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A Woman's Value: Vs. The Bible

Last night as I was making the best use of my time by casually scrolling through news stories on, I became discouraged, sad, scared, and angry. There was an article about sororities on college campuses and how a young lady must look if she wants to get into an elite one. There was Jennifer Lawrence posing nude with a boa constrictor wrapped around her. Megan Fox wore a dress that exposed her "sexy" legs. The one that upset me the most was a story on the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition cover photo. I wouldn't suggest searching for this photo, so let me just say it was of a supermodel in a bikini who appears to be pulling her bikini bottom down.
I am a counselor who does marriage counseling and individual counseling with men and women. I have seen up close how many women struggle with identity and value because of feeling that they do not measure up to some standard of physical beauty. And even still, last night it hit me! Women and girls are reminded daily what culture believes a woman that is valuable and esteemed is like. They are reminded by news stories, commercials, billboards, window pictures at the mall, etc. I simply want to remind you what the Bible teaches about value. What type of woman does God say ought to be esteemed?

 ... but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. — 1 Peter 3:4

Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. — Proverbs 31:30

... for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. — 1 Timothy 4:8
When I showed the Sports Illustrated cover photo to my wife and asked her what the first thing she felt was, she said, "Never gonna happen!" I have a feeling many women have that visceral response when seeing photos or advertisements like this one. The important thing is what thought comes next. I see that there are at least three options.

  1. "Never gonna happen, but I am going to try to get as close as possible. I need to do everything possible to look like that so I will be valued and loved." 
  2. "Never gonna happen, so I will never be valued or loved. And since I can't look like that, who cares how I live my life?"
  3. "Never gonna happen, but that is alright. I am loved by God, family, and friends. My value can not and will not be found in whether or not I can achieve some lofty standard of physical beauty. I will pursue being a woman that fears the Lord above all else. Godliness is of value in every way."

Sister in Christ, I do not know what it is like to be measured against a nearly impossible physical standard. All I know is that you are reminded all the time of how a respected and valuable woman looks according to broad cultural ideals. Your desires to be loved and valued are not the problem. Those are healthy and God-given desires. Please let this be a reminder that God and those who love Him see things differently. A woman who fears the Lord is greatly to be praised.
This is a reminder for men too. Men, what do we value? Let us be reminded that God and his men in the church ought to esteem women that fear the Lord. What misery it would be to work relentlessly to obtain a nearly impossible standard. And for the few who can attain it for a time, what misery it would be to realize that you have achieved what promised you fulfillment only to find that the promise was empty. Men, all around us are women who love and serve the Lord. They are prayer warriors and worship leaders. They serve the Lord by serving in the nursery, serving behind the scenes, loving children, and working at their jobs as unto the Lord. They lead Bible studies, serve the outcast and marginalized, and are involved with organizations fighting for justice. Let us value and esteem these women. If you are single man hoping to marry, pursue a woman like this.
Let us all remind ourselves of these Biblical truths as often as women are reminded of "never gonna happen."
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