“After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body just as Christ does the church—for we are members of his body.”
Now, some of you that know this chapter of Ephesians really well have probably already started thinking, now that verse isn’t really about self-care or exercise – it’s about the relationship between a husband and wife – so you’re taking it out of context and …
Settle down, Karen.
Yes, that is where Paul is writing about Christian households and the marriage relationship. He’s been through the “wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do the Lord” (which, by the way, does not mean do whatever they tell you to do, but we’ll address that another time) and has moved on to “husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy….”
So, in this verse, feeding and caring for your body is a metaphor for the way that Christ cared for the church, which is a metaphor for the way that husbands are to care for their wives. There’s a bit of a breadcrumb trail to follow, but I think they’re easy dots to connect. There are a couple important points to make here:
We are to care for our bodies the way that Christ did for the church. To reiterate, that means to give yourself up to make it holy. Now, I think moderation is important, so I’m not saying if you’re eating anything but green smoothies you’re disobeying. Sometimes they serve cake at church. Jesus made bread and wine. But if you’re starving yourself to achieve an aesthetic, that’s not God’s plan for your body. (No, intermittent fasting doesn’t count as starving yourself.) If you’re drinking to excess, that isn’t God’s plan for your body. If you don’t do any type of exercise at all, that’s not God’s plan for your body. See my point?
We are to care for our bodies the way that we care for our spouses. Read that again, ladies. Women especially tend to care for others first and put ourselves last on our own lists. It seems selfless, right? Except that when you do this, you diminish your ability to care for others. Not getting enough sleep? Not nourishing your body with food that’s good for it? Not moving your body in a way that feels soothing, healing, challenging, or however you like your workouts to feel? Then how are you doing for your spouse, kids, friends, coworkers? You need to give to yourself the way that you want to give to them, or you won’t be able to.
And if that’s not enough, I included verse 30, “for we are members of his body” to remind you that we are all part of the body of Christ. When you think of it like that, like your body helps make up His, how does that make you want to care for it?
Thanks for stopping by! Stay tuned for more Biblical inspiration for self-care! Feel free to drop a comment below, use the Contact Me page, or DM me on Instagram @torigwrites.