Discover the truth about Christian body image that’ll transform how you think about yourself and the world around you.
You love Jesus with all your heart.
You want so badly to serve Him with every part of your life.
But you’re preoccupied with all things related to your body.
Maybe you aren’t giving God your all because you’re uncomfortable in your skin. Or, maybe you skip events for fear the foods that’ll be served will make you “fat.” Whatever it is, you find yourself putting time and energy (that you really need) into thinking about your physical shape and size.
You know this isn’t how you want to live, but what should you do?
The solution is to infiltrate your mind with God’s truth about Christian body image. When we understand how He views our bodies– and how He wants us to view them– we can move forward and be effective in His kingdom.
Christian Body Image Truth #1: Our Bodies Were Never Meant To Be The Focus
Our bodies are a blessing from God. Humans are the only creatures created in His image. This allows us to think, create, imagine, invent, and feel things deeply.
However, anything that is awesome and amazing can also be turned into an idol.
An idol is anything that we place before God in our lives. Humbling, isn’t it? Why is it so easy to put things before God?
I see women (including myself) putting their bodies before God.
And, that’s exactly what the enemy wants. He wants our eyes to be on the horizontal. He wants us to compare ourselves to someone else and even ourselves at a different time in our lives.
But, the Lord wants our focus to be vertical. He wants us to keep our eyes looking up at Him. All. The. Time.
When we lose sight of the fact that our bodies are a gift from God, we can allow them to become our number one focus.
Christian Body Image Truth #2: Our Bodies Are Vehicles
“Food is just fuel,” the nutrition expert says.
That sounds wonderful… not.
I’m not going to tell you that food is only for fuel. According to Scripture, God has blessed us with an abundance of tasty, wonderful things to eat. In fact, when Jesus takes His bride home, there’ll be a wedding feast!
But, your body is a type of vehicle.
Your physical structure was created to move you to do His will. And, this means using it and treating it in a way that’ll allow you to move for Him.
Let’s compare your body to a real-life automobile. We all have those people in our neighborhoods who spend all weekend with their cars, right?
They buff every little fingerprint and clean off even the tiniest specks of dirt. We can quickly assess that the car is probably a bit more important to its owner than it ideally should be.
And, you’ve probably seen someone who doesn’t take care of their car at all. It has dings and scratches on the doors. There is mud all over the headlights and the back bumper is duct-taped out of place.
In that case, we would say, the owner doesn’t care very much about their car.
Neither end of that spectrum glorifies God. Both need to find the right place on the priority list.
The same is true for our bodies.
We don’t want to spend so much time worrying about health and fitness that those thoughts totally take over our lives.
But we also don’t want to completely neglect the gift He has given us.
Look at your body as a vehicle– the way you get out into the world to serve Him. That can help you have a great perspective on where the balance lives.
Christian Body Image Truth #3: Our Bodies Are The Temple Of The Holy Spirit.
What does it mean to be the temple of the Holy Spirit? In the Old Testament, the people went to the temple to meet with God.
Your body is now the very place you can meet with God every day. This is why Paul instructed us to take care of our bodies as the temple of God.
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.1 Corinthians 6:19-20 ESV
But, unlike the ancient temple, we don’t need to spend inordinate amounts of time making sure everything is perfect, because bodies are external and not eternal.
It’s true, the heart is the most important. But we cannot just let our bodies go because we think they don’t matter at all.
So, we do pursue healthy spiritual hearts…and we let that place of wholeness flow over into better choices.
The key is to remember that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Regardless of what the scale, your bloodwork, or the glossy magazine at the checkout says.
Today is a fresh day. You can start to take care of yourself in little ways that glorify God. And you don’t have to let it take over your life.
Three Tips to Help Improve Your Christian Body Image
So, how can you line up your life with what the Bible says about body image?
Here are 3 practical tips to help:
1. Guard Your Heart and Mind.
We can’t even walk down the street or into a store without being bombarded with negative messages about our bodies. Since becoming the mom of a little girl, I have become finely attuned to the messages presented to women and girls.
