God and Body Image!

We are a body image conscious culture. We are bombarded everyday with images and ideas highlighting the importance of a persons image.

According to Sir Wiki, “Body image refers to a person’s perception of the aesthetics and sexual attractiveness of his or her own body.” The phrase was first created by Austrian psychoanalyst Paul Schilder in his seminal work in 1935. Our personal experiences, personality and cultural forces all contribute to shaping the way we think about ourselves.

Body image has become a god to many westerners, due to the sexualization of our culture. We go to extreme lengths to look a certain way and act a certain way for our sense of significance and for the notice of others or both.

As I read the bible, I don’t see God having a problem with people looking after their bodies or wearing fashionable clothing but I do see a problem when we have made our own image more important to us than being made in the image of God himself and thus worshipping him.

Romans 1:22-25 perfectly describes the current state of our culture.

“Claiming to be wise, they become fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God, for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator.”

How much of your time is taken up with thinking, dreaming and working towards the ideal image of yourself? Have you exchanged worship of God’s glory for your own glory? How is this working for you? Are you joy-filled or discontent?

A person’s identity must be found in Christ and Christ alone. Genesis 1-2 outlines that every male and female on the planet has been made in the image of God. We have been created to worship God and steward what God gives to us, which includes our bodies, clothing, possessions and money.

Jesus made himself of no reputation but abandoned himself to the Father’s pleasure and will. What image are you trying to portray to others? Leave the pretenses behind and just pursue God. God is more than capable of helping you find your identity in him and not in the cultural forces around you.

Grace!

How Jesus responded to Fame!

Matthew 14:1 “At that time Herod the tetrarch about the fame of Jesus…” Matthew 12:15-16 “Jesus, aware of this, withdrew from there. And many followed him, and he healed them all and ordered them not to make him known.”

In my devotions this morning I came across these two passages of Scripture and was fascinated by the fact that while Jesus had obvious fame and notoriety in his generation (and still has today) because of his preaching and miracles, he went to great lengths to keep it all under wraps.

Throughout the gospels we read that Jesus was constantly asking his disciples or those to whom he was ministering to not to tell anyone about his ministry, and yet it seemed like Jesus ministry just kept getting bigger. He even had family members telling him to go to Jerusalem and do his works out in the open and not in obscure places, if he wanted to be known… How wrong they were about Jesus motives…

Even though Jesus had many people following his ministry and his name even being heard amongst the elite of the day (King Herod), I’m fascinated that he did all he could to keep a low profile, to enable him to go about the Father’s business in the times and seasons alloted to him.

Jesus lived his life on purpose and if twitter and Facebook had been around, I’m sure he would have avoided boasting of the last great miracle he performed (“Just opened another blind man’s eyes… I had to give him another round of prayer cause his eyesight was still blurry after the first one…” In 70 characters or less).

Jesus responded to the opportunities before him according to his mission from his Father. If being given a platform to more people would extend the mission of the Father, then Jesus would use it accordingly but I don’t read him seeking fame. In fact, he did the opposite, he avoided it.

How Jesus’ example challenges us today? I wish I could say, that all of my motives for social media and ministry have been pure but unfortunately, lurking deep within have been some very prideful and selfish agenda’s. I’ve since repented of them, however, Jesus’ example forces us to re-examine the goals we are aiming for in our lives and what we are seeking after as being worthy of our joy and contentment.

If God’s grace extends to you fame and notoriety, this much I know, it isn’t for you, cause you were never built to handle it. It could only be for the glory of Jesus and the extension of his mission on planet earth. If fame and notoriety doesn’t come your way, rejoice that your name is written down in the book of life and get on with the mission God’s put before you.

Grace!