Our bodies were built for worship, not to be worshiped, so how do we navigate the complexities of stewarding our bodies well without getting caught up in the comparison game? Join us this week as we take a biblical look at Self Care for the body.
What's up, Porch? It's so good to be with you tonight. My name is Josh Thames, and I have the wonderful privilege of being on The Porch team over in Fort Worth. Welcome to all of you guys here in the room tonight, everyone listening online. Guys, Phoenix has started The Porch tonight. Welcome, Phoenix. They are living in the "promised land," living in Arizona, and now The Porch is there. I'm excited for them.
Guys, we are in an incredible series called Self Care. I've enjoyed it. We have taken a dive into a biblical look into what it means to care for our mind, soul, and body. Tonight, we are talking about a subject I am really passionate about. This is what this has looked like for me. We're talking tonight about what it looks like to care for your body, a biblical perspective on how to care for your body.
This has been something, you guys need to know, that for 25 years of my life I didn't do right. For 25 years, I was pretty sure my body was just about me, and I sought affirmation in really two ways. The first way was in the way I looked. I sought affirmation in how I looked. I was really excited about being fit from here to here or in the way my body could perform as an athlete.
That changed for me four years ago when I came here and friends of mine, Bobby and Becca, asked me to jump into a ministry called WELL. In that ministry, others and I spent 12 weeks taking a deep dive into God's Word and what it has to say about our bodies. It changed my life. I began to learn for the first time that my body was not my own, that it was given to me by God and instead of for my glory actually for his.
At the end of 12 weeks, not only was I more physically healthy, there was a healthiness between me and my relationship with God just personally as I began to see what that looked like. Here's why I'm excited about it. There are two reasons. The first one is I don't think we have done an excellent job talking about this subject. In a lot of ways, it is kind of taboo. We'll talk about pornography and drug addiction and alcohol abuse, but talking about our bodies is something I, frankly, don't think we have done an excellent job about.
The second reason is that each one of us has a relationship with this topic of how to care for your body, because each one of us has a body. Every person in here. Whether or not you've thought about it well or you haven't, each one of us has a body. We each have a relationship with how we view it, treat it, and care for it.
Our culture is telling us… There seem to be two extremes in our view of the body. One extreme is you're obsessed with working out and making your body look a certain way. #fitfam or #motivation. This is not motivation. It's demotivating. Then the other camp is you just love you for you. The way you're made is great. "Curves are the new beautiful. You can't body shame me." There seem to be two camps here.
I don't know if you may end up on one of those extremes, but it just seems the problem with both of those is that they center around us, not around God. You may be like, "Well, I don't land in either one of those extremes," but I do think if you pay attention tonight there are things inside of God's Word that are going to help you in how you view and care for your body. God cares that we are healthy. He cares about our fitness, but I think differently than the way you and I care.
We're going to be taking a look at what the world says about this topic, what the Word says, and then how to care for our bodies in light of what God's Word has to say. If you have your Bibles, you guys can open those up to 1 Corinthians 6:19-20. This is Paul writing to the church in Corinth. I'll read it to us.
"Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body." In context, Paul is warning against the use of our bodies in sexual sin, but he says some pretty crazy things here. He says, first, that our bodies are dwelling places for the Holy Spirit, and then that our bodies are not our own; they're actually God's, and because they are God's, our bodies are meant to bring him glory, not us.
1._ The world says to worship our bodies as god. When I say _worship, I don't mean what just happened here with the lights low and our hands up high. What I mean by worship is to love, admire, and care for something very, very much. To make something a god in your life is to mean your world centers around it, that it's kind of everything to you. The world is telling us to worship our bodies as god.
It's almost as if everything around you is telling you that what you look like is everything. It doesn't take long to see this play out. TV reinforces this. Movies reinforce this. Pornography reinforces this. The billboards we drive by reinforce this. Fitness blogs and models are literally making a living because of the way they look. Our world is telling us to worship our bodies as god.
We also say if you worship your body well enough, we're going to worship you as god. You don't believe me? I'll prove it to you. Anyone in here know the name Harrison Schmitt? Harrison Schmitt was the last man to walk on the moon. There have been 12 total people, Harrison Schmitt being one of them, who ever have walked on the moon. You have to imagine that as he's walking around up there… I don't know how that looked. It had to have been amazing.
