Queen: Magic Mirror on the wall, who is the fairest one of all?
Magic Mirror: Famed is thy beauty, Majesty. But hold, a lovely maid I see. Rags cannot hide her gentle grace. Alas, she is more fair than thee.
Queen: Alas for her! Reveal her name.
Magic Mirror: Lips red as the rose. Hair black as ebony. Skin white as snow.
Queen: Snow White!
—From Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarves
Just a scene from Snow White, right? Or perhaps there is a deeper connection to your life than you have previously considered?
Yes, I know that there are times when we all feel Bashful or Happy or even Grumpy, but our culture is consumed with mirrors and we desire that they tell us that we are indeed the “fairest of them all.”
If this weren’t the truth, then why, pray tell me, are we a nation way beyond obsession with body image? Billions of bucks on iron abs, makeup, hair styling, fad diets and our joy reduced to a daily assessment of how we’re doing as we size each other up.
Face it, we are a culture that is a slave to the mirror, and anyone and everyone who is thinner, shapelier, more muscular, or “prettier” (whatever that means!) automatically becomes the object of our envy – our own personal “Snow White.”
No, we don’t hire a huntsman to make sure they are fallen and they can’t get up, but we do allow the mirror to haunt our thoughts and steal the contentment that God intends for His sons and daughters.
And that’s just it, isn’t it? Apparently becoming a follower of Jesus does not automatically cure us of body image issues – otherwise the church wouldn’t be as equally obsessed as our surrounding culture. (Newsflash: We Christians are just as obsessed – or perhaps even more!)
Yes, our body is the “temple of God,” but we have turned the temple into an idol, and we have reduced the idea of being “fearfully and wonderfully made” to “skinniness and ripped achieved.”
But God has a different plan for our lives. Jesus’ death and resurrection broke the chains of body image, but you have to be willing to let go of them. Every magazine you read and Kardashian you admire is just another link in the chain that you are re-forging around your soul. So let these words soak into your psyche for a while:
So we do not set our sights on the things we can see with our eyes. All of that is fleeting; it will eventually fade away. Instead, we focus on the things we cannot see, which live on and on (2 Corinthians 4:18).
I believe the answer to our body image fixation has to do with our eyesight. We have been trained to “set our sights” on looking great and being the fairest of them all, but that is a trap from which there is no escape.
Instead, we should focus on the things that don’t show up in the mirror, like godliness and becoming more like Jesus in our actions and attitudes. We need to shift our priorities away from sculpting and more towards sanctifying.
And perhaps most importantly, we need to internalize the truth that our “imperfections” are a part of God’s design for getting our eyes off ourselves and on to the only Perfect One we gives our worth and value. The world is attracted to the Barbies and G.I. Joes, but that’s the problem! We want people to see Jesus in our weaknesses and flaws, but that will never happen as long as we allow ourselves to be mastered by the mirror on the wall.
My friends, may the God who created you recreate a spirit of acceptance in your heart. When you look in the mirror, may you see a handcrafted masterpiece, woven together by the loving fingers of your heavenly Father. If you are tempted to be weighed down with your perceived imperfections, remember that these are gifts, designed to let others see Jesus in you!
And when you see others, don’t judge them by the world’s standards. Everyone you encounter is an ever-living, never-dying soul in need of salvation. Stop ranking them as above or below you so God can use you for what is truly important: THE Cause of Christ!
Remember, when you see yourself and others through the eyes of Christ, the superficial image in the mirror is replaced by the truth of how God sees us, and we become like Jesus – truly the fairest of them all!
Flashpoint: Ignite Into Action
This week, take mental notes on your attitude about your body image, and think about ways you can discipline yourself to work on your inner character rather than your outer appearance.
Accelerant: Fuel for THE Cause
Pray: Father, free us from the chains of our body image, and help us to focus on what is unseen, so that others will see Jesus in us. Forgive us for judging ourselves and blaming You, and empower us to be bold in sharing the gospel with our friends.
Read: 1 Peter 3:4. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.
Get: How Valuable Am I? Check out this free conversation starting video about where our value comes from. Then share it with a friend who needs Jesus. Use it to get the God talk started about how much Jesus loves and values us.
Discussion Guide for Leaders
Big Idea: Our culture’s body image obsession is an obstacle to God’s view of us, so we need to focus on what is unseen so others can see Jesus in us.
Key Scripture: 2 Corinthians 4:18
- Do you think you are body image obsessed? Why or why not?
- What would change in your life if you looked in the mirror less?
- How can you focus more on what is “unseen”?
- How can you apply this Soul Fuel to THE Cause?