Archive for April, 2010

April 28, 2010

History

I like history, I really do. Actually, it can’t be helped. Call it subliminal messages. It seems that even from my youngest days everyone around me seemed to connect me to history too. From the bully at school I’d hear “Your history kid!” “Um, no I’m Israel” Maybe that’s why I changed my name to David for my adolescence. Perhaps Israel was history, but David was not. To engrain the connection to history into my skull a little more I came across a book entitled Israel’s History once. I was dumbfounded. I scanned for the author to see if it was written by A. Bully. It wasn’t.  That was close. I almost contacted the closest ACLU to get a restraining order.

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April 27, 2010

April Free Things

I’m a little late this month with the April free things because I wanted to listen to Christian Audio’s free audio book before I linked it here for y’all. Well, I haven’t listened to the whole book yet, but what I’ve heard has left me on the edge of my seat and I’m sorry to have taken so long in getting to it. Please, please, please download this book before the end of April.

It is Stuff Christians Like by Jonathan Acuff. Think a Christian Brian Regan tackling many issues as you’ll get a good idea of what is awaiting you. Acuff has a blog with the same name.  I am definitely going to start regularly checking it out after hearing the first half of his book. With him reading his own book, I actually think the audio version might really be better than the written word in this one instance. Thank you Jonathan for good wit while making me say “ouch” over and over again throughout my day.

Also, we can now catch up on Reformed Seminary’s continued bicentennial celebration. To help your recall, I couldn’t find it posted last month prior to posting our free stuff here. So we have April’s out-of-print classic available for download.  April’s is The Life and Power of True Godliness by Alexander M’Leod.

Free Worship Music Album (9 songs) by Mars Hills Worship Team.

And finally a couple of links for those living in St. Louis for deals and freebies. They are:

http://stlouiscents.blogspot.com/

http://www.stlmommy.com/

http://moneysavingmom.com/

Enjoy!

April 26, 2010

What is the best 80s song?

That’s a hard one, but while your thinking about it here are four selections to help you kick start your brainstorming.

Depeche Mode – Megamix (with Erasure, OMD, the Cure, Falco)

Eurythmics, Madness, The Cars, Duran Duran, Thomas Dolby, Ha

Joan Jet – Rockin’ the 80’s

Michael Jackson – 80s DISCO MEGAMIX..

April 25, 2010

Fasting

How many types of fasts are there? Tom Ascol lists at least nine  in his blog. They are:

  1. A Normal Fast involves abstaining from all food, but not from water. (Mt. 4:2
  2. A Partial Fast is a limitation of the diet but not abstention from all food. (Dan. 1:12; Mt. 3:4)
  3. An Absolute Fast is the avoidance of all food & liquid, even water. (Ezra 10:6; Esther 4:16; Acts 9:9).
  4. A Supernatural Fast which require God’s supernatural intervention into the bodily processes and are not repeatable apart from the lord’s specific calling & miraculous provision. (Deut. 9:9; 1 Kings 19:8)
  5. A Private Fast is the one referred to most often by Jesus, and should be done without calling attention to oneself. (Mt. 6:16-18)
  6. Congregational Fasts involve the church participating together. (Joel 2:15-16; Acts 13:2)
  7. A National Fast is a call to the nation to fast. (2 Chron. 20:3; Neh.9:1; Jonah 3:5-8) (The US Congress has called 3 national fasts, under John Adams, James Madison and Abraham Lincoln)
  8. There was one Regular Fast under the Old Covenant. (Lev. 16:29-31)
  9. Occasional Fasts which occur on special occasions as the need arises. (Mt. 9:15)

The article in its entirety is worth reading.

April 23, 2010

Narcissistic Birthday

For anyone who “claims” that one day doesn’t make a difference check out this before and after picture. I almost suffered a serious setback when I looked in the mirror this morning. So I’ve put a list together of things true for me now that I’m 35.

