Poor body image is a difficult issue to tackle. And it can be especially challenging for Christians. You may feel you shouldn’t be struggling with this problem. You might be ashamed of caring so much about the way you look or have guilt about the importance you have allowed this to have in your life.
Conversely, you may be a Christian who mistakenly believes that since you are representing God to the world, you must hide all your imperfections…even in the area of your physical appearance. This is a debilitating perspective and easily leads to body image problems.
The good news is that neither of these ideas is true according to Scripture, and there is far more freedom and peace to be found in God’s Word than in your tortured thoughts about your body image.
Christian Body Image Help
First, remember that God made you as you are and, most importantly, made you in His own image (Gen. 1:27)! That deserved an exclamation point – so you might want to go back and re-read that. Since God made you with such high standards, there is truly no reason you should feel ashamed of the body He has given you. In fact, I challenge you to actively fight against the temptation to think poorly of what God has done (Ps. 139:13). Certainly, there are things you can do to take good care of your body, but these actions cannot change who He fundamentally made you to be.
Second, understand that it is not the “beautiful things” by worldly standards that the Lord uses. He uses the things that are weak to display His strength. He uses the things that are foolish to display His wisdom. He uses the things that are broken to display His beauty (1 Cor. 1:26-28).
You see, your life AND your body are not really about the world noticing you. You were created to bring notice and praise and glory to God alone (Is. 43:7; Rom. 1:36; 1 Cor. 6:20).
“Love Yourself More” Doesn’t Help Christian Body Image
This might surprise you, but did you know that the Bible doesn’t teach you to love yourself more or make yourself more attractive to the world? That is the cry of the world, for sure, but not the truth of Scripture. What we learn in God’s Word is that we are already full of self-love (2 Tim. 3:1-4; Rom. 12:3; Eph. 5:29) and full of concern about the things of the world (Rom. 12:2; 1 Jn. 2:15).
As surprising as this sounds, it is actually self-love that causes us to have such concern over the way we look. And it is our love of the world that makes us so desperate to be approved of by others. These grieve God and He lovingly calls us to repent and be forgiven of these sins (1 Jn. 1:9). This is how we find true freedom and peace instead of the shackles of body shame.
Where Does Your Worth Come From?
Check this out: As those who have been adopted into the family of God, chosen, forgiven, redeemed, and blessed through Christ, we are now people with a new identity. And that identity is far more important than the labels you can achieve from the world or spectators. We are not how we measure up to others. We are not what we achieve. We are not the number on the scale.
The Apostle Paul states in Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” This means that when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we die to our old identity and are transformed into a new identity in Christ.
What a relief to know we are no longer defined by the world’s standards or the things of this world. We are now only defined by our relationship with Jesus and the promises of God. Now we are loved, accepted, and valued by God. We are His children, heirs to His kingdom, and co-heirs with Christ! What can the world offer that is more incredible than this?
Where Do You Go From Here?
With this new understanding of the value God has given to all people as well as the new identity in Christ you have received, challenge the body-centered thoughts that leave you feeling like you are of lesser value than someone else. If Christ has done all this for you, and you did nothing to earn it, does He see you as “less than” others? Certainly not!
I hope this helps to give you a clearer understanding of your identity in Christ. If you’d like to learn more, I encourage you to read through the Bible (I suggest starting with Ephesians) and explore what God has to say about who you are in Him now.
And of course, if you would like help in this area, apply HERE for your FREE Kickstarter Plan to get a jumpstart on your personal path to healing from body shame.