If you’ve been following my blog for the past couple of weeks, you’ll remember that I recently confessed what God exposed as I took a good, honest look at myself in the mirror. It had to do with settling for a mindset that I was never intended to live with, and covering it up so that I could get by.
Well, last week I was running low on a few “beauty” products and needed to make a stop at a store that carried them. Unfortunately, this is one of the few stores that carry the two items I needed to buy. I say unfortunately because I hate this store. Okay, maybe it’s not the store I hate, but the way I always feel when I’m in the store: overwhelmed, assaulted, slimed.
I’ve never really spent much time trying to figure out why I feel that way. Instead, I’ve just made a habit of getting in and out as quickly as possible. But since I’ve been confronted with the lie I’ve been entertaining about myself, a lot more has come to the light. So last week when I stopped at the store, it was nearly a violent experience – spiritually speaking.
I made a mad dash for what I knew I needed, as usual. I knew exactly where the products were located (I don’t think they’ver ever rearranged them, thank God!), and I made sure I didn’t deviate from the plotted path. It’s a “beauty” product store, so one look to the right or the left can cost a ton of extra money and add another layer of cover-up to the heart.
I was successful in my endeavor and made it to the registers without getting sucked into anything more than I went in for. However, because I am freshly aware of God’s intention to heal me, I am also more aware of the voices which are trying to derail that healing. My discernment has increased as I have stepped into the light of His truth and love, so all that is working against me is clearly exposed. This might seem crazy or even scary for some people, but for me, it was liberating.
As I walked through that store last week, it suddenly became clear to me why I have always felt so yucky in there. With every step I took, I heard a lying voice, almost shouting in the spiritual realm, telling me how ugly I was and how much help and improvement I needed. As I passed by each kiosk of new products with perfected faces, there were whispers that aimed themselves at my psyche and magnified in intensity until they were like cords wrapped around my heart and my will. It was an onslaught that I have endured many times, but unknowingly. I’ve recognized demonic activity in many other settings, but this was the first time I was able to discern so clearly in this setting. Probably because I’ve been in agreement with it for so long!
By God’s grace, I recognized the demonic spirit at work: it was the spirit of vanity, and it’s wasn’t just aimed at me. When God heals us, we grow in authority over what we’ve been delivered from. The spirit which has oppressed me for so long wasn’t just out to entrap me but has all women in its lustful sights.
It is the spirit that creeps behind every ad aimed at covering up our imperfections and morphing us into creatures of “beauty”. It is the spirit which provokes women, young and old alike, to pose provocatively for selfies, hoping to appear desirable and relevant to the culture’s current definition of beauty. That definition, of course, is derived from a lie, which means it is rooted in the demonic realm and carried destruction as its aim, even while it boasts of “improvement” and perfection. It is the mark which moves a woman from true beauty to sensual beauty. And the tragic thing is that most of us don’t even know we are in agreement with it. It has become such a familiar spirit that we operate under its spell without even thinking twice.
I hope I’m not giving the impression that I think makeup or beauty products are evil. I don’t. In their rightful place, I think they can enhance our natural beauty with tasteful strokes. I think it is an admirable quality to want to look our best. We do, however, need to be on guard against what the enemy of our souls is seeking to pervert in our desires. He is subtle and manipulative in ways we are often blind to, and it breaks my heart to see a generation of women so marked by an enslaving spirit. Because I have fallen prey to it in my days, I understand how easily it happens and why we live so unaware.
As I am somewhat new to this journey, I don’t have all the answers. And I am not suggesting that we boycott makeup stores. Our enemy is not flesh and blood, nor product. What I am suggesting is a good, honest look in your mirror, and the willingness to let God speak to the issues of your heart. I am also suggesting that we practice living with greater discernment so that we don’t become such easy prey.
Hebrews 5:14 tells us this is not only possible but advisable:
“…solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.” (Solid food suggests that we aren’t sitting around, waiting for someone to teach us about what’s right and wrong, good and evil. Instead, we seek out the truth for ourselves. We reach for and study God’s Word, renewing our minds by it, and growing in maturity as we seek to live as He has created us to.)
And Proverbs 31:30 tells us why we should practice living with greater discernment:
“Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.”
Dear Woman of Breakthrough, please don’t settle for being marked by a lying spirit. Just because it’s normal in our culture doesn’t mean it’s normal in the Kingdom.
There are all kinds of reasons why our hearts get lured into desiring to be desirable, but the cover-up doesn’t fix that. Pursuing better products to mask our imperfections works temporarily, but as long as we are living in bondage to a lie, we will lack true satisfaction and peace…which means there will always be something more we need. That’s why the “beauty” industry is a billion-dollar one, because the lie of the spirit of vanity is “more.”
If you think about it, it’s the same with any and every other addiction out there. The things we reach for, the things that we become addicted to, the things we think we need, are all just bandaids that help to cover up some hurt, pain, or insecurity that we don’t know how to handle.
Beloved, God knows how to handle it.
The next time you have to shop for makeup or “beauty” products, I challenge you to pray first, inviting the Holy Spirit to be your personal shopping assistant. Allow Him to lead you away from the things that are keeping you in agreement with the lying spirit of vanity, and keeping you imprisoned to an image that isn’t in the likeness of God. Ask Him to redirect you toward those things that will reveal your true, God-given (not demonically inspired) beauty. My guess is that your bank account, as well as your confidence, will increase by great proportions! I know mine has!