  1. Fire marshal requires a fire extinguisher accompany any birthday cake that attempts to have as many candles as I am years old.
  2. Still can’t believe the Saints won the Superbowl in my lifetime.
  3. My knees knock more than my front door.
  4. teeth chattering is more about preventing lock jaw than being cold.
  5. Candles, matches, electrical outlets, needles, pins all have the same use – to verify my hands still have the sense of touch.
  6. Lament that windshields can’t also act as a magnifying glass (also realize that side mirrors really need to start showing images as large as they really are).
  7. Need help blowing out my candles.
  8. Want to tell my parents they were right about something just can’t remember what it was or who they are.
  9. Hope my teeth make another 100,000 miles.
  10. Looking forward not back.
  11. Have more than I need.
  12. Grateful for a beautiful wife and lovely children.
  13. Get what it means when Paul says “To live is Christ and to die is gain.”
  14. New life verse: Proverbs 20:29  “The glory of young men is their strength, but the splendor of old men is their gray hair.”
  15. Long to stand in justification by faith in Christ alone for all good works created in and for me for God and his glory.
  16. Look forward to the fruit of the Spirit growing vibrantly in my life.
  17. Glad to be on this side of the cross; look forward to the other side of the grave.
  18. Question to Death: Where is your victory? What? Ain’t you got no sting? (okay – I’m having too much fun now).
April 22, 2010

When conservative denominations decline

When conservative denominations decline: Check out this interesting article. I think, with trepidation, I will have to read Frame’s book.

April 21, 2010

The Weight of Glory

A good friend reminded me of C.S. Lewis’ work Weight of Glory after my last post. One of my favorite quotes from this work follows:

I turn next to the idea of glory. There is no getting away from the fact that this idea is very prominent in the New Testament and in early Christian writings. Salvation is constantly associated with palms, crowns, white robes, thrones, and splendour like the sun and stars. All this makes no immediate appeal to me at all, and in that respect I fancy I am a typical modern. Glory suggests two ideas to me, of which one seems wicked and the other ridiculous. Either glory means to me fame, or it means luminosity. As for the first, since to be famous means to be better known than other people, the desire for fame appears to me as a competitive passion and therefore of hell rather than heaven. As for the second, who wishes to become a kind of living electric light bulb?

You can read the entire work here.

April 20, 2010

The Weight of the Cross

Many times I have considered the weight of the cross as Jesus bore it. By that I don’t mean just physical weight, say 250 lbs or whatever; rather, I have in view the ontological weight. By that I mean the weight that came with becoming a substitute for us when he who knew no sin became a curse for us who are by our fallen nature sinners. In one sense I don’t think we will ever fully grasp the immense cost (i.e. weight) of this act – even after God brings things back to rights in the future. For all eternity we will dwell and we will grow immensely in our knowledge and understanding of Jesus’ sacrifice due to our exposure to God’s holiness, but I doubt that we as finite beings will ever grasp that which is infinite in value becoming a sacrifice and then the turmoil it must have caused in his being as God Jesus took on the task of the cross.

At the same time, I think it is an appropriate exercise to consider this question because Scripture gives us hints which communicate the depths of the pain and suffering that Jesus went through on the cross. For example, we know that Jesus cried “My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me?” (Mt 27:46, Mk 15:34) And this one example is one apple in a barrel of examples of excruciating biblical examples that pound into us the reality that the cross was a cosmically cataclysmic difficult task that the Son of Man carried out.

In my devotional time there is a thought that has brought me closer to grasping this weight perhaps more than any other. To set it up, you have to understand how Jewish thought worked throughout biblical times. Specifically I have in view the way Hebrews would communicate superlatives in Hebrew and then by extension in thought even if they were speaking in Aramaic or Greek.

