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  • Zack DeBruyne

Body Image


Body Image: Our Bodies in a Disembodied World


What does the world tell us about our bodies?

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What are some physical characteristics of the idealized perfect person in Western society today?

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How have you ever felt the need to compare yourself or change yourself to be more like someone else whether in-person or through social media?

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BBC Article: Body-editing apps on TikTok ‘trigger eating disorders’

  • Eating disorder charity Seed said it has seen a 68% rise in children and teenagers aged between 10 and 19 seeking support since the pandemic.

  • “The apps make me thinner and curvier than my body, even if I trained all the time, could ever be. They eliminate my pores in a way that’s not even possible in nature. They create a ‘me’ that is, quite simply, unachievable - and they do it all with a click of a button.

  • “As we get back to normal life, we won’t be able to hide behind screens or apps. People are being offered ways to distort their image online but that puts pressure on them in the real world.”

Idealized Body Types

  • A thin, curved, idealized body image is promoted as what is beautiful or sexy.

  • The media plays a vital role in formulating what is attractive in society, increasing the thin beauty ideal among females being unattainable.

  • Perception = Value: These ideals confirmed the way young people perceived themselves and, therefore, how they value themselves.

  • How you see yourself in comparison to the media created idealized bodies will be how you value yourself.

  • If you are far off of the weight, colour, or proportions of what Instagram or TikTok influencer looks like -- you will likely have negative thoughts and ideas about your body.

  • This negative perception leads to body shaming, restrictive eating, mental health issues.

Have you ever considered or believed in the idea that your value is tied to how you are perceived by others?

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Sexualized World

  • Sexuality is celebrated

  • Pornography use and celebration of

  • Self-objectification - We often objectify ourselves up against an unrealistic sexualized ideal. That we need to be something, or do something, in order to receive love based on our body image.

  • Your body is on display in a way that it never was before

  • You are in your own view via Zoom and Teams -- you are constantly looking at yourself, judging yourself, and even holding yourself up to others images.

  • If your body does not look or fit a certain way, it is ‘unnatural’ or ‘ugly’.

  • We have a definition for beauty, if you do not fit into that definition, you are not beautiful.

How have you experienced sexuality celebrated or pushed in a potentially dangerous way in society today?

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So with all of this, how does the Bible engage the topic of body image?


Idealized Body Types

  • A thin, curved, idealized body image is promoted as what is beautiful or sexy.

  • The media plays a vital role in formulating what is attractive in society, increasing the thin beauty ideal among females being unattainable.

  • Perception = Value: These ideals confirmed the way young people perceived themselves and, therefore, how they value themselves.

  • How you see yourself in comparison to the media created idealized bodies will be how you value yourself.

  • If you are far off of the weight, colour, or proportions of what Instagram or TikTok influencer looks like -- you will likely have negative thoughts and ideas about your body.

  • This negative perception leads to body shaming, restrictive eating, mental health issues.

  • Test: 93% of the women desired to change at least three zones of their body using at least two different methods.

So with all of this, how does the Bible engage the topic of body image?


What Does the Bible Say about Body Image?

There are five key ideas in Scripture that I want to talk about when it comes to body image, our created human bodies, and how they can be places of worship and goodness instead of comparison and the lies and deception of what the enemy says about us and our bodies.

We need to change our perception. If we change how we perceive ourselves we change how we understand and value ourselves. We must move that perception from deception to reflection.

Body as a Reflection of God’s Image

  • Genesis 1:26: Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, after our likeness, so they may rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move on the earth.”

  • Genesis 1:27: God created humankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them, male and female he created them.

  • 1 Corinthians 15:49: And just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, let us also bear the image of the man of heaven.

  • Our bodies are a reflection of God.


Why do you think that it matters that we are made in God’s image?

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Body as a Work of Art

  • Ephesians 2:10: For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

  • God created you, in all of your uniqueness, with purpose. You are a masterpiece, a work of art!

  • Sometimes this is hard to beleive, but God reminds us that the individuality of our bodies is a reflection of His beauty in creation.

Body as a Temple

  • 1 Corinthians 12:19-20: Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”

  • Your bodies are temples or dwelling places of the Holy Spirit. God dwells in you and gives your being a purpose far deeper than exterior societal beauty.

  • We are called to care for our bodies as a result!

How does thinking about your body as God does change our perspective?

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Body as Sacred

  • Seeing our body as sacred includes a belief in divine acceptance of one’s body.

  • This minimizes messages regarding culture’s body ideal.

  • It also inspires participation in health-promoting behavior, or limiting engagement in unhealthy habits to meet a cultural ideas about our bodies and beauty.

Have you ever considered that your bodies are spiritual and sacred? Do you agree or disagree?

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So What Can We Do?

  1. Shut down the deception of the enemy that tells you that your body is not “right” or that you are 'ugly' because you do not meet the norms of beauty today.

  2. Surround yourself with a positive, affirming community. Possibly a community of faith that can remind you of who you are, and who God made you to be.

  3. Remind yourself of who God says you are each morning, instead of who social media says you are as you scroll. Ask God in prayer to remind us of who He created us to be.

  4. See below list.

  5. Become a voice on social media that speaks up against and works to change this dangerous cultural ideal of body image.

  6. Sharing Biblical truths for those who might be struggling.

  7. Supporting friends, roommates, and other believers who need to be reminded of who they are in Christ, not who society tells them they are based on their phsyical image.


God’s Affirmation: Who Am I?

  1. I am fearfully and wonderfully made - Psalm 139:4

  2. I am God’s masterpiece - Ephesians 2:10

  3. I am whole in Christ - Colossians 2:10

  4. I am delighted in - Zephaniah 3:17

  5. I am beloved - Jeremiah 31:2

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