He's like, "I can't wait to be a household name. I'm never paying for a meal or a drink for the rest of my life." Right? "I'm going to be a household name. People are going to name their kids after me. It's going to be amazing." Do you know what is a household name? Kim Kardashian. Got you. Why? Because of how she looks. She hasn't done anything amazing. She hasn't created something. She's not flipping houses down in Waco.
Literally, we know her because of the way she looks. In the "who's going to be famous," "who's going to be a household name" club, they're like, "Walking the moon? Meh. Got a big butt? Yep, you're in." It's crazy the world we live in. We are literally saying, "If you worship your body as god well enough, I'm going to worship you as god." It's craziness, and it's affecting all of us. We're buying into this way of thinking.
Cosmetic surgeries are up 200 percent since the year 2000. Surgeries that are enhancing the way you look, enhancing your physical features have become normal today. What we choose to post on social media shows us this. "I'm going to post that because I look great." What we choose to not post on social media proves this. We are buying into the lie that we are meant to worship our bodies.
Another way I know this for a fact is a lot of us are hiring personal trainers. I don't know if you guys ever have. Some of you may have not, but there's a classic question they ask you, which is, "What are your goals?" It's like, "To be hot. A six-pack would be good. How much would an eight-pack cost me?"
What I'm trying to do here is to show you it is clear in God's Word our bodies are the temple he's talking about, which is a place where we go to worship. Instead of worshiping in this place, the world is telling us to worship the temple itself. Instead of worshiping in the temple, we are worshiping our bodies.
If you invest in your body, you're investing in something that's depreciating. It's going away. Gravity wins, people. I don't know if you know this. I had a friend tell me this recently. He said, "When you want to think about what you're going to look like when you get older, don't pick up a magazine. Go to an old photo album and find your grandma. That's where you're headed."
It would be as if in 2013 your friend said to you, "Hey, you know what? We should all invest all of our money into Vine," which now, as we know, in 2019 is extinct, gone. Investing in your body, caring for your body… If you do that, if you make that your world, if you make that what your world is centered around, you're investing in something that is depreciating.
Here's the thing. We are left empty and insecure, because whether you have decided you're going to work hard to make your body look a certain way or you have found a way to rationalize inside your mind, like, "It doesn't matter what I look like; I don't care what people think," both of those are leaving us broken and hurt and insecure.
It used to be magazines, but all of us know those are Photoshopped and electronically enhanced. Now it's your social media. Now it's your Instagram feed. Now the normal people in your life look better than you do. I don't know how. Everyone is so tan-toned. They eat pizza and live in their VW camper vans on a beach. It's crazy. What seems to be the normal, what's on your phone is proving to you, or it seems as if "That should be what I look like, and I don't look like that. What's wrong?"
Here's the thing. If we are worshiping our bodies as god, we are finding our worth… We find our worth in what we worship. If what you worship is money, then the number in your bank account is where you're going to find your significance, but if you worship your body and find your worth in what you look like, it's dangerous, because it's going down.
Here's a good way to tell if you have bought into this, if you are worshiping your body as god: if your mood changes depending on what you look like that day. Maybe there's a pimple on your face and you're like, "Hey, what are you looking at?" No one even knows it's there. Maybe you had a bad hair day or possibly it's a number on a scale. If your mood changes because of either how you look or a number on the scale, that is a telltale sign for you that you are worshiping your body as god.
It seems there are two responses to the world's message: those who accept it and those who avoid it. Those of us who accept it make our lives about working out and the way our bodies look, and those of us who avoid it just rationalize, but we're insecure. Am I saying it's wrong to be super fit? No, I'm not. Am I saying it's wrong to be comfortable in your own skin? No. What I am saying is the Bible speaks to the heart behind both of them. These verses speak to the heart behind both of them.
2._ The Word says to worship God with your body_. I'm literally just going to read these verses again. "Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God?" I don't think we get this, guys. If you have trusted in Christ, God has decided that your body is going to be the place where his Spirit lives. "You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body."
God did not only create you and give you your body; he bought you back at the infinite cost of his own Son. He emphatically means for you to worship him with the body he has given you. What these verses are really saying is how we care for our bodies is a stewardship issue. Your body is not your own; it's a gift. It's for God's glory and not for yours, and we have a great responsibility to steward it.
