Body Image – What God Says and Thinks
Ephesians 1:5, 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, 1 Samuel 16:6-7
Last week we spoke about Samson and how he sometimes was defined by his temptation / weakness and how sometimes in our lives we act like Samson in that we try to act and do certain things that don’t line up with the identity God has already given us. The key verse last week was 2 Corinthians 5:17 “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”. That verse gives us a clear vision of God’s plan to transform us and give us HIS identity, ditching our old identity.
This week, we talked about body image and how that affects the way we think of ourselves.
1: You’re a vessel, for the spirit dwells in you.
Romans 8:11 says the same spirit that dwells in Christ dwells in our mortal bodies. We are carriers of God’s purposes, we are vehicles for his purposes. But our worth comes from what we contain, it is of high value to have Christ dwelling within. Christ is what gives our lives worth.
2: Avoid comparison. Create Your Personal Best.
We’re constantly comparing ourselves with people. We look at how good someone is doing and ask God why can’t I have what he/she has? There is a lot of competition even in the church today, and this is not something that is actually taught in the bible. Envy is evil. As soon as you compare or envy you are poisoning yourselves with a dangerous disease. This can distract us from the true source of happiness. Instead, create your personal best. Do what you do and do it with pride, do it for the Lord. God created you with traits that are specific to you, don’t look to your neighbor and try to be like them. Be you. You’re UNIQUE.
3: Love God. Love Your Neighbor.
Love God above all things, and love your neighbor—don’t look within yourself and fall in love with whats there. 2 Timothy 3:2 “For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred.” When we look at our bodies, we will always find imperfections, psychologist want to get us to love ourselves and express ourselves, etc. The bible actually tells us to look to Christ, who dwells within us. If you look at yourself, you will not find happiness. If you love God and love your neighbor, you will be too busy to look at yourself and become self-centered with your needs. You’re unique because God made you and he loves you. That will resolve your problem of comparison and your concept of self image.
4: Understand Beauty. (This is useful both for guys and for girls.)
Beauty comes from God, but philosophers have tried to define what beauty is. So they say “If I look at a parrot is it beautiful because it is beautiful or is it beautiful to me?” Is it objective or subjective? Neither! For example, is my husband handsome because he is handsome or is he handsome to me. Both are wrong. Because both change. We’re not the same people that we married. We also won’t look the same in 20 years. Therefore, both objective and subjective beauty is wrong. Because we need beauty that never changes and we need a beholder that never changes. Beauty is defined by inner unchanging beauty. Inner quality. That’s our worth to God. Media glorifies the external. That’s the problem. The inside is where our focus should be.
5: There is a difference between light shinning on things and light shinning through things.
Paganism deals with light shining on things, Christianity with light shining through things. We see something we think is beautiful because there is light shining on it and we worship what we consider to be beautiful. God is not interested in light shining on things but light shinning through things. If Christ is shinning through you, you are beautiful. You are handsome. Christ is your worth. He is the light shinning through you. Beauty is not the outward appearance or even the way people see you, but the way you’re shinning. If you’re shinning, you’re beautiful. You are a vessel.
Now, for those of you that are together with someone, you might be in love, once you get to heaven there won’t be any marriages.
CS Lewis argues that the actual thing that you love about your partner is Jesus. When you get to heaven, all you will want is Jesus, all you will look for is Jesus. Everything that you consider beautiful is going to be insignificant, your partner will disappear because there will be a glorious beauty, Jesus. So when you do fall in love, Fall in love with the Jesus inside of someone. Jesus in effect. This is why it is really important to partner with someone that shines Jesus, because you will be practicing what loving marriage you will see have in heaven as the church with Jesus.
6: What we think is determined by what we see.
Now we’ve rethought a few things let’s go to 1 Samuel 16:6-7 When they arrived, Samuel took one look at Eliab and thought, “Surely this is the Lord’s anointed!” But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
When Samuel saw Eliab he thought “this is the one” and because he saw the wrong thing he made the wrong judgement. What we think is determined by what we see. What we see is determined by what we look at. He looked at his age, his profession, his appearance, he looked at what the world looks at and thus he made the wrong choice. What we think is determined by what we see. What we see is determined by what we look at so if we look at the wrong things, we’re going to make the wrong judgement.
So God said stop, You’ve got to see different, you’ve got to see what I see. So change your perception, look at what God looks at “in a different light”. See with new eyes.
What we perceived is determined by what God says. Your identity is not based on what you see in yourself or what other people see but what God says. It’s what God says that liberates us. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 says “though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.”
God says I put more value on the internal than the external. I put more value on the eternal than the temporal. I put more value in the unseen rather than the seen.
7: Our broken bodies contain a great treasure.
2 Cor 4:7 “We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.”
A tea pot is called a tea pot because it contains tea. A cookie jar is called a cookie jar because it contains cookies. A temple of the Holy Spirit is called a temple of the HS because it contains the HS. We are defined by the internal, not the external. We are vessels, containers of Christ. The Bible describes your body like a vessel. The beauty of it is what it contains. Your body is like this “Broken”, but it is what it contains that is beautiful. Inside is the word of God, which lasts forever and forever.
Think about what you contain. I am gonna pray for everyone who wants to make sure that Jesus Christ is actually living inside of you. Your identity comes from what Christ has done in you. You are what you are because of who he is.
Concentrate on this. Jesus loves you. He has a plan and a purpose for your life. He has a bigger plan than you can imagine. The problem is that we have disconnected from God and his purpose through the things we’ve done wrong. We have to trust in what Jesus has already done. All those barriers have to be removed. He is the way to freedom. He leaves that choice in your hand. To reconnect.
What is your personal relationship with Jesus? You can ask him to come in and realize that your value is in Him. This is your opportunity to make that choice.
I am what I am by the grace of God. My body is not my problem and it is not my solution. I am a vehicle and a vessel but a vessel before a vehicle. I am unique. I am loved. I am awesome to God. I am not what I am because of my judgements or what I see or what others see. I am what I am by what God says. My identity is discovered by what is inside and not what is outside. I am a Christ Container and I am what I am by the grace of God.
Sources: Robert Fergusson