Dazzling celebrities and influencers dance on television, magazine covers, and social media scrolls. They portray worldly perfection with perfect meal plans, body weights, and even “perfect Christians” with flawless pictures from perfect angles, smiles, and filters.
The world’s lens focuses on external attributes to create desired impressions. Western cultures promote the self-made and superficially flawless person. Although these images may look pretty and offer popular things to attain, buy, or be, they are counterfeits of God’s beauty.
When Jesus came into the world, He brought His light to shine in the darkness. (John 1:1-5) He didn’t need to “create a persona” because He is the image of the living invisible God. (Colossians 1:15-16) Real beauty. The perverse dark world, blinded by its sin, shrieks at the light and beauty of Jesus.
We are pressured to conform to a worldly concept of shiny perfection, with all of our messy parts hidden.
As Christ-followers, we embrace God as Creator (Genesis 1:26-27), believing we are made to be set apart as a chosen, holy priesthood. (1 Peter 2:9) But how often do we feel ourselves conforming to the world’s image?
Does our image conflict with who we are as people of God, remade to reflect Him?
I’ve struggled with the impossibility of living up to social media. In high school, I emulated the models in the magazines and fell into an eating disorder. As a writer, I have been tempted to write for likes and followers, rather than for the One who called me to compose.
Did Jesus worry about His platform?
Was He concerned with what the people, Pharisees, and Romans would think of Him?
To fit in, did He water down His message?
No. Jesus was counter-culture. He eschewed building a platform, instead building a kingdom. He turned the world upside down with a King who serves and a God who had no place to lay His head, and a Holy One who washes feet.
By surrendering our image to God, we release the world’s conception of an image, instead becoming His image-bearers.
As we bear His image, we too become counter-cultural as we live Spirit-empowered, holy, obedient lives.
Similarly, consider other figures from Scripture.
Did John the Baptist, a prophet who declared the coming Messiah, have a nice suit, quaffed hair, and manicured nails? No, he came in a camel-hair garment with a leather belt around his waist and ate locusts and wild honey. (Mark 1:1-8)
What of King David, one of the best-known kings of Israel, stripped down to his ephod, enthusiastically dancing as the Israelites brought the ark into Jerusalem. His wife, Mical, called him vulgar. But David danced before the Lord because it was, and is always, about the Lord. (2 Samuel 6:12-23)
Many despised Jesus, John the Baptist, and David. Many will despise us as Christians.
“If the world hates you, understand that it hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own. However, because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of it, the world hates you.” (John 15:18-19)
God blesses us for obeying His call to surrender our images and bear His.
Despite their humble beginnings and personas far from worldly acclaim, God used both David and John in significant, radical ways.
King David ruled a mighty kingdom and was a forebearer to Jesus. John the Baptist came ahead of the Messiah. Much like the groom’s friend who stands by and rejoices at the groom’s voice, John knew Jesus must increase, while he must decrease. (John 3:27-30) We, too, must decrease so Christ can increase, for our joy is complete in Jesus.
Just as the Lord was a faithful Sustainer, Supplier, and Satisfier to David and John the Baptist, so He is to us. When we surrender to Him, we no longer act on our own, seeking our glory, instead we seek the glory of the true and righteous God, and this brings us rich delight! (John 7:18-26)
God calls us to be His messengers,
proclaiming the good news of God’s love and sacrifice
to bring about our redemption. (John 3:16-17)
For, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news[!]” (Romans 10:15)
God holds His faithful with what the Bible calls “hesed” love, which is defined as an eternal, reliable, faithful, covenant love. As we turn our platforms, images, and life over to God, He proceeds with His perfect plan for our lives.
It took years to love my body and who I was as a child of God. Thankfully, I discovered a vital Christian principle: God is beautiful, and we are made in His image. (Genesis 1:26-27) We no longer need to match up to what society calls “pretty” when we learn how precious we are to the Holy Father.
By surrendering my image to Christ, my life shifted from a rollercoaster of never matching up, full of anxiety and striving, to focusing on Jesus and embracing His peace and joy.
As a writer, I write for Him first. I ask if my writing and social media align with God’s image. My hair, makeup, weight, or home need not be perfect because God is my perfect.
Sisters, will you join me in asking God to show us where we need to surrender our worldly images to Him? For with God’s light in our image, we shine brighter than any shiny, perfected world picture.
Surrender Day 9
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