Did you know the most popular cosmetic surgery performed in 2013 was for breast augmentation? Did you know nose jobs, eyelid lifts, liposuction, and facelifts rounded out the list of top 5 cosmetic surgeries in America last year?
Today it is not uncommon to see movies stars and public figures morph overnight with a whole new look, sometimes unrecognizable, because of cosmetic treatments or surgery. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) 2013 Plastic Surgery Statistics Report, Americans spent $12.6 billion on purely aesthetic and unnecessary cosmetic procedures. This is an increase of 15% when compared to 2012.
It is also important to note that women make up 91% of all cosmetic surgeries and 49% are 40-54 years old. Cosmetic surgery is clearly now part of mainstream culture, especially among women. What does this mean for Christian women today? How should they process and view this topic? What does God’s word have to say about how you look?
1. Do a Priority Check
1 Peter 3:3-4 – Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.
It’s no secret that our culture places an extreme value on how you look. The old adage “beauty is only skin deep” seems to be exactly where the world’s view of beauty begins and ends. Today’s media and photoshop models confirm this truth by putting a tremendous pressure on women to look a certain way that is both unrealistic and usually requiring surgery.
Men are equally to blame for adopting a “looks-based” value system that directly or indirectly overemphasizes a woman’s appearance. When your looks become your primary place of value and worth, you have departed from God’s priorities and are at risk of making sinful choices. This will usually lead to places of desperate insecurity and very narcissistic living.
On the other hand, God says beauty should be measured from the inside. Christians are transformed from the inside out by the Spirit of God, which means that inner beauty is ultimately the result of God working in your life. This is the true place of lasting value and beauty. Therefore, it is imperative for Christian women to keep their priorities in check and to find a healthy balance between inside and outside beauty. This can be accomplished by regularly answering the “why” questions.
Why do you want cosmetic surgery? What is motivating your decision? Are you overemphasizing external beauty? Have you lost sight of God’s definition of beauty? Are you adopting a worldly value system? Have you prayed about it, talked with other Christians about it? Answering the “why” question will help to keep your priorities in check.
2. Do a Contentment Check
Philippians 2:3 – “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.”
Christians are called to walk humbly with the Lord and to care for others, not to be self-promoting or compete against others. When it comes to appearance and how you look, there can be an extremely competitive process that takes place, especially among women. Not “measuring up” can lead to deep levels of discontentment that only cosmetic surgery can seem to solve. This is a very risky place to be and will only lead to more emotional and relational problems down the road.
Once again, you need to always probe your motives in order to uncover any hidden agendas that aren’t godly or will hinder your walk with Jesus. Why do you want cosmetic surgery? Will it keep you humble or make you more self-focused? Will it promote a care for others or feed into a competition with others? Will it draw you closer to the Lord or draw you closer to the world?
God wants you to find your contentment in Jesus and His love for you. Don’t let the world redefine you and dupe you into thinking you’re not good enough. 1 Timothy 6:6 – … godliness with contentment is great gain.
Cosmetic treatments and surgery can be a very tricky topic and it is my hope this blog has challenged your thinking and caused you to consider spiritual truths in light of living out your Faith in the Real World.
If you found this post helpful, consider sharing with others on the media links below.