Take a trip to the beach, the gym, or even to the supermarket and it doesn’t take long to see that our culture has made an idol out of “the body.” People spend hours trying to make their body look chiseled, tanned, blemishless, the right shape, and fit. From the rave of 100-Calorie snack packs in grocery aisle to the surge of gym-memberships every January, people are concerned about their bodies.
Now I’m not against working out, gym-memberships, or trying to eat healthy. In fact, I believe that as Christians, part of our obedience to God is taking care of our bodies. God made us to have physical bodies. In fact, when we go to heaven, we will not float around as spirits, but will one day have perfect physical bodies. God loves the human body…after all, He made it! It’s His greatest work of art…His greatest masterpiece on earth…the highlight of creation! Even though our current bodies are growing older and weaker because of sin, we are still to be good stewards of our bodies and seek to live as long as we can to achieve the mission God has given us. Rather than making an idol of the body, Christians have sometimes valued the body too little. Many Christians have developed the mindset that only what is spiritual matters and therefore have let their bodies go to waste. This is just as wrong as making an idol of the body. We should care about our physical bodies because God cares about them!
However, in Southern California, it is also very common to see our human body, its health, and what it looks like become a big idol. Here’s how it happens:
- “I will be happy and find acceptance if I can just get that six-pack.”
- “I will be happy and feel like my life is worth living if I can look like that model.”
- “I will be happy if I can just eat in a way that will keep me healthy.”
- “I will be happy if I can live till I’m 95 years old.”
Is it wrong to desire beauty, good health, or strong muscles? No! But the problem comes when gaining these things become the ultimate source of happiness and meaning in life.
This drives many young girls to seek for the perfect body…often developing disorders and distorted views of themselves. The magazines, tv shows, and commercials all propogate (sometimes unknowingly) a lie: look like this and you will be happy. Be this strong, and your life will have meaning.
We need to fight these lies and call ourselves to believe what’s true…that God is our ultimate source of joy and meaning and happiness.
What do you Think?
What other ways has the “body” become an idol?
What “core/root” idols are people sometimes seeking when they make their body an idol? (i.e. “acceptance from others”, “control over their life”)
Why should we take care of our bodies?