Balancing Body Image and Faith: Understanding Our Worth in God

Show Notes

In this Faithful Friday episode, Johnny delves into the complexities of body image issues, often perceived as a predominantly female concern, but affecting men as well. Reflecting on his recent conversation with Eleanor Clark, Johnny explores the societal pressures of body positivity and the importance of grounding our self-worth in Biblical truth. Through scriptures such as Psalm 25:5 and 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, he emphasizes that while caring for our bodies is essential, our ultimate hope must be in God. Johnny also offers support for those struggling with body image issues, underscoring the importance of seeking help within a faith-based community.

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TIMESTAMPS:

00:00 Introduction – Recap of conversation with Eleanor Clark

01:00 Body Image Issues – Discussion on societal and gender perspectives

02:30 Positive Psychology – Caution against overly positive body image culture

04:00 Psalm 25:5 – Biblical grounding in truth

06:00 God’s Truth vs. My Truth – Importance of objective truth in body image

08:00 Hope in God – Setting hope in God, not in physical health

09:30 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 – Our bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit

11:00 Awe of God’s Creation – Reflecting on the wonder of being God’s temple

12:30 Honoring God with Our Bodies – Importance of sexual purity and self-care

14:00 Seeking Help – Encouragement to seek help and focus on honoring God

16:30 Consultation Services – Offering support through Faithfully Engaged

TRANSCRIPT:

Johnny Sanders (00:00)

Hello everyone and welcome back to another Faithful Friday here at Faithfully Engaged. I really hope that you had a chance to listen to the conversation I had with Eleanor Clark that aired this past Monday. If you didn’t, that’s okay. You can still stick around and there’ll be some great conversation here about a little bit about what we discussed then. But yeah, I would encourage you to listen to that episode as Eleanor just has so much wisdom in her own experience.

of her personal struggles and also her clinical work with individuals who struggle with eating disorders and body image issues, things of that nature. She’s also just kind of a brave soul who’s speaking out against some of the issues that the counseling field is experiencing, some of the gender ideology and things like that. She’s starting to become more public about that and we need all the voices we can on that to dissent. She’s the Dissenting Therapist, as she calls herself.

So I wanted to talk a little bit more in-depth, just about body image and gender. Body image is one of those things that typically we think of being more of an issue for women, for girls, more of a female issue. I say more because it’s not a hundred percent the case. There are certainly young men who struggle with body image issues. And a lot of times it can even be that much more difficult because it’s not…

socially acceptable to talk about those things. But certainly, women do tend to struggle more with body image types of issues and it is a legitimate issue for certain. Like Eleanor talked about in our conversation, we need to be realistic when it comes to body image, when it comes to our bodies. Sometimes even in a positive way, we can be overly positive. She talked about how

You know, we, we are, we should always love the way that we look or that we should always feel great. Sometimes whether it’s intention or not, that is a lot of what positive psychology kind of teaches and the culture tends to go on the, you know, you’re, you’re beautiful no matter what, like that whole body positivity, that, that whole train. and while on the surface, that seems nice, like, yay, let’s be happy about our bodies. we need to be careful. One.

Johnny Sanders (02:34)

if we’re not being healthy, then for like a better way of saying it, we shouldn’t always feel great. Like if I’m really not taking care of myself, maybe I’m not eating at all or I’m eating too much, or whatever it may be, not getting enough rest. God did give us emotions, even negative emotions to give us a little bit of a clue of, all right, like maybe this isn’t so good. Maybe I do need to make some changes and that alone is not a bad thing.

But also, when we’re just super positive about everything, we tend to just kind of fool ourselves into thinking that things are great. It’s kind of theatrical. It’s not authentic. And that doesn’t lead to lasting change. So let’s get a little bit in-depth into a couple of verses that I wanted to give us a little bit of Biblical grounds of how we can have a healthy body image and a biblical mindset. So the first.

The scripture we’re going to look at is Psalm 25:5, which reads, “guide me in your Truth and teach me, for you are God, my savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” Now I’ve really pointed this out because again, in the super positive, overly optimistic type of culture that we can be in, sometimes we get into

Like as long as you feel happy, I feel happy, my truth, your truth, that whole type of thing, we lose objective truth and that really spins things out of control. Some things are just inherently true, and some are inherently false things. And what’s really interesting here, and again, it’s part of why I picked this verse out, is Psalms 25:5 even uses the language of your truth. Again, we hear that as kind of a left-leaning type of cultural thing.

