How Our Identity in God Shapes Our Perception of Beauty

Doug Bender

June 09, 2023 | 3 minute read

In a world obsessed with physical appearance, the pursuit of beauty can easily overwhelm one’s life. Watch one or two videos on the topic and the algorithms will quickly stuff your feed with as much as you can take on the topic. Let in a bit of self-doubt and comparison, and your confidence can quickly snowball downhill. But knowing who you are in God can anchor your sense of beauty and your identity as a person. 

Moving Beyond Superficial Standards

Unrealistic beauty standards are everywhere. Camera phones now come preloaded with filters. Social media apps offer myriads of easy options to smooth, adjust and hide your real physical self. It’s no longer just the professional influencers pushing unrealistic standards; your friends can do it now, too. It’s easier than ever to compare yourself to impossible standards. 

But simply saying, “Stop comparing yourself to others,” will never fix the real problem. Why? Because we are social creatures hardwired with the need to fit in. We all want to be able to look around and say, “It looks like I belong here.” There is nothing wrong with this desire. The bad thing is the particular standard we keep comparing ourselves to. We need a different and better standard. But this standard still can’t just be ourselves. We need someone else to tell us that we belong.

For followers of Jesus, there is already a standard available. We start with a few simple ideas: God is good. God designed you. And God loves you. Knowing that a good and loving God purposely created your body just as he intended gives you a starting point of acceptance. No matter how you compare with others, you match God’s intended design perfectly. You may not fit in everywhere here on earth, but you do fit in with God.

Accepting Differences

Part of what makes fitting in with the world’s beauty standards so tricky is the limited options of what is considered beautiful. Certain skin stones, bone structures and facial features can be considered beautiful, while others are not. These are things you can’t do anything about. They are not related to health or personal choices. Each person enters the world with a certain type of body. You can adjust it a bit, but most of your features are pre-set. And if those features happen to be considered beautiful, then great! But what if they are not on the list? 

That’s where, again, understanding who God is can help reset how you view yourself. Look around God’s creation. He made an incredibly diverse and vibrant world. There is an endless array of colors, shapes, sizes and cultures everywhere. And this is true not just among humans but everywhere. What makes a beautiful rock? Or a beautiful tree? Or a beautiful creature? The varieties are so bountiful that you are forced to see beauty in a thousand different shapes and forms. 

Recognizing that true beauty is not confined to a narrow definition allows you to value and respect the unique beauty found in every individual – including yourself – no matter what society determines. And those small adjustments that are in your hands to make, you can still do. You can adjust your hair, wear your desired clothes and make certain health choices. But when you start with God, you can start by assuming your baseline pre-set body type is beautiful. And that is a beautiful place to start!

Finding Contentment in Higher Things

Society’s standards tend to be both unrealistic and narrow, but they also tend to be short-sighted. The things of this world don’t last. The nice clothes you spend your money on will eventually wear out and go out of style. Your body will age. Your skin will loosen. Your hair will thin. And your body will stop doing the things you want it to do. 

If you’ve invested your life and self-worth into these things, you will be sorely disappointed in the long term. Even if you are beautiful in the eyes of the world today, tomorrow you can quickly lose it all. And then where will you be? 

God gives another standard of beauty. In the Bible, we are given a list of inner qualities that mark a person as someone who belongs with God. Living out and expressing these qualities demonstrates how we fit in with God and his people. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control all mark a person as beautiful in God’s eyes. He loves these traits and offers to work them into the hearts and minds of anyone who follows him. And these traits are forever, and they are traits of God himself and will last as long as he does.

Beauty standards may be impossible here in this world, but in God’s kingdom, they are achievable by all. You are beautiful just the way God made you. He made you different because he made everyone different. And that’s beautiful! 


Doug Bender

Doug Bender

Doug Bender is an I Am Second writer and small groups coach. He developed many of the small group tools found at and has coached churches, organizations, and individuals to use I Am Second groups to share the message of Jesus with their friends and family. He also works with I Am Second's parent organization, e3 Partners, as a church planter and pastor in countries such as Ethiopia, Colombia, and the US. Doug and his wife, Catherine, have four children: Bethany, Samuel, Isabella, and Jesse.

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