Skip to main content

Self Image, Health, and Your Identity in Christ

Who Are We Really?
I got an email from a family friend the other day telling me of her struggles as a wife and mother to get and stay in shape. Her main question was, "How do we restore our bodies, regain that strength and health with a Godly focus on the way?" 

She is not alone in her struggle. Our culture floods our psyche with images of what a "healthy" body and "successful" person looks like. Walk through the grocery store check out line and the images on the men's and women's health magazines make you wonder what the other people in line are thinking about you. Men wrestle with health and body issues, too. Right guys?

So, is there anything we as Christ followers can do about this?

Here were four things I told her that may help you:
  1.  Make sure your identity is grounded in who you are in Christ Jesus. In Christ you are the adopted son/daughter of the King, and the demonstration of His love for you is his Son's sacrifice for you on the cross. (Romans 8:16, 17) No other identity reality should guide who you think you are. You are loved and do not need a certain body shape or image to be loved by God or His people.
  2. Your body is the "temple of the Holy Spirit,"and you are to honor God with your body. (1 Cor. 6:19, 20) When I realized that my body is the dwelling place of the Holy, then just as I would keep a room in my house clean for an important guest, so I would for the indwelling presence of God. This truth leads to my next suggestion:
  3. Eat and drink only natural things. Eat fruits, vegetables and lean meats--if you eat meat. You can get protein from birds and beans. Eat things that are part of God's good creation and drink things made from natural ingredients. If you can't pronounce it, don't eat it. If you can't make it, don't drink it. I have gotten rid of gluten, too--not in a radical way, but mostly breads, cookies and cakes. Eat when you are hungry. Stop eating when you are full.
  4. Be active, but don't kill yourself. Our ancestors who moved and worked all day would laugh at our gyms and machines we have for exercise. I use some of those, but situps and pushups and walking are still the foundation of health. Yes, I go extreme at times, and move more than most, but those spurts of activity are rare compared to my daily routine of walking, jogging, resting and just getting up and moving.
Christians have an opportunity in our image-driven culture to remind each other whose we are in Christ and to encourage each other as we live outside the Matrix of this world.

What are some ways you stay healthy and treat your body in a way to honor God?