While Ancient Hebrew also shares many of the same linguistic tools we have to show emphasis and make superlatives comparisons/statements they also utilized something we don’t – namely, they would repeat the word twice in a row. For example, in Psalm 148:4 creation is instructed to “Praise him, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens!” The phrase “highest heavens” is what has my attention here. In Hebrew, it reads woodenly  “heaven heaven” or “sky, sky” depending on context. The idea is even to the highest heights imaginable, even these heights are under God’s sovereignty and thus are due to give him praise. What I want you to get from this is the superlative nature of the use of the repetitive nature of the syntax. Specifically, there is no higher heaven than that which the Hebrew has in mind. It is an “est” superlative, not an “er” one – like “strongest” not “stronger.” Does that make sense? I hope so, because you have to get this clarification to go where I’m going and I want you to come on this journey with me.  (Cf Dt 10:14; 1 Kgs 8:27;  2 Chr 6:18; Neh 9:6. Oh, also check out Gen 2:17 where “die” is repeated twice in the Hebrew at the end making a very interesting statement about what kind of death comes with eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.)

In the Old Testament we have a multitude of various ideas that are furthered like this – and we even see it evidenced in Jewish thought in the New Testament. This is what is happening when Jesus says the powerful proclamation of “truly, truly” throughout the Gospels. This is lagniappe, but worth the diversion – in the first century after a rabbi would issue a teaching the listening rabbis, scribes and religious leaders would say “amen” (meaning truly; its the same word Jesus says – gives depth to when you say “amen”) giving their seal of approval on the teaching. Then the common listener would accept the teaching as trustworthy. But when Jesus says “Amen, amen” at the beginning of his teachings he is making a declarative statement in both its placement in the teaching and his repeating of it. Jesus means to communicate that he speaks truth and has authority to validate its authenticity without the input of the religious leaders. It was shocking to hear for the first century Jew. (Back from the rabbit trail) What it does for us is show that this thinking was still very much part of Jewish communication even when speaking in Aramaic or Greek.

Back to the Old Testament, there is only one attribute of God that gets the superlative royal treatment and that is God’s holiness. And it is not repeated twice in a row, but three times in a row! It is the Hebrew superlative of all superlatives. The Bible doesn’t claim “God is love, love, love” nor does it say that “God is mercy, mercy, mercy” nor does it say that “God is justice, justice, justice” but it does say that God is holy, holy, holy. Isaiah 6:3 gives us that grand picture in the throne room of Heaven where the Seraphim are crying out, “And one called to another and said: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!'”

I lament my inability to convey the depth and width of this amazing claim that communicates to us just how holy God is because we struggle to grasp holiness in all its otherness to what we are, but to get sin you must first get God’s holiness. And of course, this is where any hope of understanding the weight of the cross must begin. It is not by accident then that there is a connection between holiness and glory, for glory in Hebrew has behind it the sense of weight literally carrying the connotation of heaviness. God’s glory is a heavy thing indeed.

With this in mind, now perhaps hear the precious words of the world’s only Savior as he tells us how much our sins weighed upon him with the looming cross drawing ever nearer. Matthew 26:37-45

And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled.  Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.”  And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words again. Then he came to the disciples and said to them, “Sleep and take your rest later on. See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.

Many things from this text are important – the fact that Jesus is looking for comfort and encouragement from his human companions, some of the very sheep for whom he will be slaughtered, and their constant inability to stay away after having their fill of food and wine from the passover feast.  But I want to focus on his time with his father as he comes before the Father’s throne. The very purpose he came to earth about to culminate into the climax of the cross – a path God had set before the foundation of the world and something Jesus did willingly and of his own volition. No one made him give up his own life; it was his to give and he gave it of his own accord. But the joy of the cross as it was set before him was the conquering of death. But now, in the Garden of Gethsemane the looming of the pain of his anticipation of being a substitutionary atonement who is sacrificed while incurring a debt that was not his brought a weight that caused him to the superlative of all superlatives. It is by no mistake we are given a different superlative this night – where Peter denies to the third degree, but Jesus will not deny the Father. Still, he comes into communion with the Father and asks not once, not twice but three times that the cup of the cross pass from him.

How much did the cross weigh on Jesus’ mind? More than anything has weighed on the mind of anyone else ever. It is the superlative that conveys the weight of the cross as only a Jew could communicate. “Take this cup from me!” Again, “Take this cup from me!” and again, “Take this cup from me.” What can conquer such a burden? How does Jesus fight through this terrible anxiety that he is experiencing?

