Episode 1. Body Beautiful
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These days body image seems to be everything, not just for women but for men too. And people who aren’t happy with the way they look often lead very sad lives. Well it’s time we changed …
These days body image seems to be everything, not just for women but for men too. And people who aren’t happy with the way they look often lead very sad lives. Well it’s time we changed that.
Let me start today by letting you in on a little secret so that you understand where I’m coming from on this whole body image thing. For most of my adult life, until a few years ago, I hated seeing myself. I hated looking at my face in the mirror and I hated even more seeing a photo of myself. In fact as much as possible I avoided photos, why? Because I was grossly overweight and that was something I was deeply ashamed of.
I’d struggled with my weight all my life and as someone who pretty much always succeeds at things I turn my hand to, I hated, I mean I absolutely hated the fact that I couldn’t succeed at looking good. It’s a terrible thing I can tell you, not to want to look at yourself in the mirror, you avoid it studiously and it eats away at your self-esteem.
People would never had guessed it of the apparently bold and confident Berni Dymet but it was the scourge of my life. Of course I finally found out what was causing me to be so grossly overweight and that’s something I share in a free eBooklet called How I Lost 25 Kilograms. You can download it from the resources section of our Website, www.christianityworks.com if you’re interested, thousands already have.
But you see my point, when I come to talk about body image I’m speaking as someone who has struggled with the body image thing for most of his life so this is no theory lesson, this is someone whose life has been transformed by Christ speaking here.
Now before we get rocking and rolling to talk about the emotional side of body image let me say this, what I am not saying is that we shouldn’t worry about our health and our weight, the thing that’s causing gross obesity on a global pandemic scale is our addiction to sugar and processed foods. Get rid of those two things out of your diet, get back to what your grandparents and their parents were eating, yes including bacon and eggs and all those things and the weight just comes off. Absolutely get back to natural whole foods.
But weight isn’t the only thing that ruins our sense of body image, some people think they just look ugly. Okay some of us don’t fit the stereotypical images of beauty that we see in the glossy magazines and on television. In fact the reality is that most of us don’t, right? But that doesn’t stop many people from feeling visually inadequate. Some people have birthmarks or scars or perhaps you’re shorter than you’d like to be or taller than you want to be or you wish your hair was a different colour or those wrinkles would just go away.
There’s any number of things that we fret about when it comes to body image and for many people it simply ruins their lives, am I right? So where do we go with this? If you’re someone whose body image is ruining your life, do you want to be set free from that? I mean completely, totally and utterly set free from that? Then stick with me because that’s what we’re going to be doing right now. Not because I happen to have anything profound to say but because God does and first up this is what He has to say about body image, are you ready?
This comes from a time when the Prophet Samuel was sent by God to find a new king to replace King Saul of Israel who had gone off the rails. Have a listen:
The Lord said to Samuel, ‘How long are you going to grieve Saul? I’ve rejected him from being king over Israel so fill your horn with oil and set out. I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite for I have provided for myself a king amongst his sons.’ So Samuel did what the Lord commanded and he came to Bethlehem and sanctified Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.
When they came he looked on Eliab and thought, ‘Surely the Lord’s anointed is now before me’ but the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature because I have rejected him for the Lord does not see as mortals see, they look on the outward appearance but the Lord looks on the heart.
Then Jesse called Abinadab and made him pass before Samuel, he said ‘Neither has the Lord chosen this one’. Then Jesse made Shammah pass by and he said, ‘Neither has the Lord chosen this one’. Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel and Samuel said to Jesse, ‘The Lord has not chosen any of these.
Samuel said to Jesse, ‘Are all your sons here?’ And he said, ‘There remains yet the youngest son but he’s out keeping the sheep’ and Samuel said to Jesse, ‘Send and bring him for we will not sit down until he comes’. He sent and brought him. Now he was ruddy and had beautiful eyes and was handsome and the Lord said, ‘rise and anoint him for this is the one.
Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers and the spirit of the Lord came mightily on David from that day forward. Samuel then set out and went to Ramah.
That was from 1 Samuel, chapter 16, verses 1 to 13.
Now that’s a profound story of how God chose David who turned out to be the greatest king that Israel ever had and notice that David was the runt of the litter, he was the little one, considered so unlikely that his father didn’t even put him before the Prophet. Samuel thought, ah number one son, you know the tall, the good-looking one, that’s the one that’s going to be king but God said to the Prophet:
Do not look on his outward appearance or on the height of his stature because I have rejected him. For the Lord does not see as mortals see, they look on the outward appearance but the Lord looks on the heart.
Listen to me; God doesn’t give two hoots about your physical stature, that’s the last thing He’s interested in. What He’s interested in is who you are, your heart and if that’s the most precious thing in Gods sight isn’t it time to ditch this whole body image inadequacy thing that you’ve been going on about, well?
What you look like is by and large, God’s sovereign choice other than perhaps your weight and a few cosmetic things, the rest is completely out of your control. What matters is who you are, your sense of humour, your heart, your passions, the gifts Gods given you. If that matters most to God shouldn’t that e what matters most to you?
God often, almost always in fact, chooses plain ordinary looking people to achieve amazing things for Him. Okay the odd person is really good-looking, God bless them but the rest of us is just, well ordinary. Take Jesus for instance, Jesus the Son of God, if you’d been God what would you have done with Jesus body?
Would you have made Him tall and good-looking with a striking physique? I think I probably would have but listen to what the Prophet Isaiah says about this Messiah, this Jesus who was to come, Isaiah chapter 53, verse 2.
For he grew up before him like a young plant and like a root out of dry ground he had no form or majesty that we should look at him and know beauty that we should desire him.
That’s Jesus we’re talking about and look what He achieved and after His crucifixion and His resurrection His scars were something that He didn’t hide, He showed them off, John chapter 20, verse 27:
Then he said to Thomas, ‘put your finger here and see my hands, reach out your hand and put it in my side, do not doubt but believe.
My friend Jesus put His body on the line for you and me, it was His earthly tent which He used plain and ordinary and unimpressive as it was, to glorify God. What an example, what a powerful Word to set you free from this ridiculous, devilish destruction being wrought through a false understanding of your body image.
Jesus came to set you free and when He sets you free you are free indeed. How about it?