Coveting Day 4: Coveting Others’ Physical Traits
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:27, ESV)
It’s tempting to begin each of these posts by asking if you’ve ever coveted [fill in the blank], but each time I find myself answering yes, I wonder if it’s even worth asking. I’ll speak for myself and admit that too often I covet and easily become discontented and ungrateful for everything God has given me. As a female in my twenties, though, coveting others’ physical traits is one that hits closer to home than others. Though this is not only a female-specific struggle (the same can be true about men), I do know it’s something that every single girl I’ve known has struggled with to some degree.
With the massive influence of social media, where people constantly post pictures of themselves (their faces, bodies, features, etc.), it’s even harder to fight against this form of coveting. We are bombarded every day by images of what other people look like, and it doesn’t take long for comparison and insecurity to set in. And at the end of the day, comparison is just another form of wanting what someone else has—coveting.
Instead of allowing ourselves to become consumed with that, though, we can look to the Bible, which reminds us of some important things. First of all, each of us was made in the image of God, the Creator of the universe: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. … Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness’” (Genesis 1:1,26). When we step back and really consider that, it should cause us to worship, not compare.
Second, each one of us has been individually designed and handcrafted by God to look exactly the way we do. “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works, my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth” (Psalm 139:13-15). How can we justify comparing ourselves? God created each of us intentionally; we have to choose gratitude.
He made you to have the exact nose, smile, cheeks, arms, legs, fingers, and hair that you do, along with every single other feature. He also created each person whose physical traits you’ve coveted to have the exact features that they do. God created each one of us uniquely and beautifully; let’s thank Him for that. His love is displayed in how He created each one of us; we can’t allow self-centered bitterness to rob our hearts of the joy that is found in God-centered praise and thankfulness. Let’s praise Him for every person He’s created—even the ones we’re jealous of.
But most importantly, our worth really has nothing to do with what we look like. Christ died for us; that’s where our worth is found. “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). “For this is the way God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16, NET). “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us” (1 John 3:16, NIV).
What matters is that we know Jesus—that we love Him and love others. The Bible makes this very clear: “And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us” (1 John 3:23). “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us” (1 John 4:10-12). “Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling” (1 John 2:10). “Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised” (Proverbs 31:30).
The next time you or I start to covet the physical traits of another person, whether it’s their hair, smile, arms, or even their feet, let’s try to remember these truths. There is so much more to life than the way we look. There is so much joy to be found in thanking God for how He made you and everyone around you. Most of all, there is so much joy to be found in loving others like God loves you.