You may be reading this title and thinking, “What on earth do eating and body image have to do with God?” If that’s the case then I’m glad you asked because the answer is…a lot!
Since becoming a follower of Christ in 2011, my perspective on eating and body image has shifted drastically. I went from a college student steeped in destructive disordered eating habits to a woman who enjoys food and appreciates the body God has given her as a gift.
Let me share just a couple Bible verses with you that were instrumental in accomplishing this radical mindset shift.
The Kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking,
but of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.
• Romans 14:17 •
This is not to say that Jesus doesn’t care about what we eat or drink, but rather that it isn’t the primary focus of the Kingdom. When we become new creations in Christ, we are also given new priorities, and here we are reminded that some of those new priorities are righteousness, peace, and joy.
If your eating and exercise habits are robbing you of peace and joy, as mine once were, then that is probably a good indicator that they are not aligning with Kingdom values. God cares so much more about our hearts than our outward appearances (1 Samuel 16:17)!
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit,
who is in you, whom you have received from God?
• 1 Corinthians 6:19 •
I’ve heard it said that our bodies are meant to be instruments, not ornaments. I lived for so many years thinking that the purpose of my body was to be an “ornament” as closely conformed to society’s standards as possible.
This verse reminds me that my body is valuable, yes, but not because of its shape or size. Our bodies are valuable because God has chosen them as dwelling places for His Spirit, and therefore they are free to be instruments for His good purposes.
Jesus tells us that we are now free (John 8:36), and I believe that freedom applies to every aspect of our lives, including eating and body image. I know what bondage to those things feels like, and I know what freedom feels like.
Freedom feels like thanking God every day for a healthy, functioning body. It feels like having people over for dinner instead of isolating myself so I can control my food intake. It feels like engaging in joyful movement instead of mindlessly following a gym schedule that drains me of energy.
Freedom feels like an ongoing process, and one that is full of ever-increasing joy, peace, and gratitude.
Megan Hogg is a follower of Jesus, a wife to Josh, and a speech-language pathologist living in Raleigh, North Carolina.
She is learning to navigate her twenties with the help of her friends, iced coffee, and lots of grace.
You can find her blogging at A Continual Feast.