When it comes to beauty, many of us have been fighting the wrong enemy. We fight against ourselves. We’re convinced that if we just lose weight, change our hair, or get a new wardrobe, then we will feel beautiful. Or we fight our culture. We get mad about skinny supermodels and airbrushed magazines. But the culture doesn’t change and neither do our doubts about our worth. The whole battle reminds me of 2 Corinthians 2:11 which says, “in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.”
We’ve been outwitted simply because we have failed to study the tactics of our enemy in this fight.
As we discussed last week, the root of this issue is spiritual, not physical, and so our primary enemy is Satan. But if we are to fight back, we need to study his tactics and to put on the full armor of God so that we can win the fight.
Any good soldier knows the value of reviewing the battle. So when did Satan’s assault on our beauty begin? What was our first clue that he had us in his sights? I think we can trace this fight all the way back to the Garden of Eden.
I have no doubt that Eve was beautiful. She is the birth of femininity. Her form was created by the very breath of God. And to top it all off, she was the only woman in creation. There were no supermodels or midriff-bearing pop princesses to compare her to (though I am convinced that they wouldn’t have measured up).
Satan recognized her beauty, and he slithered in to undo God’s work.
“‘You will not surely die [if you eat the fruit of the tree],’ the serpent said to the woman. ‘For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’
When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves” (Genesis 3:4–7).
Did you catch it? Satan tells same old lie he’s been telling us, just in a slightly different form?
“You will not surely die, ” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat of [the fruit] your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:4–5, emphasis added).
“You will be like God.” “What you are isn’t enough.” “You need to be more like someone else.” These are the foundations of this lie. Eve had all she needed and could desire, but as she looked around and noticed that God possessed knowledge she didn’t, she let her heart play the comparison game (ever play that game yourself?), and a nibble of sin followed shortly after.
And just like that, with one big lie followed by one little bite, Eve became ashamed of her beauty. She rushed to cover up what God had made, and among the other things we inherited is the struggle to accept our worth. Satan lied to Eve in the garden, and he has continued to lie to women ever since.
Portions of this post are taken from Erin’s book, Graffiti: Learning to See the Art in Ourselves. You can learn more about this book at www.erindavis.org.