You may wonder, "What is a steward?" I think about this. Here's a good illustration for being a steward. I have a 403(b), which is a 401(k) for pastors. If I went and found the guy who's investing my money, who's taking care of my 403(b), and said, "Hey, man. I'm here for my money," and the guy is like, "Yeah, your money. Where did I put that? I think it's around here somewhere," I would say, "Cool. I'm going to take my money, and I'm going to give that to a different steward, someone who is better at taking care of it."
It's money that's not his, but he is responsible for taking care of it. That's what I mean when I say that you are a steward of your body. It's not your own, but you are responsible for caring for it. You're responsible for how you view it, for how you use it, how you treat it. God made the body you have. There are ways in which you have not been excited on how God has made you. You need to know this. This is Psalm 139:
"For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well." You are the pinnacle of his creation. When God made everything you see, he said you were the only ones made… You and I, as humans, were made in his image, the very best.
All of the beautiful things in this world that you have seen, the trees, the birds, everything that's amazing… He says you are the very peak of that creation, and you are beautiful and wonderfully made. He didn't mess up on you. He made us all different. We look different. We have different abilities. Friends, I know this very well. I know we look different, that we have different abilities.
Two friends of mine last year went to one of my favorite places in the world. It's called Havasu Falls. Havasu Falls is a part of the Grand Canyon. It's in Arizona. It's an incredible place, and it's quite the hike to get down there. It's about a 10-mile hike down, a 10-mile hike out. Both of these friends look different than I.
On the hike down it's not so bad, because we're headed down. On the way out, though, my friend Andre is in the front, and then my friend Ryan, and I noticed something. I noticed that we have differing abilities. As they were walking, I was walking at exactly the same pace as they were, but I was losing about six inches every step. I'm like, "This is a problem, people." Now, not only are my legs having to work to keep up with them; my lungs are dying.
There was just a difference in the way we were made, but that's okay. Their worth, because they're made that way, isn't any more than mine. God made all of us in his image. God didn't give me their body to steward. God didn't give me yours. He didn't give you theirs or the person on your Instagram. He gave you yours, and the way he has made you is fearfully and wonderfully made. You need to remember that. Some of you just need to sit in that.
First Samuel 16:7 says that man looks on the outward appearance but God looks on the heart. God cares about your health and fitness because the body he gave you is actually his. It's the only body he has given you to serve him as much as you can, as long as you can, and you are the only person in this world who can steward the body you have for God's glory and not something else. Instead of making our bodies what we are worshiping, making our bodies god, the Word says to worship God with your body.
Some of you might be thinking, "Man, Josh. I don't know. How do I do this, if it's really true that my body is not my own, that it was given to me by God for his glory and not my own?" First, I hope the way you view your body tonight changes. Friends, I hope what you hear me saying is that I'm not mad or frustrated. I'm not here to be angry at you or tell you that God is angry at you but to tell you that your body is not yours. It was made for God and his glory.
That could have an impact on some of you. Some of you may need to get out of the gym. Some of you may need to stop going to the gym, because you are going there to make your body look a certain way so you will gain affirmation from it. Then some of you may need to get into the gym for the very first time, because God cares about your health and your fitness, and he has given you a body to serve him as long as you can, as much as you can.
3._ How to care for your body_. I want to be really practical with you guys tonight, to give you a few ways in which you can do that, a few simple how-tos.
A. Train your body through movement. If you're in here tonight and you're a mailman and you walked 10 miles today, hey, good on you. You're good. You've used your body. You've moved your body today. But if we're really honest, all of society has made a more inactive and sedentary lifestyle normal. A lot of us are sitting at a desk for most of the day.
God did not design your body to be inactive. He has actually designed it to move. I can't tell you what type of workout or how much you need to work out that you would be a good steward, and I'm not saying it's required to work out to be a good steward, but I am saying that if you leave your body inactive you are being a bad steward. It was never meant to be inactive.
