Possibly one of the most powerful passages of Scripture. It is filled with statements that are the foundations of our identity in Christ, it lays the Gospel out clearly and concisely. I’ve been camped out here for the past few months and this is what I am learning: Romans 8 has immeasurable implications for any believer who is struggling, even something like body image or an eating disorder. Even though our true identity is in Christ, it can still be hard to resolve what is seen in the mirror. Fighting a battle with food and body image may be the hardest battle someone can fight it not only effects a physical state but can have lasting effects on the heart and mind.
The truth from Romans 8 is simple.
We are free from condemnation.
Scripture never once tells us what an ideal body type is but rather how we fall short of earning salvation because we are born into sin. To like what we see in the mirror is the fruit of our heart’s longing to be okay and matter in a world that places value on outward appearance. The reality of Romans 8 is the reality of the Gospel. Christ died for our sins and because of this sacrifice, no matter our physical state. In the Lord’s great mercy, He brings us to the end of ourselves and shows us that overcoming the battle with weight and body image.
The extra weight, failed diets, missed workouts discourage us and push us to a standard of perfection that ceases to exist. Romans 8:1 is clear, ¨There is, therefore, no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.¨ Honestly speaking, these efforts are done to please ourselves and others and not the Lord, who is rich in mercy and has saved us from ourselves. The satisfaction we crave will never be enough. The issue of the desire of changing outward appearances is a deeper issue of the heart where we fail to grasp a truth that God has said about us To accept ourselves as God’s children is where we will find freedom and confidence to do the heartwork for true healing. Body image is how we see ourselves and for most women, they want to look in the mirror and like what they see. Christ´s death on the cross trumps every allegation from the inside out. God is greater than any condemnation we can ever speak to ourselves.
We (our bodies) are for Godś glory.
We live in a fallen state (including our bodies). Romans 8:23 touches on how we are eagerly awaiting the adoptions of sons and daughters and currently reside in a sinful world. As a believer, we have the promise of future glory and a resurrected body: free of illness, aging, and death. Living in the ¨not yet¨ reminds of what Paul told the Corinthians in his first letter. ¨Your body is a temple…you are not your own, you were bought at a price so glorify God in your body¨ (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). To take these verses in context, it is clear to see that Paulwas not challenging the people of Corinth to pursue a certain weight or level of physical fitness; he was confronting those who were using their bodies to indulge in sin. We are called to steward our bodies in such a way that it gives glory to the One who created us in His perfect image,
If we start to see our bodies in terms of stewardship for Godś glory, the battle for freedom in a healthy body image has begun. God has given us these bodies to accomplish HIs ultimate plan by HIs power: redemption. When we offer our bodies as a living sacrifice it takes the focus off our outward appearance and put our focus back on the Lord and His KIngdom work. We were never meant to to strive for an unattainable, worldly mode but to take joy in a Creator Who didn´t use one.
He works all things for His Good.
Romans 8. Literally, if I could only have one chapter of Scripture, this would be it. Towards the end of chapter 8, in verses 28-30, we are reminded that God is at work IN ALL THINGS for good to those who love Him. And the good? Is the transformation of our character, not necessarily the circumstances, to become more and more like Christ. Every season is for our sanctification and achievement of a goal weight does not make us less holy.
In 1 Timothy 1, Paul talks about training ourselves for godliness. He writes, ¨for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come¨ (1 Timothy 4:7-8). Paul doesn’t say that taking care of our bodies has no value but he does say our priority is Christlike character. God is always working to bring about our holiness and since He is in work in all things; it can be assumed that our battle related to physical disciplines can and will bear Spiritual fruit. The struggles and victories in this area are ways that God will use to reveal our pride, idols, and challenge selfishness. He is faithful to use even our failure to mold us into an image of His Son. We can remain confident that ¨He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Christ Jesus.¨(Phil. 1:6)
The Hope of Our Salvation
The treatment of our bodies reveal the nastiness of our hearts. The relationship with food, our weight, striving for the approval of those around us, achieving the certain weight or size are worth fighting. Striving for health or weight loss is not a sin, but our bodies will always continue to groan because we long to be made new; we were not meant for this world. We wait in great expectation of the redemption of our hearts and bodies, for in this hope we are saved (Romans 8:24). The Lord is faithful and we can walk in confidence that we are His and have the promise of eternal despite our perceived flaws because His grace is enough.