“But not my will be done, but yours.”

Again, “Not my will be done, but yours.”

And again, “Not my will be done, but yours.”

And yet again for a fourth time for that is what is behind Jesus words when he says “Sleep and take your rest later on. See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.”

April 16, 2010

Closing the Door Just Because We Can

This is an internal memo to myself primarily and then to my reformed brothers and sisters by proxy. Since March 31, much discussion has gone on about John Piper’s invite to Rick Warren to speak at this year’s Desiring God National Conference.

Not surprisingly the reformed blogosphere quickly chimed in with some crucial thoughts on the situation. Two  bloggers I respect who provided thoughts on this development are Phil Johnson at Pyromaniacs and Tim Challies at Challies Dot Com. In truth, I think these two blogs probably did the best job from my perusal on the subject over the last two weeks.  And as far as I can tell, from a reformed perspective the consensus has been that this invitation was a bad move. Of these, I think Phil Johnson does the best job being fair to the situation.

However, I am not convinced. In truth, all things being equal I admit that I am still an undecided on how I feel about Warren as an invite (clearly a sin among bloggers, who it seems, at times,  are guilty of the idolatry of opinion-ing). I think that Phil and Tim both make some poignant points that are not easily dismissed and my point here is not to dismiss their points. Nor are we to lose sight of the fight over justification by faith alone which seems to be the backdrop of nearly every theological battle within protestant ranks from (at least) the 1970’s.

At this point, however, it seems to me that perhaps we reformers are becoming a bit eager in our tests of authenticity to whom we are willing to share the stage. For the reason of this very conversation I am glad that John Piper has invited Rick Warren because I think that we need to be diligent in our mode of operation as we decide these things as a culture and as individuals.  This may seem a strange twist of events for those who have a pulse on my thoughts of The Purpose Driven Life.

But if I can add anything of value to what has already been said in the blogosphere on the subject, it would be some words of caution. I come to these cautions based upon another contemporary development that I think mirrors in some respects, both the danger of Piper not inviting Rick Warren as well as some of the argumentation used against this invitation. Specifically I have in view the recent developments in the last few years of the heinous, slanderous, and unfoundational attacks by many self-appointed “leaders” in the Southern Baptist Convention who continue to intentionally misrepresent reformed theology to the national corporate SBC body despite multiple corrections and pleas for integrity in representing opposing viewpoints. From this viewpoint then perhaps my concerns will be heard as I hope for them to be received – not that we abandon our distinctions in this conversation, but that we would seek to uphold them with integrity. Our distinctions as a reformed culture are not just theological in nature, but they are also part of our graciousness in dealing with others. Perhaps the following points will help clarify what I am trying to say.

