February 9, 2023
In today’s world, body image is a subject that is discussed often. We are bombarded with images of what society deems as the “ideal” body type, which can be damaging for many people. Many of us have struggled with accepting our uniqueness and the ups and downs our bodies naturally go through. In fact, Research has shown that around 50% of young 13-year-old American girls reported being unhappy with their bodies. This number grew to nearly 80% by the time girls reached 17. Although many women have what some would call the “perfect” body, they still have body insecurities. Thankfully, the Bible has a lot to say about body image and how we can view ourselves differently.
The Bible emphasizes we are created in the image of God. This is a fact that should be celebrated. We are reminded in Genesis 1:27 that “God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” This verse is important because it reminds us that God created us with love and purpose. Humanity was the pinnacle of creation.
So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Genesis 1:27
When we tear ourselves down, we are essentially tearing down God’s masterpiece. When you say to yourself, “I’m ugly.” You are effectively saying, “God’s ugly.” Or, at the very least, his creation is ugly. I am confident He would disagree.
The Bible also reminds us to honor God with our bodies. It’s hard to believe, but the Holy Spirit chooses to reside within us. Therefore, we should make every effort to care for and nurture our bodies well. This doesn’t mean we should strive for perfection but instead be content and work with the bodies that God has given us. We should use our bodies to glorify God and serve others.
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NIV
God-honoring habits for your body.
The Bible also tells us not to be consumed by our physical appearance. In 1 Samuel 16:7, we are reminded that “The Lord does not look at the things people look at.” We should not be so focused on our physical appearance because that is not what God cares about. However, God is deeply concerned about our hearts. Out of our heart, the mouth speaks. (Matthew 12:34) If we condemn ourselves or speak body-shaming words over our lives, it indicates our heart is sick.
God wants to heal our hearts. Instead of looking in the mirror and worrying about gray hair, wrinkles, acne, flaws, etc., pray and ask the Lord to reveal what he sees in you instead. I promise God’s love for you is beyond what humanity offers. It isn’t contingent on being beautiful, powerful, or influential. His love is given freely to those humble enough to surrender their opinions, plans, and purposes for HIS.
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7 NIV
What the bible says about body image should affect how we see ourselves. We are reminded that we are created in the image of God and should be content with our bodies. We should not be so focused on our physical appearance but rather focused on surrendering our whole selves to His plans and purposes. Learning to have a positive body image is a process. Learning to speak kind words and see what God sees in us takes time, but it is well worth it. I have my own “Body Shame Story” that you can read. It took me years to overcome the insecurity I felt, but once I did, I no longer needed the approval of others to confidently follow Christ.
If I could do it. So can you.
For more free body image resources, check out my free series, “5 Quick Habits to Build Body Confidence.”
Excellent article Jess! Very appropriate scripture references.
Thank you. Mostly for reading the article but also for your encouraging words.