My truth, your truth, it’s all subjective or whatever. But the object of whose truth it is matters here. Guide me in your truth, whose truth? Not mine as an individual, not yours as the listener to God. Guide me in your truth, teach me for you are God. That’s whose truth matters. This is God’s world. This is God’s creation. We need to live life according to the truth He created.

Johnny Sanders (04:57)

We can even take that further into the New Testament of Jesus, that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. The truth matters. Truth is a big deal because, again, this is God’s creation, it’s God’s world, and even the little things in our lives, truth matters, and truth does show glory, wisdom, and honor to God. So, we need to realize that it’s not about my truth, not about your truth, it’s about

God’s truth, and we need to center that in all things, including our body image. He also, the Psalm also notes, that God is a savior, so that’s a big deal. We’re going to get a little bit more into why that’s such a big deal in the next passage of Scripture. I love how this verse ends, “My hope is in you all day long”. Where is your hope set up? Is it set in your body? Is it set off, I’m going to be the healthiest I can be? We can see this on a

Like somebody who exercises a whole lot and looks really healthy. That’s good. We want to try to be healthy. but where is your hope set? Here’s the thing. None of us are guaranteed beyond today. Right. The very second that you’re listening to this, that is the only guaranteed moment that you will have for the rest of your life. We do not know what the future holds. I don’t say that to being just pessimistic.

Mindset is just reality. We don’t we don’t have control over that. So somebody that’s going on the super healthy angle They’re working out every day. They’re eating their fruits and vegetables They got a shredded six -pack all that great stuff that could be a good thing and again that the next passage will look at why that could be a really God-honoring thing to do but is that where your hope is You could be the healthiest person alive and you might die in a car wreck today You’d be the healthiest person alive and get a heart attack

We don’t have those guarantees. Now, God did give us brains. He gave us wisdom. So somebody that is really taking care of their bodies, their body, they’re going to be much more likely to live a healthier life, a more productive life than somebody that was eating too much, 700 pounds, can’t move or whatever. We know that their life, their lifespan is probably going to be cut a little bit shorter than most people’s because…

Johnny Sanders (07:21)

They’re not really honoring their bodies the way that God intended. So it’s not to say that exercise and eating right is not a good thing. It is a good thing. But where is your hope? If your hope’s in your body, if your hope’s in your ability, in your job, it’s gonna fail you. If it’s in your wife, in your husband, if that’s where your hope lies, your complete hope, they will fail you. We are flawed human beings. This earth is flawed. This earth is sinful. Your hope has to be in God.

to have any lasting joy, any lasting life. So while your body matters, while the way you think about your body matters, your hope cannot be placed in that. Can’t emphasize that enough. There’s no psychology, no healthy eating habits, nothing that can solve that. Our hope has to be placed in God if we’re gonna have a healthy mindset towards our bodies. Now, let’s get into the next passage of scripture that,

Many of you have probably heard before, it’s 1 Corinthians 6, 19 through 20, and it reads, So, Psalm 25 -5 really laid some of this foundation of what I’m arguing that

We need to be based on truth and that this is God’s world. Our hope needs to be placed in God. This passage, first Corinthians 6:19 through 20 looks more specifically at the role our bodies play in the truth that’s involved in that and how awe-inspiring this is. Look, I’m guilty of this. I say awesome all the time for a good football game or something like that. That was an awesome game. But.

When we look at awesome, it really is a powerful word. It’s being awestruck. Like you just can’t imagine what you’re seeing. A recent example of this, and this pales in comparison to recent weather events that happened this year. There was the solar eclipse and the total eclipse that people saw the entire path of totality. I unfortunately wasn’t able to see it, but some people…

Johnny Sanders (09:42)

talked about just how that was just an incredible experience. You can’t replicate it. You can’t look at that on TV and have the same experience. Another one that I can’t ever regret that I wasn’t able to see, but the Northern Lights happened here fairly recently as I’m recording this, that they became visible very south in the country, far south as Oklahoma and a little bit deeper than that into Texas and parts of the south.

And parts of the country that people aren’t used to being able to see the northern lights like that. So people that saw that, many were awe-struck in like all these blues and reds and greens and all this is cool displays in the sky. They’re awe-struck in because that’s not something that they normally see. And for Christians, many saw the power of God in that, of how that’s God’s creation. I say all that to say that you should be awestruck in that your body, if you are a believer, is a temple of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is in you. Again, we need to think deeply about this. The Holy Spirit is not just some nice thing. It’s not just some, I don’t know, like emotional moment you have at church. Like it is the living God that resides inside of your heart. Like that’s a big deal.

