Vanity Fair

Acts 24: 22-27

The account of the beautiful Drusilla actually breaks my heart. Do some digging and you actually find out how sad her life was. Bound by a generational curse, considering she came from a long line of truly evil people. Her uncle was the king who beheaded John the Baptist and her great-grandfather before that was the same king who murdered all the boys, two years old and under in an attempt to kill the baby Jesus, to name a few. Next we’re told that she possessed this indescribable beauty that made her known for it among nations, yet this same beauty earned the hatred, jealousy and persecution of her older sisters. Bernice in particular, whom if you read up on, will discover was in an incestuous relationship with their brother, the current king. Drusilla was married at 14, but by the age of 15 or so, was persuaded to leave her husband and live as the illegitimate wife to Felix. Turning her back on her Jewish heritage and every cultural belief she knew, partly as an escape from the cruelty of her sister. In my mind, it was an escape from other nameless cruelties.

I find myself wondering if she ever experienced real love? Doubtful. Born into a family consumed by privilege and power that has a history of perversion, selfishness, hatred and murder, completely lacking humility and mercy; how could any child born into such conditions experience real love? It didn’t exist. I imagine that any affection or attention she received, good or bad, was worldly and linked to her appearance.

3c336fd266ff11e180d51231380fcd7e_7-600x600If she were to live today, Drusilla would no doubt be gracing the cover of Vanity Fair. Perhaps we would read of her story in it’s pages, visualized by a two page photo spread attempting
to capture the essence of her beauty for the world to admire, covet and compare themselves to. Undoubtedly, making her the picture of perfection, sending the message to the population of vulnerable young women, this is what it is to be beautiful. However, behind the image of perfection, in the solitude of her mind, she’s just a desperate little girl seeking love to fill the emptiness. Never realizing, all her worldly attempts will be futile.

Actually, her 1st century story isn’t that different from that of countless celebrities’ stories today. I think it’s quite fair to compare the Roman elite to that of the greater part of A-list celebs, many who have been the face of Vanity Fair magazine. Drusilla’s account is that of following her feelings; in her mind what feels good is good, and is right, no matter what anyone else thinks. Even if it meant going against her culture and was morally compromising. And because of her beauty and status, her choices to seek what she felt would fulfill and satisfy her to escape the sad life that she was a prisoner to was accepted by the masses. Even applauded, maybe even deemed brave. She became a role model if you think about it. Sound familiar??? Maybe even remind you of a recent cover of Vanity Fair??? All this stems from a place of rejection of some sort, and self-hatred, for whatever the reason. It’s different for every person affected. Just because she was distinguished by beauty doesn’t mean she wasn’t rejected.

She had the opportunity to experience real love, His love, when she heard the Truth, but she rejected it. To change would’ve cost her everything she knew and was comfortable with. Because experiencing real love means letting go of everything in this world that defines us which we place our self-worth and value and exchange it for our identity in Christ, allowing Him to define us.

We have an enemy out there who wants us to stay slaves to our worldly identity. He will tell us its too risky and it still won’t make us happy or we’ll have nothing to show for it by following Jesus. Many believe it and therefore refuse Christ, and still continue to pursue their dreams, filtered through the world. It’s a pursuit that will never be satisfied.

~ ~ ~

Your Turn 

Is there a dark side to beauty?  It seems Drusilla lived it.  Has God redeemed you and given you self-worth and value that is deeper that skin deep?    Your redemption story can encourage someone today.    Come share your thoughts on our blog.  Leave a Reply ~ Heather     

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