For so many women, embracing our God-given beauty and value is a life-long struggle. I often travel to speak about this specific subject, and I’m amazed to discover that most women struggle with the feeling that they just don’t measure up in the area of beauty. And I am equally surprised to find that this is true of women of all ages. From eight-year-olds to 80-year-olds and everyone in between, girls wonder, Am I beautiful? and Is my beauty enough to matter?
Yesterday we identified our primary enemy in this particular battle. It isn’t the culture. It isn’t airbrushed supermodels or a billion dollar diet industry. Sure, they aren’t helping the matter, but I’m convinced that the heart of the beauty battle is spiritual, not physical. And as a result, I’m confident that our enemy in this fight is Satan.
But what’s his beef with beauty anyway? What does he gain by attacking our perception of beauty and worth?
Those answers can be found in God’s Word.
Satan is no stranger to beauty. He might be caricatured as a disgusting creature with warts, scaly skin, and flaming nostrils, but in 2 Corinthians 11:14, Paul warns us that Satan “masquerades as an angel of light.” And hundreds of years before Paul, Ezekiel described him as a creature of awe-inspiring beauty.
“You were the model of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you: ruby, topaz and emerald, chrysolite, onyx and jasper, sapphire, turquoise and beryl. Your settings and mountings were made of gold; on the day you were created they were prepared” (Ezekiel 28:12–13).
At first glance, it seems like the author of this passage must be describing Michael or Gabriel or any of the other beautiful celestial beings set apart to do God’s will. But as the writer continues, we notice that this being’s beauty has become his downfall. His splendor has led to rebellion.
“You were filled with violence, and you sinned. So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, O guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones. Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor (Ezekiel 28:16–17).
Notice that the writer does not describe Satan as hideous, repulsive, or even mildly unattractive. Quite the opposite—he is “the model of perfection,” “perfect in beauty,” and adorned with precious stones.
But that beauty became his downfall (Ezekiel 28:17), and the cost was sky high.
What was the result of Satan’s twisted view of beauty? Destruction! He was cast away from the presence of God, and he’s been reeking havoc ever since. In some ways, the same is true for us when our view of our own beauty and worth gets distorted. The destruction can take different forms. For some it is eating disorders. For others it is self-injury. Some suffer with anxiety, depression, or fear because of their struggle with beauty. Others gravitate toward destructive dating patterns and toxic friendships. When you look in the mirror and fixate on the flaws, there are consequences. And I am convinced that Satan knows exactly how high the stakes can get.
Satan knows what beauty is, but, true to his character, he is bent on destruction. He seeks to take God-given beauty and disfigure it. He has been distorting our view of beauty and worth successfully from the beginning.
In fact, Monday we will take a closer look at Satan’s first assault on a woman’s beauty and worth (if you want to look ahead check out Genesis 3:4–7). In the meantime, I’d love to hear from you. What are the specific ways that Satan attacks your beauty? What are the destructive results?
P.S. Be sure to check the blog often this Saturday. Paula will be blogging live from The Rebelution’s Do Hard Things Tour in Chicago.
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.