as yet there were none of them. (You have a divine purpose for your life.) 
Psalms 139:14… You are fearfully and wonderfully made.
Can you kind of see the gravity of those verses? God knew you and set you apart for a divine purpose before the foundations of the world. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. Webster’s definition of wonderful is 'inspiring delight, pleasure, or admiration, extremely good, marvelous.' All of those words biblically describe not just the way God sees you but the way you are, the way He made you.

So instead of running through your flaws that you think define you the next time you look into a mirror, run through the list of words that really do define you and have that point your focus back to the one who created you.