"He who finds a wife finds a good thing."
Our inner beauty is more important and more lasting than any other kind of beauty. But that doesn’t mean that we are to pay no attention to our outer beauty.
Our body is a gift from God. It’s the temple of the Holy Spirit. The Bible says that we are to honor God with our bodies: Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies (1 Cor. 6:19-20, NIV).
Honor God with Your Bodies
What does this mean?
Hitting the gym with fellow CBN reporter Angela Zatopek
I think it means that Christians should be the healthiest, most in-shape people on the planet. We should set the example when it comes to having healthy bodies. Okay, even as I write this, I’m feeling a little convicted. I love chocolate and eat it almost every day—dark chocolate mostly. But, fortunately, I also enjoy eating healthy foods and working out, so that balances out my chocolate intake. But many Christians simply don’t understand the vital importance of taking care of their bodies.
First of all, our health is our greatest physical asset. We can’t put a price tag on our health—it’s priceless. If we’re going to do great exploits for God, then we need all our strength. And if we’re going to attract a mate who is in good shape, then should we not be in good shape as well? It’s only fair, right?
I had a girlfriend who was a bit overweight, but she was attracted to muscular, in-shape guys. I felt terrible for her because none of the guys she talked to me about ever asked her out on a date. My friend didn’t understand, but it’s pretty simple: Just as she was, those men were attracted to members of the opposite sex who took care of their bodies.
If you want a Superman, than you’d better do your best to look and act like Lois Lane: smart, sexy and confident. Men, including Christian men, are visual creatures. They’re attracted to beauty and femininity as well as to a woman’s inner qualities and strengths.
Yes, we’re all striving to be the Proverbs 31 woman, whom the Bible says is strong, virtuous, dignified, wise, godly and talented. But what almost always attracts a man first is the way we look and the way we carry ourselves. Are you confident when you walk into a room, or do you hold your head down as if you’re embarrassed that someone might see you? Do you make eye contact with the opposite sex or look away before there’s any chance of having a conversation?
What Are Men Looking For?
One Sunday after church, I was having coffee with my friend Hanisha at a local Starbucks. As we sipped our ice coffees under the umbrella at an outdoor table, we struck up a conversation with a couple of Christian guys who were sitting at the table next to us. In the name of “research,” I asked them to be honest and to tell me what attracted them to a woman—what first caught their eye about someone of the opposite sex.
Eric, a dark-haired, attractive 36-year-old single Christian man from Florida who had an M.B.A., told me, “It’s the smile and the eyes for me. A smile tells you so much about a woman; it really gives you a glimpse of her outlook on life. Also, I like a bubbly personality. If I’m going to spend the rest of my life with someone, I don’t want her to be a bump on a log. I’m also attracted to brunettes and to outdoorsy, athletic types—women I could see myself hiking or camping with.”
His friend Aaron, a 32-year-old attorney from Virginia, was more to the point: “Good face, good legs, intelligent and thoughtful. I like a woman who is aware and caring of other people. It’s a big turnoff, even if she’s beautiful, if she thinks she’s the only person alive.” Eric and Aaron confirmed that just as women are, men are looking for the whole package. Attractive, godly, humorous—someone with whom they can see themselves spending a lifetime. And ladies, let me assure you. You already have all the right equipment; you may simply need a little fine-tuning. And frankly, who doesn’t?
Let me ask you: Are you working out? Are you keeping your body healthy and toned?
Feeling strong on top of Old Rag Mountain in Virginia
As I said before, your health is your number one physical asset and is a gift from God; guard it jealously. Make time in your schedule to work out and to eat well. This is not vanity; it’s common sense, and it’s obedience to God’s command to honor our bodies. I love to exercise not only for the physical benefits but for the mental and emotional benefits as well.
