Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument
of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those
who have been brought from death to life; and offer every
part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness.
Full Disclosure: Things might get a bit uncomfortable today.
When it comes to the context of Romans 6:13, we have to at least consider that we have the ability to offer our body as a whole to sin to be used as an instrument of wickedness. That said, I'm going to make a a quick point and then land where I think we overlook an opportunity to let God really do a work in our hearts.
We can argue that we are able to present ourselves any way we want because we can not control the thoughts of others. And I agree with that statement for the most part. Where I disagree is the motive behind it.
If our intention is to make heads turn (male or female), we are absolutely using our physical design as an instrument of wickedness. And this has nothing to do with 'what' we choose to wear, and everything to do with why we are wearing it. If we put on a top to display our buff arms with the hopes of getting compliments and it leads to others feeling inferior or poorly about themselves, we have an issue. If we wear a dress with the hope of turning the heads of everyone in the room, we have an issue. We have to check our motives, because if we don't, we are going to lead ourselves down an incredibly destructive and dangerous path. Stay with me. I promise it will be worth it.
Let's say we have exerted extreme effort and cleaned ourselves up to be heading out for the day. We are in jeans that compliment our shape perfectly, a top that makes us look like we have a smaller waist because it broadens our shoulders a bit, our hair looks like we just stepped out of the salon, and our makeup looks like we just got out of the Lancome chair at a department store. We are certain others will respond accordingly. (Side note: I don't use Lancome, but I remember that was always my chair of choice when I worked at Lazarus. Thank you Jenna for all you did to make my makeup look amazing.) While out, NO ONE compliments us and NO HEADS turn.
Now let's say we have had a great day getting lots of things accomplished. We take a shower, get all dolled up, and our husband walks through the door exhausted from work. And as much as we thought we looked exceptionally good from a comparative standpoint, he barely notices, doesn't say a word, and falls asleep before his head hits the pillow.
Either situation, how do we feel?
Now, I am not about displacing blame by any stretch because, in both cases, our motives weren't exactly pure. But I do believe with evey fiber of my being this is a part of the curse from the fall in scenario number 2. (Remember? Your desire will be for your husband and he will rule over you?) But the truth is, if at any point, we are using our appearance to gain validation from anyone, we are offering our entire body to sin as an instrument of wickedness: self-originated sin that is a violation of God's best for us.
Please know, while I have been freed from the issue of scenario number 2, I have not been completely freed of it in scenario number 1. (It's significantly better, but it's not totally gone.) And as for the husband aspect of this, it lasted for 2 years of dating and almost 17 years of marriage. 19 years I sought validation from my better half more than I sought the truth of who God says I am and leaving it as a settled matter. 19 years is a really long time to live with a stronghold.
The details of what put me on the path of self-destruction aren't important. What matters most is that I bought into it and dove headlong into choices that only served to take me further and further from who God called me to be: his daughter, not an object. The journey started years before I met my husband, but falling in love didn't take me back to where I was intended to be. Honestly, all it did was magnify my insecurity and increase feelings of inadequacy and a desire for control.
Wherever we find ourselves on this issue, we have to know this is not what God intended for us spiritually or emotionally. Psalm 45:11 says Let the king be enthralled by your beauty, honor him, for he is your Lord. Did you notice what it doesn't say? It doesn't say the king is enthralled by our size 4 jeans, our flawless makeup, our six-pack abs, and our perfectly highlighted hair. I'm not against any of those things, if we have them or seek them for the right reasons. But if we are seeking them for validation, we might as well hand ourselves over to the enemy because he is about to have a field-day with our emotions and behaviors. And it will have an effect on EVERY RELATIONSHIP we have.
I realize this is a touchy subject and one we probably don't want to see ourselves reflected in at all. But if this is striking a nerve, or has perhaps produced a tear or two in your eyes, I can promise you there is hope. God can redeem the way we see ourselves. It just takes time, prayer, A LOT of Scripture, and an awareness and acknowledgement that a problem even exists. Don't do what I did and resist the truth. I knew for at least 7 years I had the problem before I confronted it, and 8 years to finally battle it out. But that doesn't include all the years I didn't see it.
My prayer is that we can get to a point where we want to reflect God so much, that our greatest desire is to have the light of Christ in us be what attracts others to us, not our wordly appearance. It won't be a battle we win easily, but we can win it together.
More Beautiful You by Jonny Diaz