It breaks my heart to think of the day my sweet girl will realize she doesn’t line up with the standard of perfection touted by the world around her (because NOBODY DOES).
And because we’re easily influenced, we need to guard our hearts and our minds from those negative messages.
This may mean limiting what you watch on TV, canceling magazine subscriptions, or unfollowing unhelpful social media accounts.
This may also mean putting some distance in between you and certain friends. If you have friends who are always talking about their weight and/or criticizing their bodies, it can wear off on you. And, you may walk away from those interactions feeling pretty cruddy about yourself. Not cool.
So, put a safeguard in place to protect your mind from the negativity. Don’t let your heart take on those lies as truths that you adopt as your own.
2. Proactively Affirm The Truth Of God.
When you’re bombarded by the lies of the enemy in your life, there are a few things to remember about body image and the Bible.
You’re altogether beautiful in His sight. (Song of Solomon 4:7)
He has engraved you on the palm of His hand. (Isaiah 49:16)
He knit you together in your mother’s womb. (Psalm 139:13)
If you’re having a hard time believing these words, it’s a sign that the world’s messaging has wiggled its roots into you, and there’s a battle going on between the flesh and the spirit.
But if you keep bringing in THE TRUTH, it will wash your mind clean from those negative thoughts.
The truth is that it’s a gentle and quiet spirit that the Lord values (1 Peter 3:4).
What is your greatest goal in life?
- To be a size 6?
- To have perfect hair?
- To be the hottest one in the room while making others feel like last week’s garbage?
OR is it to make others feel great about themselves and to encourage them in the Lord?
- To be the one who makes others feel amazing!
- To be the one who helps others feel loved, heard, and known.
- To be the one who makes others feel valuable to the Lord.
When we feel secure in our worth and value IN CHRIST, we can pass that love along to others. If that isn’t the meaning of Christian body image, I don’t know what is!
3. Serve One Another in Love.
In reading Galatians 5, we learn about how the law and striving to do things perfectly is oppositional to resting in God’s grace.
Out of everything we think we “should” be doing, Paul says the most important thing is to serve one another in love (Galatians 5:13), following the model Jesus set for us.
The world tells us that we should be drawn to a person because of their perfect looks. But that’s not why people came to Jesus (Isaiah 53:2). It was the love He had for others that made Him the most beautiful person on the earth.
The person who serves and loves is truly beautiful.
This is the woman others want to invite into their lives. And having this kind of spirit will give you more opportunities to minister to and help others.
Ultimately, your mind will be so focused on others, you won’t be thinking about yourself.
Transformation Takes T-I-M-E
I’ll admit, these are hard messages to swallow. They go against everything we naturally think and believe through the world’s eyes.
Although I’ve been walking in food freedom for a while, I still struggle with body image. When life gets crazy or chaotic, I’m tempted to fall into negative thoughts.
I may start to think about how I need to lose weight and I begin to criticize my body and say negative things to myself.
I have learned that God has allowed this as an indicator that something in my life is not right. A sort-of dashboard indicator light.
And, when I catch myself stuck in these negative thoughts, I know there is another problem somewhere that I am avoiding.
When I’m struggling with negative body image, maybe I’m…
- Not filling my heart and mind with the truths of God’s Word.
- Not guarding my heart and mind.
- Not focused on serving others in love.
When we recognize the true deficiencies, then we apply the proper solution.
This body image transformation won’t happen overnight. But you can take one purposeful step at a time:
- Refuse a negative thought. It’s ok if it’s just one!
- Practice gratitude for the blessing of the body (your vehicle) God gave you to get around in.
- Do something for someone else and get your mind off yourself.
You may still feel like you need to lose weight. But by doing those little things, your heart and mind will start to change.
And, ultimately, you’ll feel like a beautiful Jesus girl.
Brandice Lardner is a Certified Personal Trainer, Nutrition Coach, Author, Amazon #1 Best Selling Author, and Jesus Girl whose mission in life is to help women ditch the diet mentality and find peace with food and their bodies so that they are better equipped to do the great things God has called them to do.