For some of you, the most honoring thing you can do tomorrow is to set your alarm, get up, and go run a mile. For some of you, the most God-honoring thing you could do is to get up, spend time reading your Bible, and remember that your identity and worth is not found in how your body looks. I don't know what that looks like for you. I can't tell you. A good principle is three times a week. Do that. Start at three times a week. Train your body through movement three times a week. Find a workout you like, that you enjoy.
Some of you might be like, "Man, I don't even know what to do anymore. What kind of working out should I do? Should I run? Should I do Pilates or any of that? Is it CrossFit?" Yes. The answer is CrossFit. I'm kidding…kind of. I am saying God has designed your body to move. When you leave it inactive you are actually taking away from the health God has meant for you to live in, and you are not worshiping him as well as you could.
B. Eat with purpose. Here's what I mean by that. We know God's primary reason for food was for fuel, literally to keep us alive. That is the primary reason, but he also made it for pleasure. We all know how worshipful eating a honey butter chicken biscuit can be. I need an "amen." Yeah, we know. That's okay. We know meals often are a great time of fellowship. Food is meant to bring enjoyment and pleasure, and that's a good thing, but what I'm asking is that you eat on purpose.
If you find yourself every time you're in a certain mood, you're a little bit down, turning to Blue Bell ice cream, that's maybe not it. To know how different foods affect your body. I would even go as far as to say eat more for fuel over pleasure or even how it tastes. Some of you are mad at me, including my wife. Eat for fuel over pleasure.
Here are three principles I got told that have been helpful for me that could be helpful to you guys: eat real food, not too much, mostly greens. It's a great principle. When you think about how you eat and eating on purpose in a way that will fuel your body, think about eating real food, not too much, mostly greens.
C. Sleep, because your body needs it. Our current culture is telling us, "You have to get up. You have to be a hustler." It's hard. I will tell you that sleep is difficult for me. There just seems like there are so many things. Sometimes, because I'm a little excited, I want to do everything, and then other times it's just because I believe it rests on my shoulders, that sleeping means something is not going to happen.
Not only does your body need it, not only is that meant to be where your body recovers, but it's a trust issue as well, people. When you go to bed at night, it is a trust issue. Even though all the world around me feels like I need to do all of these things, when I go to sleep I'm telling God, "Hey, I know you don't need me to do anything, that you're big enough, that you've got it under control." So sleep, and sleep well. Here are some of the ways that played out for us in this ministry called WELL.
When we were thinking about eating on purpose, we did a sugar challenge. For some of you, this could be a good principle for you to start with tonight. The sugar challenge is this. For two weeks, no sugar. Literally that. You didn't get to eat sugar for two weeks. Here's what it looked like. If you showed up to group the next day and you had eaten sugar, it cost 10 burpees. It didn't cost you 10 burpees; it cost everyone else 10 burpees.
So you got to be that guy like, "I'm sorry, team. The cake was awesome." Just that discipline, the discipline to stay away from sugar is incredibly hard, and that could be a good thing for you to start. It's like, "Hey, I'm going to go on a sugar fast. I'm going to tell my friends, 'Hey, we're going to go on a two-week sugar fast. At the end of that, we'll do as many burpees as many times as we ate sugar.'" It's scary. Try it.
The other one is we had a sleep challenge, where we had to be in bed at least eight hours. You guys are like, "This is craziness." On top of that, you couldn't have any type of caffeine, including chocolate, four hours before you went to bed. Then you couldn't look at your phone four hours before you went to bed, because that little blue light inside of your phone actually stimulates your brain and keeps you awake.
So we did a sleep challenge that was so helpful for me. First, I began to realize how attached to my phone I was, and then also I began to realize how I was not taking care of the body God has given me well, because I just wasn't sleeping. Again, to run through this: Train through movement, don't be inactive, eat with purpose, and sleep, because your body needs it.
We worship God with our body when we understand that it is his. It's where he abides. The Holy Spirit lives inside of us. So the way we steward it, the way we think about how we use it is it's no longer how it's going to make us feel or how it's going to make us look but if it is going to be honoring to God. I don't know what faithfulness looks like for you, but I am asking you to begin to understand your body is a gift. It was made by God for God, and it was made on purpose.