  1. The Law of Charity. This is my biggest concern. Where has our charity gone? When Calvinists are demonized by opposing viewpoints in the SBC with sweeping (unfounded) statements I am constantly crying out “Where is the proof for this?” Of course, in the end I surmise there is no proof. I fear we have fallen victim to a short-handed assumption that everyone knows the proofs of which we claim to be almost axiomatic about Rick Warren among the reformed camp.  For example, it is not enough to make a blanket statement that Rick Warren does not handle God’s Word correctly. Such a condemnation absolutely needs proof. If we claim someone’s handling of the Bible is more eisegesis rather than exegesis than the burden of proof is on us. Similarly, to call Rick Warren emerging or emergent is the sign of a loose tongue when he claims contrary unless we substantiate it with proof. To go about haphazardly tagging his name with these subtitles without documented evidence is not only careless, it is cruel and contrary to all we represent. Now, if there is evidence that he is emerging and his writings and sermons are saturated with abuses of Scripture than those of us who stand to accuse him should have no problem putting together the evidence necessary for the blog-sphere flock of Christ to consider.  I am actually very interested in what this evidence might be, but only if substantiated since Warren claims different. And we must honor his claim and direct our dialogue about him with that in mind. I can only imagine what he thinks as he has read (if he has) blogs on the subject where sweeping statements against him have been made with nothing to substantiate it. The law of charity must rule this day. Let us be above reproach as we consider one outside our camp.
  2. To listen to Piper and then read responses against his position and we should realize that one of the primary concerns is one of separation. The two extremes are what protestants think when we say “ecumenicalism”  or syncretism and at the other end is one of theological isolation. The opposite of what Piper is doing is the example I cited earlier concerning the SBC and Calvinism. The SBC has given us a clear example on how not to do things as we go forth into the future. But if talking at each other is not the answer, what is? A council? I hardly see the value in that other than fodder for Christian Media on some kind of moral Christian victory for “all sides.” Rather, it is at conferences such as Piper’s, where we go in as Bereans, testing all that is said in light of Scripture, taking what is of value and discarding the rest. But isn’t that what we should be doing anyway? Does not “iron sharpening iron” include a little friction. This is not an argument to allow a heretic into the camp, but what of “Of things essential – unity, non-essential – liberty and in all things – charity?” I’ll be coming back to this in a bit. The point is there is value in our gathering together in such a context with our siblings in Christ as these pave the way for heavenly dialogue and not political banter.
  3. Is Rick Warren a Heretic? There is a clear connection with the first two points with this one. If Warren is emergent than I would have no hesitation in saying “Well, of course, he is.” But again that has not been proven. Indeed the opposite seems to be the case. No one denies that Warren proclaims the Gospel…right? It seems that we take issue with when he decides to share the Gospel, but not that he doesn’t share it. (We’ll be coming back to this later too). But if he isn’t a heretic than why are we so eager to castigate him with tag lines? Umm, let me try to make my point like this – “If John Piper invited C.S. Lewis to speak at this last conference would you have opposed him speaking?” Please be honest. I didn’t see anyone protest his last conference when he announced he would be focusing on C.S. Lewis. Yet, Lewis speaks from the grave. And Piper admitted in that conference that admittedly Lewis has some really bad theology.  So, where were our protestations? To merely write off my parallels misses the point, which is this: We are victims of the issues of the day, being hypersensitive to them and thus over-reacting. My proof for this assertion would be that the reason we don’t have a problem with C.S. Lewis as a guest at a Piper Conference is because he is dead, thus making him safe. Now we can debate until we are “blue in the face” on whose writings and work will have a lasting effect on the kingdom of God, but when you consider Rick Warren’s accomplishments in the publishing and selling of his book, along with the aftermath there should be no doubt among us that Rick Warren has garnered as much attention in his life as C.S. Lewis did in his life for similar reasons – trying to further the kingdom of God through their writings to a larger audience that was not Christian. Lewis was an apologist and Warren is not, but again that just makes this point more poignant. Since he was an apologist, I hold C.S. Lewis to a higher standard of doctrinal integrity because of the precision required and yet we would differ with him on a multitude of points.  In the end I’m concerned that we have fallen into the habit of closing the door against other evangelicals just because we can. What I would call “lazy accusations” against Warren I think points to a possible trend that may begin to form if we don’t stop it now.  Can you see how for me this issue is so much bigger than Warren? This falls under “Essentials – unity, non-essentials – liberty and in all things – charity.”
  4. Reminds us of the value of Spiritual Gifts. I think that much of the protestations oriented toward Warren are concerned with when he does or does not share the Gospel. I admit that I openly question things such as having the Jonas Brothers at an Easter service performing and it does greatly concern me. No doubt, then, that much of the objections raised toward him on how and when he shares the Gospel is deserved. However, I have seen no evidence that shows he has abandoned the Gospel. Rather, just that he doesn’t share as often as we would like. We like to say “If I were in that position I would…” But the truth is we are not in that position. Nor are we equipped with his spiritual gifts. I think we would all agree that we would all like to share the gospel more than we do and that in fact all of us have passed on opportunities to share the Gospel only to learn from those mistakes in the future.  And we all can probably testify to the fact that we have been in situations where we felt the Holy Spirit restrain us from proclaiming the Gospel for reasons unbeknownst to us. While our experiences are largely private to individuals, his lessons from mistakes, as well as the leading of the Holy Spirit is public.  If he does present the Gospel, which he claims he does, then I think our criticism of him on this subject should be diligent, but cautious.  We may disagree with his reasoning, philosophy of ministry and many other things that impact when and how, but I have a hard time dismissing this issue when he still does present the Gospel. In fact, in consideration of Rick Warren’s most obvious spiritual gift – that of administration – it is not surprising that he needs some exhortation in this area. No doubt John Piper will be a good impact on him on such a topic since that is Piper’s gift (not that I’m arguing for only one gift per guy, just that these two gifts have the appearance of being their primary gifts, but more on that later). While I don’t know what Warren will say at the conference I seem to think that his gift will come shining through and we who are weak in administration would do well to give a discerning ear.
  5. Finally, I think this situation reminds us that anyone who tries to copy Warren or Piper’s “success” instead of relying on the Holy Spirit has gone wayward. Some of the protestation toward Warren is more against his model as we applaud Desiring God’s model. In many regards, I too am part of this camp, but there is a danger lurking here and that danger is conventional wisdom over and above the Holy Spirit leading us to make our decisions on how to do church. Now, the heart and theology behind Desiring God’s efforts have been God glorifying. But I have to wonder aloud if there haven’t been reformed churches who have modeled themselves after Bethlehem Baptist Church just because of the “success” they have seen John Piper have with it.  This is no more errant than those who model themselves after Saddleback in hopes of having the same results as Rick Warren. But the reality is, as far as I can tell, that both ministries have been wonderful works of God, where the Holy Spirit has decided due to His own pleasure to bless the ministries through the uber-ness of each pastor’s spiritual gift. In fact I can’t think of a pastor who more exemplifies the gift of administration than Rick Warren and I can’t think of a pastor who more exemplifies the gift of exhortation that John Piper.  So then I do not write off Warren’s model for his church, just like I do not write of Piper’s model for his church. What I do write off is either model for your church if the Holy Spirit has not compelled you in such a direction.

