3 Important Ways We Love God by Caring for Our Bodies

Contributing Writer
3 Important Ways We Love God by Caring for Our Bodies

Our culture has a strange relationship with our bodies. We see it both as dispensable – unconcerned if we hurt it for the sake of pleasure or enjoyment – but we also see it as sacred. It is something we worship, preserve, and define our value in many key ways. We glorify sculpted bodies, saying we should all work towards an ideal form. We live in shame at our inability to live up to a level of bodily perfection that covers our screens. The culture also simultaneously tells us that we should ignore the consequences of how we use our body. Eat what we want. Define ourselves as we see fit. Use our bodies in any capacity that brings us pleasure, no matter how it may harm us in the long run.

Needless to say, these mixed and damaging messages have left us ill equipped as souls living in bodies. We are unsure how to talk about, steward, or protect the skin we have been given.

Graciously, God’s Word helps shed some light that can show us how to cultivate a healthier relationship with our flesh and bones. Our bodies are vessels given to us by our Creator. They both serve us and, at other times, fail us, as we have been given a fragile form to take while on this earth. Thankfully, God can help us find peace in every season that we experience here in the land of the living.

The most important truth we can cling to as we navigate deeply confusing culture is that we are His – made in God’s image, with purpose. Our bodies are a part of His design – a gift that we have to steward. But our bodies are not created as an object of worship, but something for us to care for.

Here are some biblical truths that can help us love God with our bodies:

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1. The Bible Wants Us to Live at Peace with Our Bodies

Woman sitting on a curb and thinking

The shame narrative that is so common in our world when it comes to our bodies comes from the enemy of our souls. 2 Thessalonians 3:16 says, “Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.” God desires us to live at peace with ourselves and with the world around us. Continual negative self-talk steals our ability to be at peace. We have to learn how to be content and grateful for the bodies that God has given us.

This isn't an easy task. Due to sin in our world, our bodies are not always on our side. From the moment we take our first breath, we begin this journey of life, only to one day soon die. We are withering and fragile. Our minds don’t always match the bodies we’ve been given. We may be strong minded but feeble and weak. We may feel certain attractions that go against what the Bible permits for us to express in our bodies. Our bodies and minds often desire things that are not good for us, or we become addicted to feelings, foods, substances, and more than make living in our bodies hard.

We have to surrender our idea of what our bodies should do for us and find contentment with the body we have been given. When loving God with our bodies, it’s about glorifying him more than it is finding pleasure through our senses. Sometimes this means radically laying down our bodily desires and negative thoughts in order to honor a God that calls us to live in a holy manner.

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2. The Bible Tells Us We Are Created for Worship

man with arms wide in praise and worship mountainscape

1 Thessalonians 5:23 says, “Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Our bodies are connected to our souls, meaning what we do with our flesh has eternal spiritual effects. This is one of the reasons God uses his Word to articulate boundaries for us on how we use our bodies. In his love for us, he shows us how to use our bodies in a way that is good and brings honor to our Creator.

Our sin nature impedes our ability to trust ourselves when it comes to living a worship filled life.

Proverbs 14:12 warns, “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.”

Basically, we can’t trust ourselves because if we just follow our own whims without pausing to consider how they line up with God’s word or way, we can find ourselves stuck in dark places. God didn’t give us a Bible with instructions to prohibit us, but to help protect us. He knows that our hearts are filled with sin and we need help to keep ourselves out of the depths of evil that we see all across this Earth.

When we follow his word, which tells us that our bodies are to be cared for as a temple (1 Corinthians 6:19-20), are to be a vessel for worship (Romans 12:1), that we each have unique gifts that are to be used in the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12), and that our sexual desires are to be expressed in the confines of marriage (Hebrews 13:4) then we are best loving God with our bodies.

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3. The Bible Instructs Us to Rest and Care for Our Bodies

Woman relaxing in a hammock with a book

More is not always best. Life is best spent when we practice mindful moderation. Our culture is in constant motion and a lot of that motion is not necessarily as productive or God honoring as we’d like to admit. Interestingly, our bodies take care and stewardship. If we neglect to nourish ourselves well, move our bodies regularly, and rest, then we will quickly begin to suffer the consequences.

In the beginning (Genesis 2:1-3) God models for us a rhythm of work and rest that humanity, even before the fall, was to follow. Work is good, something that God made. But work is meant to be done in balance with rest.

The Bible tells us to not grow weary in doing good (Galatians 6:9). In order to stay energized in our pursuit of goodness, we have to be mindful of how we use our bodies. Burnout is due to weariness. If you are feeling burnt out, your body is telling you that you need to better care for the skin you’ve been given. Caring for yourself is not selfish, it’s a part of being ready and able to do the good work the Lord has called you to!

It’s time we begin to see our bodies as the gift they are – a tool given to us to worship God. Our bodies are not something to be overly glorified or obsessed over. We also need to care for our bodies so we are able to do God’s good work. More than anything we have to surrender the ways we use our bodies to the Lord and accept his instruction on how to best conduct ourselves in order to live holy lives. We were created to worship God and that is the ultimate purpose for the flesh you’ve been given.

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Amanda Idleman is a writer whose passion is to encourage others to live joyfully. She writes devotions for My Daily Bible Verse Devotional and Podcast, Crosswalk Couples Devotional, the Daily Devotional App, she has work published with Her View from Home, on the MOPS Blog, and is a regular contributor for Crosswalk.com. She has most recently published a devotional, Comfort: A 30 Day Devotional Exploring God's Heart of Love for Mommas. You can find out more about Amanda on her Facebook Page or follow her on Instagram.