“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” Genesis 3:7
Our problem with self-esteem began in the garden immediately following Adam and Eve’s decision to eat the fruit contrary to God’s instructions. Prior to this incident Genesis 2:25 tells us that “Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame”. However, as soon as they sinned they were overcome by their insecurities and dressed in fig leaves thinking they could hide their disgrace behind these leaves.
Today, we live in a world where image is pushed as being important. Not only is people’s physical appearance valued but so is worth to the world. It is suggested we must drive the correct car, live in the proper neighbourhood, have a prestigious job, have a trophy wife or husband, and possess all the entertainment toys necessary to show the world we are happy.
The pursuit of the world’s image destroys communities, families, and individuals. People struggle to be satisfied with what they have because they are made to feel they deserve more. As such, mental health, financial, and health problems are on the rise.
People try to face the world with a fig leave on in the hope of hiding their secrets. They try to hide that they are constantly angry, have an addiction, are jealous of other’s lifestyles, or maybe have a problem with pornography. They put on an image they think is protected by that fig leaf and play a game where they pretend to be someone else even knowing that their secrets may be destroying their families, their relationships with others, and their mental health.
God helped Adam and Eve with their fig leaf issue and clothed them, protecting them before sending them into the world (Genesis 3:21). He did not give us clothing as an adornment to feed our human vanity and frivolity. He dressed us out of love because he knew our vanities and insecurities would overtake us. He dressed us in protective clothing to remind us that He knows all about us and wants to be there for us. He gave us access to Jesus and the Holy Spirit, so we could talk with them about our fig leaf issues. And, God also gave us each other and reminded us that we should take our insecurities to one another, so we can defeat its negative hold on us. There is great healing value in speaking with someone else who can help you remove your fig leaf so the real you can face the world.
Adam did not spend time in the garden lifting rocks and logs so as to impress Eve with his muscular body and Eve did not think about enhancing her image with high heels, tight leggings or makeup. They were created to be content about who they were to themselves, to others and to God. God blessed us with individual personalities, characteristics, gifts and talents so that we can contribute to the world around us and be a blessing to others. Set aside your fig leaf and be whom God created you to be. “So be content with who you are, and don’t put on airs. God’s strong hand is on you; he’ll promote you at the right time. Live carefree before God; he is most careful with you” (1 Peter 5:6-11 Message translation)