So much more could be said. I can think of twenty personal protestations against these very words I write, which should make it clear that I struggle with the topic. I do not think it easy nor do I think we should take it whimsically. I have chosen to make a more general plea for us in the reformed camp to back up and take a breath and consider the integrity of our protestations as presented. I do not question that heart intent behind our argumentation, but am fearful we are assuming too much as we lament this recent development. With that, I hope that this post is full of grace and charity to you, as I have argued we be to Rick Warren.

April 14, 2010

Yes, She’s More Beautiful Than You

I came across this stunning article here. Click here for more info on Covenant Eyes.

Yes, She’s More Beautiful Than You

Ashely Weis VideoI nuzzled my face into his chest, peered up at him, and said, “I just want to be the most beautiful woman in the world to you.”

Silence.

Immediately, I replayed memories. Like the day I found explicit links on the computer. And the night he confessed to viewing pornography at work while I waited for him at home—pregnant.

“Silence doesn’t make me feel any better,” I said, hoping he’d say something to reassure me.

“I don’t want to say something that’s not true.”

“So, there are women you think are more beautiful than me?” He didn’t answer, but I pried.

“There have been. Yes.”

I gulped and restrained tears. “What about them?” He named qualities. Attributes I already knew he found attractive, but hearing the words ripped my heart into a thousand pieces.

When I begged for a deeper understanding, he asked, “Would it help if I gave you an actual person?” He gave me a celebrity’s name. I thanked God it wasn’t someone we knew.

Then I asked a question I shouldn’t have asked, “So, if you stood her next to me, you would think she was more beautiful?”

“Yes, she’s more beautiful than you.”

Tears rained for an hour. I thought I’d never heal after such devastation. Beauty was stolen from me. My essence was torn apart. I never imagined feeling beautiful again, not after my dearest companion whispered the heart-wrenching words, ‘Yes, she’s more beautiful than you.’

