Inward and Upward (Not Outward)

Do you feel pressured to fit into the latest clothing fad but your body just doesn’t cooperate? Why does it seem that whatever is in style – and it changes constantly – just doesn’t really work for most women?

There’s a battle that has been waging since the Fall – a battle between women and the “prince of this world.” (See Genesis 3:15.) Part of that old liar’s plan (John 8:44) is to convince women to press themselves into the world’s mold, resulting in women feeling horrible about themselves when they fail to fit in and spoiling their enjoyment of God’s infinite variety – one fashion does not fit all.

Unlike the world system, which includes the fickle fashion world, God’s value system does not involve measuring self-worth based on outward appearance. I was reminded of this when my granddaughter showed me a lovely iPod screen saver for Proverbs 31:25:

She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. (NIV)

Women need to laugh at the vagaries of fashion trends and the world’s attempts to turn our attention toward outward appearance rather than focusing on inward qualities.

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment… Instead, it should be that of your inner self… (1 Peter 3:3-4, NIV)

Is not … the body more important than clothes? (Matthew 6:25, NIV)

Our inner self is transformed by Christ, made new and ever increasingly in his image. (See Ephesians 4:24 and 2 Corinthians 3:18.) When our focus is on Jesus, his love for us, and his work within us, the pressure to conform to worldly standards is lessened, and we can “answer those who take pride in what is seen rather than in what is in the heart” (2 Corinthians 5:12b).

…set your hearts on things above… Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. (Colossians 3:1-3, NIV)

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