On Instagram I follow a lot of women who write Christian blogs, mom blogs, and books for women. They often sharing inspiring quotes and to be honest, it can be pretty uplifting.
Who doesn’t want to be told how awesome, special, and beautiful they are?
One of the most popular authors right now is Rachel Hollis whose best-selling books share many popular quotes like this:
While it is nice to hear these things, I couldn’t help but notice that much of what Rachel Hollis and other popular women’s authors write are actually in opposition to the message of the gospel.
Let’s take a look at the following popular sayings and compare them to what Jesus has to offer:
"You Are Beautiful"
"You Are Worthy"
"You Are Enough"
(For a more thorough review of Rachel Hollis’ bestselling book “Girl, Wash Your Face”, check out this review by Alisa Childers).
Everywhere I look- Instagram, Facebook, TV, magazines- I see beautiful women being idolized and ads for makeup, skin care products, and clothing that promise to make me look great.
Our culture puts beauty on a pedestal and basically worships it.
Messages from Christian women saying, “You are beautiful” encourage me to value beauty they same way our culture does.
To be honest, this is a shallow message. Beauty is subjective and fleeting.
My deepest need is not looking good and being attractive. It’s unconditional love and forgiveness!
Jesus offers more than telling me that I’m beautiful. He meets my deepest needs!
Being a forgiven and loved child of God gives me meaning beyond beauty.
I think Sally Lloyd Jones got it right when she wrote in the Jesus Storybook Bible, “They were lovely because He loved them.”
It’s Jesus and what He has done for me that is truly beautiful!
Instead of valuing how I look, I can find beauty and significance in my growing relationship with Jesus.
I see these messages often on the Instagram feeds of my Christian friends. They’ll say something like, “Remember this today. You are worthy.” or “Reminding myself that I am enough.”
These are dangerous statements.
The whole point of the gospel is that we are not worthy or enough.
Romans 3 is very clear about this point.
None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God.
All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one. -Romans 3:10
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. -Romans 3:23
Martin Luther said it so well in his Heidelberg Disputation, “The love of God does not find, but creates, that which is lovable.”
God didn’t choose to save us because we’re worth saving.
Jesus didn’t come to die because we deserve His love in any way.
We are not beautiful, lovely, enough, or worthy on our own. We have worth because Jesus loves us!
Perhaps some who share the message of our worthiness and sufficiency understand this and are trying to encourage women to find their significance in Jesus. But if that is the case, their messages need to include that our value comes from Christ.
It’s very easy to skip over the “bad news” of the gospel- that we are desperate sinners who have no hope on our own. But we can’t get to the “good news” of the gospel without it!
We need the whole gospel, and we need to remind ourselves of it daily.
I don’t know about you, but I am relieved that Jesus doesn’t expect me to be worthy or enough on my own.
The glory of the gospel is that I am insufficient, wanting, lacking in every way, and Jesus still loves me anyways!
A serious problem with statements like “You are beautiful” and “You are enough” is that they are entirely self-focused.
When we uphold these as paragons of Christian wisdom for women, it shows that our faith is really all about us.
“When the majority of messages for women are about our beauty and self-worth, we gradually get the idea that Jesus came to earth and died simply to help us like ourselves.” (Sharon Hodde Miller: Women Insecurity, And The Self-Help Gospel)
Surely Jesus didn’t die so we can like ourselves!
CS Lewis said, “True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.”
We don’t need to like ourselves, we just need to stop thinking about ourselves so much!
Telling myself that I am beautiful does nothing to help me grow in Christlikeness. It does cause me to focus on myself, which is the opposite of how Christ lived his life.
Telling myself I am worthy, or that I am enough is simply not true.
Jesus Christ died precisely because I am not enough on my own. I need Him to save me because I am not worthy in my own strength.
Instead of trying to feel secure in your own beauty and worth, dig in and discover the deep truths of God’s Word!
Here’s a true statement: God loves you.
I don't need superficial platitudes. I need the truth. And the most powerful truth of them all is that Jesus loves me.
Despite my failures and sin, he loves me just as I am.
It doesn’t matter if I am beautiful, I am loved by God.
I don’t have to be enough, I am loved by God.
I may not be worthy, but I am loved by God.
Alexandra is married to her high school sweetheart Tim and mama to MaryKate, Oliver, and Sunny. She earned her Bachelors in Music from Cornerstone University and enjoys teaching piano lessons and leading worship at Allendale Baptist Church. She is also a business owner providing social media management and marketing for local businesses. When she's not wrangling her active littles, she's probably drinking a latte or rearranging her living room. Again.