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Embracing Wholeness: Christianity and Body Image

1 Timothy 4:8

For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.

In recent years, the movements of fat acceptance and body positivity have gained significant traction in society. While it is crucial to affirm the inherent dignity and worth of every individual, it is essential for Christians to critically examine these movements through the lens of biblical teachings.

Created in God's Image

Scripture affirms that human beings are fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27, Psalm 139:14). Our bodies, as temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19), have intrinsic value and significance. However, it is important to note that our worth is not solely determined by our physical appearance or size.

Stewardship and Self-Care

As Christians, we are called to steward our bodies, which includes responsible self-care and healthy lifestyle choices. Caring for our bodies encompasses nourishing them with proper nutrition, engaging in physical activity, and striving for overall well-being. Though bodily exercise profits little (1 Timothy 4:8) and it is not the be-all-and-end all, that is not to say it has no benefit. Neglecting our physical health can hinder our ability to fulfil God's purposes for our lives.

Health Consequences

While promoting body acceptance is commendable, it is crucial to acknowledge that obesity and excess weight can have significant health consequences. Numerous studies have linked obesity to various chronic conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer. Ignoring the physical risks associated with obesity can undermine overall well-being.

Distorted View of Beauty

Embracing body positivity should not lead to the abandonment of healthy ideals or the endorsement of unhealthy lifestyles. Society's obsession with unrealistic beauty standards should be critiqued, but it does not mean we should celebrate or normalize unhealthy behaviours or conditions. True beauty lies in the balance of embracing our uniqueness while striving for optimal health.

Balanced Self-Acceptance

Christians should foster a balanced view of self-acceptance, rooted in both grace and growth. While accepting and appreciating our bodies as they are, we must also recognize the need for personal growth and self-improvement. This involves striving for physical health while simultaneously cultivating a healthy mindset and embracing our God-given identities.

Compassion and Grace

The Christian response to individuals struggling with body image issues should be one of compassion, understanding, and support. We are called to offer love and grace to those who may be experiencing self-doubt or shame regarding their bodies. We should extend our hands in genuine empathy and walk alongside them in their journey toward holistic well-being.


We must approach the concepts of fat acceptance and body positivity with discernment and biblical wisdom. While acknowledging the inherent value of every individual, we must also recognize the importance of responsible self-care and healthy living. Embracing wholeness involves striking a balance between self-acceptance and personal growth, fostering a healthy internal body image while striving for healthy external physical well-being. May we engage in conversations surrounding body image with compassion, grace, and the desire to help others experience the fullness of life that God desires for them.