You should be awe-struck about that. So it leads into where the passage speaks, you are not your own. This body that you have is not just yours. The Holy Spirit dwells there with you. Again, we need to take this seriously. This is a big deal that the living God is within us. If you’ve grown up in church, you probably have known this and you’re like, yeah, that’s nice, but…

Sometimes you need to sit back and reflect on how big of a deal that really is. So your body is not your own. You were bought at a price. What was that price? Jesus Christ, the son of the Living God, Living God himself died on the cross, not just for the murderer’s sins, not for the rapist’s sins, for my sins, for your sins, for anyone that he has called to be saved. Again, awe-inspiring.

Johnny Sanders (12:08)

should be a very humbling experience for you to sit there and think about that. This body is not just mine. It was bought at a price. It was bought with the blood of Christ. That is a really big deal. And then wraps up, therefore, honor God with your bodies. Now, we can look at a lot of 1 Corinthians and really just a lot of scripture in general, and honoring God with your bodies, a lot of that has to do…

sexually, are you sexually engaging with someone who is not your spouse, committing adultery, having sex out of wedlock, or whatever it may be? Goodness, there are all sorts of Scripture references to prostitutes throughout scripture. So honoring God with your body in a sexual manner is obviously a huge deal. There’s a lot of scripture about how sexual sin is just such a weighty thing.

But I would also argue that it also applies to our, to just our wellbeing. are, are you eating enough? if you, yourself are listening to this, maybe you’ve dealt with anorexia or bulimia or even more so. Eleanor and I talked about this, about guarantee you, if you’re not the one struggling with it, you probably know somebody or know of somebody that is struggling with it. It’s a very common issue in our culture. So I say this as a Christian believer that if you struggle with those things or you know someone who struggles with those things, I’m not saying, hey, snap your fingers, pray, get over it. I understand some issues are really hard in nature and then we can just beat ourselves up that much more and then it takes our eyes off of God and into how terrible, awful that we are. Instead,

Let’s focus on the fact that, yeah, you have had a lot of sin, you’ve done a lot of nasty things. That much is true. That goes for all of us. But the story doesn’t end there. You were bought at a price. Despite you deserving death, you deserve life, eternal life away from our Savior, His gracious gift of forgiveness, of salvation was bought for you. If you are a believer, it was bought for you. And what an incredible thing.

Johnny Sanders (14:32)

to keep in mind there. So again, don’t do this out of shame, out of guilt. Do it out of love to look at yourself. Am I taking care of my body? Am I honoring my body? Because it’s not just about me. It’s about God. It’s about Him living inside of me as I am a temple of God. And again, if you’re struggling with that, maybe that means you need to get some treatment. Maybe it’s not just simply a snap of your finger. Maybe it means that you talk with your pastor or your spouse.

get some residential treatment. I’m not saying this is just a quick easy answer but I do know that your mindset needs to be needs to be on honoring God here not in approving yourself not in a legalistic way but in that out point of love that God I want to not just honor my own body but to honor your body and to honor you. So I’m hope I’m hopeful that this discussion is

optimistic in a way that is truthful. That’s the thing. If we’re going to be positive, we want to be positive -centered in truth and biblical truth. Again, if you need some help, if you’re struggling, maybe are struggling with eating issues and want some help in the right direction, or maybe you’re sitting here and like, hey, I have a loved one and I don’t know how to talk to him. Maybe you’re sitting there like, hey, this is all great, but I’m checked out of church and I don’t really know what to do right now.

I offer these consultation services through Faithfully Engaged for this reason. My goal here is to help point you in the right direction and get you away from needing outside help so much, that you get centered in a good network of believers, in healthy relationships, things of that nature. I don’t want you reliant on me or some other counselor out there or whoever it may be. It’s one thing to use things for help.

I don’t want anybody to be dependent on somebody, but I do want to help point you in the right direction. Do you think I have, some unique talents and abilities to help connect people? I have connections throughout many different states and I’m able to help connect people in helpful ways. So if that’s you and, you would like some assistance with getting your life in order, feel free to reach out to me at faithfullyengaged.com. and inquire about my consultation services otherwise.

Johnny Sanders (16:58)

I hope you guys have a great weekend up ahead and I will catch you on the next episode on Monday.