Do You Love Your Body?

Dr. Alison Cook, PhDBy Dr. Alison Cook, PhD5 Minutes

Excerpt taken from I Shouldn’t Feel This Way: Name What’s Hard, Tame Your Guilt, and Transform Self-Sabotage into Brave Action by Dr. Alison Cook


This idea that the body matters is as ancient as the days. It is not a new idea. Despite several ancient heresies that denied the goodness of the body, orthodox Christian theology maintains that the body is an integral part of the human person, a part of the goodness of God’s creation. This view of the body is rooted in the belief that God created human beings in his image and likeness. God called his creation good before sin entered in, and that creation includes the body.

We see the dignity of the body illustrated in numerous ways throughout Scripture. In John 14, when Jesus promised the coming of the Holy Spirit, he said that it would dwell within our bodies. Paul expanded on this point when he said, “The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you.

God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body.” Your body is the dwelling place for the living God. It’s a place of honor, a place that is sacred, a place to tend with care and wonder, as you might care for any sacred dwelling.

And, finally, we see the dignity in the body in the fact that Jesus came in a body.

Jesus lived in a body.

Jesus died in a body.

Jesus was resurrected in a body.

Too often we gloss over the reality of what that statement means: Jesus was resurrected in a body. His resurrected body bore the wounds of his life as a human on earth. It was the same body, even though it looked a little different. At the ascension, when Jesus returned to heaven, his body went with him. The physical ascension of Jesus suggests that our bodies will still be with us on the other side of this life.

Your body is not an inconvenience. It’s not something to put up with until you become a disembodied soul in heaven. Your body matters. It matters now, and it matters for all eternity.

It’s as important to your overall well-being to tune in to your body each day as it is to tune in to your mind, your heart, and your spirit. All these brave actions honor God. To love God means to love the body God gave you. To love your body is a part of what it means to honor God.

Each morning when you pray or journal, you might practice naming, framing, and braving a new message, a love note to your body: My body is precious. My body helps me make wise decisions. My body needs me just as much as other people need me. My body is valued by God.

You might also welcome your body into expressions of emotion and prayer. Dancing it out – whether by yourself when no one’s watching or with a group of loved ones – can be a profound way to release tears, evoke joy, and even metabolize anger.

Is this what it meant that “David danced before the LORD with all his might”? That he worked out all the mixed-up, complicated emotions of his life and expressed the through his body before God? That he found a way to communicate with God with his whole body?

What if learning to live in your body, and more importantly, learning to honor your body go hand in hand with loving God? What if this act of honoring your body is a spiritual practice?

Order your copy of I Shouldn’t Feel This Way: Name What’s Hard, Tame Your Guilt, and Transform Self-Sabotage into Brave Action by Dr. Alison Cook