It has lately come to my attention that in almost all of my outward sin issues, the root of it all is pride.
Let me give you a very real example. And maybe this will hit home for some of you too.
Yesterday I stumbled across a blog by a good friend of mine, he included a youtube video from C.J. Mahaney (click here to see it). This sermon addresses immodesty, a topic that I have taught on for a long time and very much supported. As I listened to this sermon I was struck by a concept time and time again: PRIDE.
Just the day before I was having a "I'm a girl and I cry sometimes..." moment. It had been a hard day for me emotionally, and I was just struggling with insecurity. I laid my head on my husbands chest, crying and trying my best to explain to him why I felt so bad, it was swimsuit season and I didn't look how I wanted to and due to many factors it is more difficult for me to be super fit/physically active. He listened so well, and encouraged me as best he could. I found myself saying, "I know this seems prideful, BUT...I just want others people to think that I, as your wife, am good looking. I want you to be proud to be with me..."
Anyone else ever think this way? Well, as I listened to CJ Mahaney talk about modesty being an attitude, I listened, checking my heart being careful not to think I had this modesty thing down. And then it hit me. As he asked a series of questions, I began to realize, I was striving to catch other people's eyes by my appearance. Subtly, I had believed the lies that my appearance was of higher value than my character.
Now, don't get me wrong, it is not a sin to look nice. But what I realized was that I was desiring other's attention for my own pride. I excused this away saying, "I am not trying to seduce anyone" "I just want to look nice". But what I didn't realize, what I failed to see, was the reason behind this desire. PRIDE.
It was my pride that fed my desire to be noticed for my outward appearance instead of my godly character. Some of you might say I am over-reacting, but I am really? Or maybe what has happened, is because of our culture we have easily pushed aside the truth and justified our desire to want everyone's attention, to be noticed for our cute clothes (even if they are modest), noticed for our hair or make-up, wanting to hear others tell us how beautiful or good looking we are.
I remember laying in bed about a year and a half ago, talking with my best friend Samantha. Since we shared a room, she always had the 'privilege' to process with me before going to sleep. During this time I had not yet starting dating my husband, we were just friends. I remember crying, telling her how much I wished I was thinner, and prettier, that I would be noticed for my good looks, because in every conversation with Phillip he rarely told me I was beautiful, but instead loved my godly character. And I was tired of hearing that, I didn't want to be someone's girlfriend because of my godliness, I wanted to be their prized possession, their "beauty". Looking back now, this seems almost comical. Considering this verse especially, "Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain. But a woman who fears the Lord is worthy of praise."
Maybe it is because we are constantly bombarded with ads that promote fighting aging, loosing weight, make up tips, plastic surgery, and 100 ways to win a man. But what would it look like, what would we feel like, if we just believed the truth? If we cultivated godly character instead of collections of make-up tips and fashion magazines? If we stopped trying to turn heads for our own pride and ego, and started bowing our heads and praying for our brothers and sisters in Christ?
What if we put aside our pride and picked up our cross instead- letting the God who created beauty, radiate through us as His Holy Spirit works in us?
~Set Apart for Him~