By Hannah Brzozowski
We all have at least one thing in common - we wake up, go to the bathroom, and look in the mirror. It's not a habit we were forced to start but it's one all of us have. For me, some days are better than others.
Some days, I wake up with a big zit on my face. Other days I wake up, step on the scale, and notice that I've gained some weight. Others, I think my hair is too thin. Whatever it is I think to myself when I look in the mirror - it's typically negative.
Well, maybe it's time to change our mindset in the morning.
Let's talk about what God, the Creator of both you and me, thinks about how we look.
#1. We were created in God's image.
Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” Genesis 1:26
We were the grand finale.
Let’s start with the very first thing God said about us: “Let us make mankind in our image.” He didn’t say this phrase about any other creature that walks the earth, only people.
On top that, he waited to create us last - we were the grand finale. That should tell you how he feels about how we look. Think about it for a second with me: he made sunsets, beautiful mountains, the starry night sky, the magnificent lions, the lovely lilies, and then he decided to create us! And not only that, he made us in his image.
#2. Don't try to please people with your appearance - that's not what you were created for.
Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. Galatians 1:10
Now, at face value, this verse might not look like it's about body image but stay with me for a moment. Why do we keep up with the latest fashion trends? Why do we get so upset if we gain a couple of pounds right before the summer? Why do we get embarrassed by that zit on our chin? It's because we deeply care about what other's think of us.
This verse is easier said than done. Before you think a negative thought because of what someone told you in middle school, think: what does God think of me in this moment?
#3. Your body is a temple.
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Right before these famous verses, Paul is talking about how we are able to do anything because of what Jesus did on the cross for us but it doesn’t necessarily make it beneficial to us.
What does this mean? It means that we can eat 20 Twinkies today but it might not make us feel that great. It means that we can sleep with whoever but it very well could bring heartache to our marriage our future marriage. We can sit on the couch for 10 hours and watch Netflix but it will affect our health and might make us lazy in the long run.
It means we can sit on the couch for 10 hours and watch Netflix but it will affect our health and might make us lazy in the long run.
All that to say, in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, Paul is telling us that we should treat our bodies as if they were temples for God because they are. Maybe a good way to look at it is: whatever you’re doing to your body today, would you do that in a church?
#4. God looks at your heart.
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
Samuel is looking for the next king of Israel in 1 Samuel 16 and God is warning him not to look at the outside but instead to look at the inside. The current king was the pinnacle of a "manly man" and the next king was going to be a bit different.
Remember that God cares a lot more about what's going on inside than on the outside. So often, we can judge others based on what they're wearing. Next time you're thinking something negative about someone's appearance, stop and think, what would God think of this person? What would God think of their heart?
#5. You are fearfully and wonderfully made.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:14
If you stop right now and read all of chapter 139, you’ll see David (the same guy that Samuel was confused about anointing as King above) writing all about how well God knows him - the hairs on his head, when he sits and stands, the moments before he was born, and the contents of his heart. God knows everything about David and still says that he is fearfully and wonderfully made.
Do me a favor: If you have children or nieces or nephews, think about them right now. What if they came up to you and said “I’m ugly and fat.” I’m betting (and hoping!) that you would correct them right then and there. You’d probably say something like “You are beautiful just the way you are!” That’s what I think God is doing in this verse. It’s a reminder to all of us that God made us fearfully and wonderfully. Going back to Genesis, remember, God made the beautiful sunset and he, then after that, created you.
“You are beautiful just the way you are!”
#6. A Gentle and Quiet Spirit is Better than Outward Beauty
Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious.
1 Peter 3:3-4
Fun fact: This verse was once used against me.
Fun fact: This verse was once used against me. When I was in high school, someone told me to memorize this verse out of the blue. Not sure why but I’m pretty sure it was a passive aggressive way of telling me that I cared too much about the way I looked and got too dressed up that day or something.
So, let me be clear: I don't think God is against you getting dressed up for a fancy date or a night out with friends. Enhancing your beauty with makeup, new clothes or a haircut isn’t bad.
However, what God is saying is that we shouldn't focus so much on the outside that we forget about the inside. So I’ll ask you one question (and I’ll ask myself too!): are you spending more time working on the outside of yourself (doing your makeup, hair, showering, shaving, etc...) or are you spending more time working on your soul (reading the Bible, journaling, meditating, praying, spending time with God, etc...)?
#7. Use your body for the glory of God.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:1-2
Right before this passage, Paul is talking about Jews and the Gentiles (those who aren’t Jewish). One thing the Jewish people (and many other religions of that day) focused on in those days was sacrifices.
So when Paul is saying “offer your bodies as a living sacrifice” people knew exactly what he was talking about. He meant to be set apart from the rest and ready to give up your life for God.
So what does that mean for us today? We should be ready to use our bodies to serve God. This means working to the best of your ability. While in ministry, I’ve had multiple times that I’ve come home from an event or church service and been exhausted from the day. Whether it be emotionally or physically draining, all I can do is lay on the couch. But I know that I’ve given my all to see people know Jesus that day. Other days, it may look like helping someone move or giving money to someone in need. Whatever it is, do it with everything you have, as if you were serving God, not man (Colossians 3:23).
What does it look like for you to serve God sacrificially?
Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Colossians 3:23
#8. Think good things about yourself.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8
As we end, I want to you challenge you to write out some true things about your body that you see as lovely or admirable or excellent.
To help you out, I’ll start.
I’ve been lifting more at the gym and I’m up to 80 pounds on *some* of the machines - that’s pretty excellent.
My hands are typing this blog post at this moment and I’m able to encourage you to see your body as God sees it - that’s pretty pure.
I can go hiking with my husband and not be exhausted anymore - that’s admirable.
Finally, my smile lights up a room and I think that’s pretty lovely.
Now it’s your turn! What are some things about yourself that are excellent, praiseworthy, admirable, lovely, right, noble, or pure? Write them out and then pick one verse from above to focus on in the next month - and watch your perspective change about your body.
P.S. If you can't come up with the list, let someone else help you! Ask a friend or partner to help you come up with your list of good qualities - I'm sure they're a lot easier to find than you think!
If you are looking for a supportive community to help you see yourself the way God sees you, consider joining an Anchor Group! You can jump in at any time. https://www.anchorchurchil.com/groups