Updated: Jan 3, 2020
My senior year of high school, I was nominated “Best Dressed” by my class mock elections.
In kindergarten, I remember contending with my mom to dress myself and create my own outfits because I had a strong opinion that her choices were not ‘cute enough.’ I was aware of my personal image at a very young age. Around the age of seven I wanted to learn how to French braid. My mom did not know how to; therefore, I practiced on my American Girl Doll until I mastered the art. At the age of eleven, I shocked my mom by experimenting with makeup. My ‘wake up and makeup’ was frosted blue eye shadow (which by the way, was NOT evenly blended by the Morphe E27 Pro Round Blender Brush like all these Gen Z’ers are using) and sticky, clear lip gloss.
I would spend hours looking through Vogue magazines, cutting out my fashion inspirations and taping them to my bedroom walls. Growing up, I had dial up internet, which gave me access to all the famous fashion designers’ websites where I would download thousands of images and dream of one day owning their items.
I thought that owning a Louis Vuitton purse would make me important. That dressing in Juicy Couture or wearing Chanel makeup would give me a sense of identity and prestige. I began to steal money from my mom’s wallet so that I could save up hundreds of dollars to purchase these items. I was jealous of friends that had name brand clothes, makeup, or shoes. I found my identity in these materialistic items and since I did not have them, I stole from friends who did. Maybe, you’ve done the same.
When I was in middle school, the coveting escaladed to stealing from department stores. One time I was stealing some jewelry and I realized that the employees were on to me. With them hot on my tail, I ran out of the store in fear, throwing the jewelry into the parking lot. Empty handed and empty hearted by the debt of guilt and shame for what I had chosen to do, I watched what I had coveted become dirtied and destroyed as it was scattered through the parking lot.
This coveting, fear crippling, shame infesting DNA was passed down to me from my earliest ancestor, Eve. Adam and Eve were the CEO’s of the very first clothing and accessory line. And it too, was birthed from an identity crisis resulting in fear, guilt, and shame infesting all of creation.
Surprisingly, God originally created Adam and Eve without clothing.
Genesis 2:25 says, “Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.” They both lived freely, harmoniously and in intimate fellowship with God. At this point, there was no perversion, sin or death in the earth.
The first three words God spoke to humanity were, “You are free.”
Genesis 2:16 and 17 records the rest of God’s first words, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”
In order for Adam and Eve to maintain their intimate fellowship, freedom and harmony with God, they were commanded to NOT eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
That would be like a parent who feeds their child healthy, full course meals, three times a day, saying, “Honey, you are free to eat all the food in the refrigerator, cupboards and pantry but you must not eat the rat poison that is at the bottom of the pantry, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”
But as we know, Adam and Eve decided to oppose God’s loving and protective command by partaking of the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Genesis 3:6, “When the women saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate it.”
The word ‘saw’ in Hebrew means that Eve stared at, examined, considered, and CHOSE sin.
The word ‘pleasing’ in Hebrew means lust.
The word ‘desirable’ means to covet.
So, we could rephrase Genesis 3:6 by saying, “Eve considered what the devil said, stared at the tree of knowledge of good and evil and walked up to it to examine it. She lusted after its fruit and coveted it as her own even though God said it would bring her death. She disesteemed her relationship with God, devalued the other trees in the garden that God provided freely for her, and embraced the lie of the enemy that she would prosper and succeed by partaking of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”
Adam disrespected God by partaking of the fruit as well and Genesis 3:7 launches the first clothing line, “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so, they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.”
In Hebrew, the word ‘opened’ means muster and expenses.
Muster means to assemble for inspection and their loving, loyal, and faithful Father God, called out to them to assemble in Genesis 3:8 and 9, “Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day and they hid from the Lord God among the frees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”
Intimacy was broken by sin. Death now infested the earth covering Adam and Eve in guilt, shame, and fear. Adam answered God’s mustering in Genesis 3:10, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so, I hid.”
Their choice to lust, commit adultery and sin came with a high expense; their very own lives.
Hypothetically, they sold their purity, holiness, and love for poison that was supposed to be for the rats.