Agonizing thoughts popped up every time my husband and I made love. Whenever we were in public, I feared seeing a woman with the qualities he named. And I cried every time I saw my reflection in a mirror.

I had to do something, but what?

Divorce was out of the question. I didn’t want to break my wedding vows. I didn’t want to run from problems. But I didn’t know how to heal. Sometimes just looking at my husband brought tears. I missed the way our relationship sparkled in the beginning. I wanted us back. But every time I looked into his eyes I felt unwanted and ugly.

My husband began to change. He battled lust and asked God to purify his heart. Even so, whenever he told me I was beautiful, I cringed.

People often reminded me that beauty isn’t reflected in a woman’s appearance—it’s all about her heart. But every time I saw another woman I’d compare myself. And whenever my husband looked at me I’d wonder if I was beautiful enough.

Surely, beauty had something to do with appearance; otherwise God wouldn’t have created women to be beautiful and men wouldn’t be so visually stimulated by their wives. But how could I feel beautiful in my own skin after my husband ranked me below other women? He said he had changed, and his actions proved that his heart was being purified more every day, but I still positioned myself below those women and felt unattractive.

After many agonizing nights of locking my husband out of the house and handing over my wedding rings, I woke up, looked in the mirror, and asked God to help me view myself through His eyes—not my own or my husband’s.

For the first time I saw beauty. But it wasn’t a familiar beauty.

Stripped of make-up and hair products, I saw beauty in my reflection. I saw a woman crafted by God. And He doesn’t make mistakes. Every flaw somehow vanished when I realized that my imperfections were beautiful to Him.

The same God that orchestrates beautiful sunsets created me! Looking at myself and believing I needed make-up, hair straighteners, and tan skin to create beauty was pretty much telling God, “Sorry, but you didn’t cut it. I need to add some things, take away some things, and then I’ll be beautiful.”

It’s not easy to feel this way every minute of the day. Satan seeks to destroy me. He throws arrows at my deepest wounds and worst insecurities. He wants me to feel like I need to prove myself. Like I need something else in order to be good enough. Whether it’s my body or personality, he is always trying to make me think I’m lacking something. God wants me to rest in who I am. Satan doesn’t. It’s like a tug of war for my heart. God builds me up and Satan schemes to bring me down. I don’t want to let him.

Yes, I still wonder if I’m good enough for my husband. I still battle the wow-I-wonder-if-he-likes-that-woman thoughts. But I have learned to view my beauty through God’s eyes. And in turn, I’m not so dependent upon anyone’s opinion other than God Himself.

I hope I will continue to realize the “I’m not good enough” feeling is a lie. There is no perfect woman. God created me to be me. Confidence is a beautiful thing, and I want that! Not stylish clothes, but the godly confidence God created me to have. I desire a smile that beams when the world is crashing down.

I am learning to love myself, appreciate the gifts and positive qualities God gave me, and thank Him for them. I am still learning and struggling, but most of all, still fighting and loving.

Truly, I feel as though my beauty has been resurrected since I looked at myself through God’s eyes, and stopped trying to attain the sex appeal advertised on billboards or advertisements. Although it’s still difficult not to desire that kind of sexiness, God has shown me a different side of beauty. A beauty that He finds attractive, because He created it.

I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to rid myself of the words my husband said. They still tumble through my thoughts and spin my heart. But I have learned to stop believing them. I’ve learned that I do not need affirmation from the world in order to know I am beautiful. Now, when I brush make-up on my face, I know it’s not necessary; it’s only a fun accessory. Real beauty is created by God, not me.

I can shout with full confidence, “I am beautiful,” because the King of Kings fashioned me. And no one can take that beauty away from me.

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ashley weisThis article is by Ashley Weis. Ashley is the author of Exposed (to be released in September 2010) and More than Desire: Hope for Women in the Shadows of Pornography (to be released Spring 2011). You can read more of Ashley’s work on her personal blog or MoreThanDesire.com.