There's a show I love to watch. I bet many of you guys know it. It's called The Voice. Any The Voice fans in here? Yes. It's amazing. The Voice is incredible. If you guys don't know, it's a show where people can come and use their voices to hopefully land deals with all of these famous people. It's pretty amazing, because they've taken something away from the judges that's not normally taken away. They have all of the judges. They're going to listen to this person sing, but the judges are facing the opposite direction. They can't see the person at all.
So you have Adam and Christina and Blake down there listening, like, "Hey, you guys, do you hear it? Wow! Their voice is amazing. Are you going to touch your button? Are you going to turn around and pick this person and say you want them on your team?" What's awesome about it is that it has nothing to do with their looks at all. They don't know what they look like. They're basing if they want them on their abilities and what they can do and on their voice.
I think that's similar to how God looks at us. That's similar to how God treats us. It's not about the way we look. He's not worried about us on the outside. What has actually happened is God knows you, has made you in his image, and because he loves you, because he wants you, he has hit the button and turned around on you to choose you. If you don't know this God who has made you in his image, I want you to.
He has made you because he loves you. Even though all of us are broken, it's the greatest love story ever. When God made us, we at one point in our lives said, "Hey, God, we know you've made us to be in a right relationship with you, but we're going to choose to go our own ways." This really amazing, terrible thing happened. It's sin. Sin entered the world, and it broke the relationship you and I were meant to have with God. It's what causes our relationships with our bodies to be broken: this thing called sin.
The Bible tells us that all of us have sinned and that sin deserves death, but then God, in his love for us, sent his only Son to come and live on this earth, to live perfectly, and then, for all of the ways we have sinned against him, to die on a cross, literally a robber's death. He carried the sin. He bore the sin. He paid for the sin when he died on the cross and rose again three days later, conquering death so you and I can be restored back into a right relationship with God.
That's the God who has made you in his image. That's the God who has given you…each of you…your unique body. He has made you to glorify him in it. The world says you are at the center of your body and its image is your value. God's Word says God has made you in his image and that you are invaluable. I want to pray for us.
Father, we are thankful for you. I just ask that you would open the eyes of our hearts, Father, to recognize your incredible love for us and our deep and desperate need for you. Father, I repent. I repent of the ways in which I have treated and used my body for my own glory and not for you. I pray for all of my friends in this room. If this is the first time they have recognized or heard or understood that this body, this temple you've given them is not meant for their glory but for yours, Father, just change their hearts.
May we be people who are identified not in how we look but are identified by the love you have given us. You have died on the cross, and now if we have put our faith in Jesus, you now identify us as sons and daughters. Thank you again for this evening and the fact that we can open your Word up freely and we can begin to learn how you would have us live. It's in your holy and precious name I pray, amen.
David Marvin: Thank you, Josh. That was awesome and encouraging, from a brother who has spent years helping people experience what God wants us to experience as it relates to wellness and health, not for the sake of vanity but for the sake of bringing honor to him and experiencing part of the abundant life.
For some of you in the room, the most important thing you need to walk away with tonight is not that you need to wake up tomorrow morning and go do CrossFit or go do Camp Gladiator or go do whatever is in your regimen. It's that you need to stop focusing on the outside because there is a hole on the inside you have never addressed. You have tried to fill it with different substances, with different people, with working out, with money.
The eternal Creator said in Ecclesiastes 3, "I placed eternity in the hearts of men." It's a hole God placed inside of you so you would reach out and find him. The thing you need tonight more than anything else is not an encouragement to go get fit and "Let's all get a six-pack in 2019." What you need is to accept the free gift from the God who is so crazy about you he gave his own life for you, despite everything he knows, everything broken about you. It's no mystery to him.
Before you ever breathed your first breath, he was reaching out arms for you. It is the thing you came into this world craving, needing, wanting most. It is the thing that on your dying deathbed, with your last breaths, you will most need. Tonight is your night. He's offering the eternal gift, the gift of eternal life, if you will just by faith say, "God, I'm not trusting in what I do. I'm not trusting in how good I am. I'm trusting in Jesus. I have no shot but him."
If you are ever going to experience eternal life and the abundant life on this planet, it won't happen by you going to 24-Hour Fitness more. It's going to happen by you walking with Jesus, and that is the message you need to walk away with tonight. For others of you, you don't need to accept the truth because you already have, but you have bought some of the lies the world is selling you every single day, lies about who you are, lies about where your worth is, lies about what beauty is, and you hate yourself.
