Your Body Image
    As many other truths that we learn, this one comes out of both personal experience and revelation of the Word by the Holy Spirit.  As of the time of this writing, I am sixty-three years old.  Various physical ailments aches and pain often come with age.  I don't have the physical strength that I had as a younger man and can't physically do all the things that I once did.  About five years ago, I had colon cancer surgery, and have any number of side effects from the surgery.  I have found it easy to fall into a mode of complaining to God, self, and sometimes to others about the limitations of my body.  So what? I have come to conclude that when we do we are not thankful for our body, that the problems become intensified and our body itself responds in a negative way. However, before continuing with discussing our physical body, let us look at a parallel truth in Scripture about the church, the spiritual body of Christ.

I. The Word gives us warnings about rejecting the spiritual body of the church.

    Some people reject others in the body because of a different in gifting.  "But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And if they were all one member, where were the body?  But now are they many members, yet but one body.  And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.  For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked: That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another" (I Corinthians 12:18-25). Paul is saying that one part of the body should NOT reject the other part because it does not have the same function.  What about those are not living as Believers should live?

    Some people reject others because they don't live up to some standard. We may look at someone and say, "How could they be a Believer and say or do something like that?"  Paul gives us some very strong warning about rejecting other Believers. "Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. ge ourselves, we should not be judged.  But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world" (I Corinthians 11:27-32).     I recognize that one can interpret this passage concerning the physical body of Christ, but I also strongly believe that one can interpret and make application to the spiritual body of Christ, his Church.

    In reality, when we have a judgmental attitude toward others in the body, we are "cursing" them.  "But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;  Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks" (Ephesians 5:3-4).  Jesus said, "Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be" (James 3:9-10).  When we curse someone, the powers of darkness are there to help fulfill the curse.  That is one reason some are drawn to the powers of witchcraft.  Instead, we as Believers should bless others in the body and give the powers of the LIGHT an opportunity to work.
 II. We should give thanks for others in the body.
    One of the best ways to bless others is to thank God for their being members of the body.  Paul does this in his letter to the church of Ephesus. "Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints,  Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers" (Ephesians 1:15-16).  Someone may say, this is nothing because the church at Ephesus was a fairly mature church and ready to learn about spiritual warfare.  However, Paul also wrote to other churches telling them that he thanked God for them.
* He wrote to the church of  Philippi, 'I thank my God upon every remembrance of you" (Philippians 1:3).
* He wrote to the body at Colosse, "We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you" (Colossians 1:3).
* He wrote to the body of the Thessalonians, "We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers" (I Thessalonians 1:2).
* He wrote the in the letter body at Rome, "First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world" (Romans 1:8).
* He wrote to the young minister, Timothy, "I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day" (II Timothy 1:3).
* He even wrote to the Philemon, "I thank my God, making mention of thee always in my prayers" (Philemon 1:4).
    However, what would Paul do about a church that was fleshly in it actions? Paul called the church of Corinth, fleshly.  "And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ" (I Corinthians 3:1). They also quarreled over who had baptized who. "Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.  Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?  I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius;   Lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name" (I Corinthians 1:12-15).  Some in the church were just coming to the Lord's Supper to eat and get drunk.  "For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.  For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you. When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's supper. For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken" (I Corinthians 11:18-19).  The church was also proud that they were keeping someone in the church that was living in incest.  "It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife.  And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you" (I Corinthians 5:1-2).  How would Paul address such a church?  He thanked God for the church!  "I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ" (I Corinthians 1:14).
    Lets also apply Biblical truth of sowing and reaping.  "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap" (Galatians 6:7). When we sow "blessings" in the lives of others, God sees that we are blessed in return. One Sunday night God spoke to me to walk over and tell someone in a church who was going through some experiences major failures in his life that I thanked God for his being a part of the church. I simply obeyed.  Later during the same church service someone who knew nothing of what I had done came to me and asked me, if she could pray for me.  She prayed for me that thanked God for me being a part of the body of Christ.  I cried in my heart as God returned the blessing back to me.
    As we bless others in the body by thanking God in their presence for their being part of the body. This helps create a healthy spiritual body. It encourages people to grow and live as the Believers who they are.  In contrast, when Believers have a judgmental attitude toward others in the body, they bring destruction to the spiritual body which is also manifest in the physical.
III. Application for the one's physical body.
    These principles can also be applied to an individual's physical body as well as the spiritual body of the church.  All too often and for any number of reasons, individuals have a poor body image.  They have come to despise their physical body.  They hate their own body or various parts of their body. Their attitude toward their body may actually bring destruction in their own body.  Such an attitude may lower one's immunity to disease.  "The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear?" (Proverbs 18:14).  This attitude may also cause the body itself to reject nutrition and become gravely ill.   "A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones" (Proverbs 17:22). The bones are the manufacturer of the blood which is the life of the body. Dry bones will effect the blood and its functions in the body.    See: The Bones Cry Out.

    When one learns to thank God for his or her body, then it opens the door for God to restore health to the body or to keep the body healthy.   "In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you"  (I Thessalonians 5:18). "The light of the eyes rejoiceth the heart: and a good report maketh the bones fat" (Proverbs 15:30).  "Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones" (Proverbs 16:24).  Also see: Medications That I  Recommend.

IV. A Brief Prayer.
    Dear Heavenly Father I agree with your Word and thank You that I am fearfully and wonderfully created by You. What You did in making every part of my body is marvelous!  Therefore, I choose from this day forward to thank You for my body and every part of it (name specific parts including those parts which you may have previously rejected). I trust that You will bring healing and health to my body. Amen.

    "For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb.  I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.   My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.  Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.  How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!  If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee" (Psalms 139:13-18).

    "Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.  Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;  Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's" (Psalms 103:1-5).

    "Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God" (Psalms 42:11).

V. We are to present our bodies as a living sacrifice to God and bless Him with our bodies.
    "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God" (Romans 12:1-2).  We should recognize that all of us have physical and mental limitations, but God will give us the GRACE to do whatever He asks us to do.  Amen.

    We are to bless the Lord with our bodies. "Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.  Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:  Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;   Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;  Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's" (Psalms 103:1-5).