As I’ve mentioned before, my favorite exercise is hiking! I love being out in nature as much as I love the fantastic cardio benefits of a 2 hour uphill climb! But since I can’t always get to the mountains, I head to the gym. I love how I feel after 20 minutes on the stair climber (my favorite machine at the gym). I try to use the stair climber three times a week and to walk for about 45 minutes on the other days. I also do push-ups, sit-ups and squats daily. The more fit I am, the more confident I feel when I’m standing at the anchor desk reading the news, conducting an interview or going on a date.
As actor Henry Cavill, the star of the movie Man of Steel, told me during an interview, he endured grueling workouts to prepare to play the role of Superman. He told Muscle & Fitness magazine there was a time in one of his workouts in which he had to push the limits of what he thought was physically possible for him. It was then that he had a breakthrough moment, and he actually felt as if he had earned the role and the right to play Superman. Well, you and I might not be vying for the role of Superman, but we are the leading ladies in the most important stories on earth: our own lives! And guess what? There are no dress rehearsals. We get one chance, baby! One chance to be our best, look our best and feel our best. Why not go for it? Do it for you! You are a prize to be won!
Dear heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of our bodies. Help us to take care of our bodies, to nurture them and to be kind to them.
Help us to remember that we are fearfully and wonderfully made and that You knit us together in our mothers’ wombs. Lord, we desire to be strong, healthy and beautiful for You. Give us wisdom. Help Your daughters, as You helped Queen Esther, to be ready for our “moment”—and may it be “for such a time as this” [Esther 4:14].
In Jesus’ name, amen.
From my new book, "You Are a Prize to be Won! Don't settle for less than God's best"
"See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!"
- 1 John 3:1, NIV
In today’s world, who should pay on a date can sometimes be confusing. Stop right there! Ladies, there should be no confusion. The man pays. Yes, there are exceptions, but in general, especially when you are first going out, the man pays.
A few years ago, I was asked out by a college professor whom I assumed had a good-paying job, although the jalopy he drove and his sloppy appearance said otherwise. But it had been an embarrassingly long time since my last date, and I was determined to give this guy a chance. On our first date, he took me to a classy steakhouse, where we both enjoyed top-of-the-line steaks surrounded by an elegant atmosphere.
On our second date, we had pizza, and on our third date, we were at a cute little fish shack by the beach when this guy suddenly brought up the bill. “I think we should split the check,” he said. “Excuse me?” I said, more than a bit shocked. He went on to tell me about a platonic girlfriend whom he went out with occasionally and how he and her always split the check.
“Well, are you dating her?” I asked.
“No,” he replied.
“Have you ever kissed her goodnight?” I asked.
I’m not sure where my words came from, but this is what I heard myself saying to him as I got up from my seat to go to the ladies’ room:
“I am worth the price of dinner and desert!”
Ladies, the look on his face was priceless! Not surprisingly, that was our last date. This man told me that I was extravagant and not a good steward of other people’s money, namely his. He actually made me cry (not in front of him, but later)! I was so upset at being called extravagant simply because I had expected him to treat me like a lady that the next day at work, I asked one of my male co-anchors at the time, Lee Webb, what he thought about the situation. Lee affirmed what I felt deep in my heart: “When I was pursuing my wife, Donna, no expense was too great. I always paid and was happy to do so, not just for the ordinary but the extraordinary,” he recalled. Lee also pointed out that God’s love toward us is extravagant, not stingy. He cited 1 John 3:1: “What great love the Father has lavished on us” (NIV).
I love the word “lavish.” It means “sumptuously rich and elaborate; to bestow something in generous or extravagant quantities upon; profuse, bounteous!”
Then Lee went on to say something that blew me away. Based on this Scripture, he said, “The pursuing man has the great opportunity to imitate God!” Wow. I was so blessed by Lee’s words.
A man has the privilege of being like God in his pursuit of a woman. Extravagant, lavish, generous, sumptuously rich! It still blows me away.