You look amazing. On the outside no one would ever know it. You have it all together. You're the prettiest girl or most handsome guy in your whole crew, and you're the person crushing every workout regimen, but you have bought lies as it relates to where your value is. Tonight, the challenge in everything, in addition to what Josh said, which was so encouraging and so helpful… What you need to do is speak the truth to yourself.
I don't know what that is, but from God's Word there are different truths that are the things you need to rehearse in your mind and replay over and over and over again, because we live in a world that as soon as you walk outside of these doors is going to say, "This is what beauty looks like. This is where worth is found. This is what you should look for in a spouse and look like if you're going to get a spouse," and you need to speak the truth.
There is power when you speak the truth, whether it is you rehearsing in the face of sin, temptation, or shame, "I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. That's who I am." Whether it is you saying, "I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I'm not going to find my value in the number on a scale. I'm not going to find my value in what some guy thinks of me. I'm not going to find my value in what the world and the Oscars and what everyone needs to look like. That's not where I find it, because all that's there is emptiness."
One of the things we see in The Porch week after week… For whatever reason, God has entrusted a platform where different people at different stages in different successful spheres are connected to this ministry or have been encouraged by it and will reach out and different things. Over and over and over again, despite the fact that they have everything you would ever want in life, despite the fact they look like everything everyone would ever want to look like, they're saying, "I'm empty, and I feel like I'm finding hope because I'm finding Jesus."
You need to speak the truth to yourself. When you wake up tomorrow and you are tempted to binge and purge again, you are tempted to hate what you see in the mirror… "I am fearfully and wonderfully made. My God makes no mistakes. Whatever was said about me in the fourth grade that I've carried around, that I'm big-boned and have big shoulders, I refuse to let that define me anymore. My God has made me. He makes no mistakes, and I'm going to embrace who I am. I'm going to know who I am. I'm going to like who I am. I'm going to be who I am."
If God is going to use you, he's going to use you as you trying to be you, not you trying to be me, not you trying to look like her, not you trying to look like him or trying to be anybody else. You need to speak the truth to yourself. There is power when we speak the truth. "This is who I am." Finally, some of you are walking alone. I don't know what goals or what you're trying to accomplish, but I know it is not likely to happen if you don't have others in your life.
You can just see the worldly example. The reason CrossFit has this crazy cult following with it is because they all come together, and it's like, "Hey, I'm in. Where were you, Barry?" We're all circling together. That is how you were designed to live, and that's what the Christian life is all about. God didn't say it's for CrossFit. The reason CrossFit is so popular is because God, from the beginning of creation, said, "It's not good to be alone."
You're meant to have others in your life, and you don't have those people. You're not going to experience the abundant health God wants. You're not going to experience a soul care God wants if you don't have other people. So tonight, there's a chance for you to take the next step and get plugged into community. You can go right down this hall.
If you're a guy, you can get in a circle with other guys who are just like you who don't have people walking alongside of them, and you'll take that step toward health in a lot of directions, primarily on the inside, but also it often leads… Discipline has this weird thing where it's contagious. When a discipline shows up in your life, it's like it invites its friends and you become more disciplined and more disciplined. You can step toward that tonight with other people in your life.
If you're a girl, you can go right down this hall and get connected with other girls to walk alongside of you. Finally, I know there are some who are here who have just bought the lies and don't even know where to turn. As a dad of a daughter, I have become so much more aware and much more cognizant (I'll speak just for the ladies) of how many lies are fed day after day after day. "This is what you should look like, ladies." It's a lie.
I also am highly aware that the same lies are fed to the men about where your worth is found and what kind of woman you should look for. You may not have anyone to turn to. You may be like, "I feel like I can't get out of this rut." We would love to pray with you, come alongside of you, connect with you at whatever degree you're interested.
We have an entire team that will be down front that would love to serve you in any way they can, whether it's about tonight's message… Maybe you just have an uncle who's sick and you want someone to pray for you. We'd love to pray for you, answer questions, recommend a good restaurant next. Anything we can do to serve you we would love to do. For the rest of you guys, that's all we have tonight. We love you all. Go in peace to love and serve the Lord this week.