The Gift of Body

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.  He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first fruits of all He created.”  James 1:17-18 (NIV)

When most of us hear that verse, we think of people or blessings or opportunities or even material things, but do we ever think about the more basic and integral parts of our lives and realities?

Whether you acknowledge it or not, your body is an amazing gift, given to you by your Heavenly Father.  And He gave us an incredible gift int the human body!  It can grow itself, heal itself, alert you of pain or injury or allergies.  The human body has eleven very intricate and complex systems.  The muscular system alone is amazing, not to mention the cardiovascular system, the respiratory system, the neurological system, etc.  And human eye is astounding in form and function!  God gave people an incredible gift in these bodies; a gift of creation that God called “very good.” (See Genesis 1:31)

Do you see your body as very good?  Do you treat it as something very good?  Do you cherish it as a good and perfect gift from your Heavenly Father?

I give my kids gifts sometimes.  I love my kids, and I try to give them things I think they need or will enjoy.  Suffice it to say that I know when they love the gift I have given, because they cherish and care for it.  I also know when they don’t.

As humans living in a world riddled with fallenness, some of us have ideas of what a “perfect” gift should look like — an idea undoubtedly shaped, at least in part, by the fickle and unrealistic views of the culture around us.  Others of us live more physically impacted by the world’s fallenness, whether it is through disease or aging or tragedy.  And cherishing the body becomes more challenging.

But the encouragement is this: our bodies are still amazing.  And they are a good and perfect gift to be stewarded well in this lifetime.  God made your body and breathed His life into it, and He renews your breath every day.  And God is not fickle or unrealistic, but constant and sure.  So, as long as God gives us breath, let’s thank Him and honor Him and praise Him for the gift of body … and care for it as someone who appreciates such a good gift!

Counter-Cultural

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:2 (NLT)

Wall Street Journal, May 29, 2014 states (in reference to women’s clothing): “The measurements for a size 0 today were the measurements assigned to a size 8 in 1978.”

Wall Street Journal, May 30, 2014 states: “2.1 billion people, or about 29% of the world’s population, were either overweight or obese in 2013.”

And the May 30th article continued: “The increases in overweight and obese people ‘have been substantial, widespread, and have arisen over a short time,’ said the study.” The USA, of course, tops the list with 86.9 million people categorized as obese in 2013.

It’s a sad statistic.  And it’s had a toll on people’s health, longevity, lifestyle and pocketbook.  Health care costs have risen substantially.  But the truth is that our culture has endorsed it, if not encouraged it.

The link between the above two articles is obvious, isn’t it? Our culture has given everyone permission to gain weight, by calling what was a size 8 now a size 0.  Heck, you can gain weight and wear the same size!  Such “reframing” of sizes only furthers the epidemic.  What are those of us who, under the old system, were a 4 or a 6 supposed to do?  Ask the salesperson for sub-zero sizes? I can just imagine the evil glares!

I’m not saying that everyone needs to be skinny.  God made people in all shapes and sizes.  What I am saying is that we need to take care of the bodies God has given us.  But our culture has given us permission not to.  God loves everyone and wants us to be all that He created us to be … in this life and the next.  He gave us beautiful, capable, strong, complex, intricate bodies (see June 3, 2014 post). He gave them to us to steward. Let’s not let the world dictate our behavior, let’s let God renew our minds. Let’s steward everything that He has given us well.  Let’s reclaim these bodies to glorify the One who gave them to us!