5 Lies We Believe About Our Bodies

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about the normalization of plastic surgery in our culture (as discussed in Time Magazine), and a few thoughts on how we are to think about it as Christians. But maybe a larger issue is that we often don’t see our bodies the same way that God does. We breathe in the air of a world that distorts truths about how our Maker has designed us to be – and we start to believe those lies. What if those lies were exposed? What if we told ourselves the truth more often, training our minds to think on what is good and right?  I found this post from The Gospel Coalition encouraging and helpful in beginning to shift our perspective. Here’s an excerpt:

Lie #1Your body is decorative. It should be used to attract the attention of men and the envy of women. What matters most is how it looks.
TruthYour body is useful. It should be used to accomplish the good works that God ordained for you to do. What matters most is what it does.

Lie #2Your body’s appearance is flawed but fixable. You are not the right size, shape, or color. But you can (and should) go to enormous effort and expense to change that.
TruthYour body’s appearance is designed by God. You are fearfully and wonderfully made, according to a plan. Because God is a God of infinite creativity, people come in many different sizes, shapes, and colors.

Lie #3Your body is a source of power. It can and should be trained, toned, and preserved from all signs of age. Its level of attractiveness or strength can and should be leveraged to give you dominance over and independence from others.
TruthYour body has a set of limits. It succumbs to hunger, fatigue, exposure, injury, illness, and age. Its fragility and fleeting vigor should point you toward submission to and dependence on a strong and eternal God.

Lie #4Your body is yours. You are its owner. You may neglect it, obsess over it, indulge it, punish it, pamper it, or alter it as you wish.
TruthYour body is not yours. You are its steward. Because you were bought with a price, all decisions about and behaviors toward your body must be run through a filter: “Does this glorify God in my body?”

Lie #5Transforming the outside will fix the inside. By making changes to your body, you can change the condition of your heart. You can have more self-confidence, better self-esteem, and greater happiness.
TruthTransforming the inside will make peace with the outside. A mind being progressively transformed by the gospel rejects the worship of self and the futile pursuit of happiness. By pursuing holiness, your attitude toward your body will change as you learn to love it as a good gift from God.

The amount of time that we could spend thinking about our bodies, our physical appearance, in a day can be staggering. The effect that it can have on our lives is also far-reaching: obsessive calorie counting, hours on the Stairmaster, depression, avoiding relationships or social gatherings because of how you might look, shame, being so consumed with our appearance that we fail to have time of spiritual disciplines, the list could go on. Believing lies, rather than truths, can have devastating effects.

But Jesus has saved us and is restoring our vision to see what is right and true and beautiful. He is reawakening an appreciation for seeing our bodies the way that God does. May God make right our desires, and may he to help us believe what is good without distortion.

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