But, when God inspects Adam and Eve, neither of them take ownership of their choice to sin. Adam blames Eve in Genesis 3:12 and Eve blames Satan in Genesis 3:13. At least they didn’t blame God like many, reading this, have.
In their shame, they played the blame game. Not only did they play the game, but they taught their children the rules to this deadly game and it’s been passed down from generation to generation. I was the master at playing this game. For years, I attempted to cover my sinful choices by hiding behind a victim card. My motive for throwing the victim card was to justify my sinful behavior and receive pity from others; to dismiss any responsibility I had to change my own sinful thoughts, words, and actions.
Commonly played victim cards are:
1. I don’t trust people because I’ve been hurt so many times
2. I hate men because they are liars
3. I am addicted to porn because I was molested when I was a child
4. I am obese because my parents fed me fast food
5. I could never forgive them because of what they have done to me
6. I have no rights because of the color of my skin
7. I’ll have cancer because my mom, grandma and great grandma had cancer
8. I can’t work because I have a disability
And the list goes on and on.
Some of you reading have chosen to be offended right now, but before you exit out of this blog and bash Beauty for Ashes on social media, hear me out.
The above statements may be factual, but they are not the truth.
The Bible says that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life in John 14:6. Therefore, we need to believe the Word of God as truth and apply it to our identity. Proverbs 9:10, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”
If you want to obtain wisdom and know the truth, you need to reverence God’s words.
What card would Jesus play in opposition to the above ‘victim cards?’
I call them VICTORY CARDS:
1. Proverbs 3:5 and 6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
2. Matthew 5:22, “But I’m telling you, if you hold anger in your heart toward a fellow believer, you are subject to judgment. And whoever demeans and insults a fellow believer is answerable to the congregation. And whoever calls down curses upon a fellow believer is in danger of being sent to a fiery hell.”
3. Hebrews 4:15 and 16, “He understands humanity, for as a Man, our magnificent King-Priest was tempted in every way just as we are, and conquered sin. So now we come freely and boldly to where love is enthroned, to receive mercy’s kiss and discover the grace we urgently need to strengthen us in our time of weakness.”
4. 1 Corinthians 10:13, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation, he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”
5. Matthew 5:14 and 15, “And when you pray, make sure you forgive the faults of others so that your Father in heaven will also forgive you. But if you withhold forgiveness from others, your Father withholds forgiveness from you.”
6. Genesis 1:26, “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”
You do realize that Jesus wasn’t white, right? Thank God He didn’t throw out this victim card or embrace His race as His identity. He embraced His identity as Son of God; You can too, son or daughter of God, who's reading. And I must say, Jesus had the GREATEST accomplishment known to mankind, reconciling sinful and death infested mankind to their holy and righteous Creator God. Therefore, since you’re made in His image and His likeness, greatness is your destiny also, no matter what color your skin is!
7. 1 Peter 2:24, “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”
8. Proverbs 10:4, “Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth.”
Jesus wins with His victory cards; therefore, I fold from this blame game. I would implore you to do the same! Give your victim cards to Jesus so He can give you His winning card of victory today!
2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
Jesus was inspected by God as Holy, Perfect and Sinless and because of that, He placed the punishment and judgement of mankind’s sins upon Him so that His blood would pay for the indebted expense that mankind could NEVER repay because of their continual sinning.
Therefore, by accepting Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior today, you will be exchanging your fig leaf fashion for a robe of righteousness. You will be upgrading from a worthless and valueless identity that was infested with shame, guilt and fear, to a valuable, cherished and honorable identity as a son or daughter of God that is forgiven, cleansed, and adorned in a garment of righteousness (right standing with God, just as if you’d never sinned).
Isaiah 61:10, “I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For He has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of His righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.”
Repeat this prayer out loud:
“Heavenly Father, I believe in my heart, Jesus Christ is your Son. I believe Jesus died for my sins. God, I’m sorry for all my sins and I ask you to forgive me. I believe that you raised Jesus from the dead and I say with my mouth Jesus is my Lord and Savior. Now I am saved, I have chosen life and I am Heaven bound. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.”
If you have said this prayer out loud and meant it in your heart, I want to hear from you! Subscribe to receive prayer, content and future blogs on Beauty For Ashes HOME page. In the comments write me about your decision to accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior today.