Listen to these great words from another male friend of mine:
Shane writes, If a guy is asking a girl out because he is attracted to her and has an interest in her long-term, paying for the date is an honor. It’s an honor that she is willing to spend an evening with him. It’s a small opportunity for him to make a good impression on her. Even in a situation where the woman is successful and the guy is not doing as well, paying for the date is a fundamental part of being a man. If he can’t afford to date, he probably will not be able to afford a wife or a family. And, just a little insight from my gender to yours: A man loves taking care of the woman he loves. He loves providing for her. It’s at the core of being a man. Maybe God set this system up so you girls would have a clue as to which guys have potential and which guys do not. I had a friend who had several daughters. When each of them turned 16, he took them out on their first date. Dad, of course, set a very high standard of etiquette. At the end of the night, he told each daughter, if you ever go out with a guy and he doesn’t treat you the way I treated you tonight, don’t go out with him again.
Another example: When my sister JeanAnne was dating her now husband Paul, not only did he always pay for dinner, but he bought her a brand-new car (while they were still dating) and later paid off her large student-loan debt soon after they were married! Now that’s what I call extravagant.
When a man pays for dinner and a movie, it is a nice gesture, and it is appreciated, but expecting a man to pay simply for dinner— that’s not extravagant, as the college professor tried to make me believe. Of course, if a guy flies you to Paris on his private jet and treats you to a romantic dinner on top of the Eiffel Tower, that’s a different story. That would fall under the definition of extravagant. But seriously, when my sister’s fiancé went the extra mile—buying her a car that she desperately needed and taking on her debt as his own—that’s what I call lavish. That’s what I call love.
It made me feel like a princess,” JeanAnne recalled. “And my prince had come to rescue me. He bought me a car because my handme- down car was so old, and the city is no place for an unreliable car. My safety was his number one concern, and that made me feel incredibly special, loved and secure. I knew he was showing me that he wanted to take care of me and proving that he wanted to be a good husband even before we walked down the aisle,” JeanAnne remembered.
“I had to kiss a lot of frogs before I met Paul, but I never gave up hope that one day God would send me my prince. Paul is more than I ever dreamed or imagined I would have in a husband,”she said.
Fortunately with God, there is no confusion when it comes to His extravagant love for us: That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God (Eph. 3:17-19).
I love the song, “Your Love is Extravagant,” by Christian music artists Casting Crowns. It reminds us of how intimate God’s love is and how he tries to capture our hearts. It also reminds us of how the love of Christ covers our sins and allows God to call us His friends.
That’s what I call extravagant.
Maybe it’s not like this for all women, but I know that for me, if a man pays, it makes me feel more like a woman. I feel valued, safe, taken care of. It makes a statement. I recall that after my first date with the jalopy-driving professor at the nice steak house, he mentioned how expensive it was. Ouch. That’s like saying, “I really didn’t want to buy you that nice dinner.”
And ladies, let’s be real. If he can’t afford to pay for your dinner, can he afford to buy you a ring? Can he afford a house for you both to live in? I’m not saying you should never pay for anything. When I am in a relationship, I like to occasionally buy breakfast or lunch or even cook for the guy—things my two sisters, who are now happily married, said they would never have done. But I feel that “official” date nights are his responsibility.
God wants you to know that you are worth the price of dinner and dessert—and so much more! You are worth someone being “extravagant,” even lavish, over. After all, you are a daughter of the Most High King, a royal treasure, a beautiful masterpiece, a pearl of great price. You are a lady, and a true gentleman will recognize your value and act accordingly. Don’t settle and don’t forget to order dessert.
Father, thank You for Your extravagant love that You lavish on Your children. Thank You for setting the example of how Your daughters should be treated. Help us to realize that if a man is not treating us the way You would treat us, than he is not “the one”! If he is cheap or stingy, he is not “the one”! Lord, thank You that we are worth not only the price of dinner and dessert but that You loved us so much that You gave your life for us! Help us never to underestimate our value—and always to remember that our true worth comes from the price You paid for us! In Jesus’ name, amen.