“My physical life is an amazing gift, but my spiritual life is a treasure of infinite value. Because I belong to You, I will live with You forever—enjoying a glorified body that will never get sick or grow tired. Thank You for the priceless gift of salvation by grace through faith!”
– Jesus Listens, September 5th
Tracy spent another restless night tossing and turning in bed, wondering if in the morning she would see the results on the scale she was hoping for. She knows weighing herself is a fool’s game, but she can’t help herself. She needs to know. That time she tried embracing her body and learning to trust her hunger cues felt initially empowering. Still, given one stressful day at work, by that night, she found herself doing the things she had hoped would be put to rest by learning to embrace her body as good and to trust herself with good stuff like food.
God looks at the heart
Tracy knows her body is the temple where God’s spirit lives, making her feel more like a failure when she can’t seem to live up to God’s Word. She knows God looks at her heart, but the world looks at her body, and she cares what the world thinks. This only compounds her feelings of shame because she knows she shouldn’t care. No matter how many Scriptures Tracy reads, Bible studies she takes, positive body declarations she makes, or small group confessions she has, Tracy still feels stuck on her body.
But Tracy isn’t stuck on her body. Tracy’s brain is stuck, going into survival mode due to troubles in life that cause her pain. Living in a survival state can get us to take our next breath and think the next hopeful thought, but a more holistic view of the love of God is to consider that God didn’t give us a body for surviving this life, but to embody the life of God. God isn’t only looking for a soul to save, but a mind to fill, a mouth to speak, and a pair of hands and feet to do His will—because His love has overcome troubled hearts.
Looping into survival mode
God wants all of us. Being a lover of God is an embodied thing. Think about it: our bodies are how heaven gets seen. Living a life in which we do greater things for Jesus requires us to have a body to think, say, and do heavenly things. We get to think, say, and do heavenly things until earth looks more like God’s Kingdom.
So, of course, Satan—who opposes the advancement of God’s Kingdom—does everything in his feeble power to keep us focused on what we see as problems and what we feel as pain. He keeps us looping into survival mode, focused on what we can touch, taste, and see, like our failing body or plummeting bank account. If the one who opposes God can keep us focused on the trouble in our lives—like seeing our bodies as a problem to solve—he can keep us from the joy of living free and doing God’s will.
Troubles and fears
On the last free night of Jesus’ life, He served His friends by filling their bellies, washing their feet, and preparing their minds for the future. Jesus pulled no punches, informing them that the world will hate them because they have loved Him: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NIV)
In this world, we will have trouble. And troubling times cause stress and pain. Tracy’s body isn’t a problem. The problem is our enemy, the troublemaker who insists on keeping us focused on our pain.
Troubles and fears we focus on release a cascade of stress chemicals in our bodies, and living in a constant state of stress isn’t just bad for our souls, but our bodies too. Living in a state of worry or stress changes the organization and structure of our brains, making it difficult to think, feel, and choose what’s best. It can also down regulate our immune system, making us more susceptible to sickness and disease.
But in John 16:33, Jesus also gives us a battle plan for loving and following God with our whole life: “Take heart!” How do we take heart? In Jesus we find peace—like the bleeding woman who makes a beeline for Jesus. We can take heart by taking a breath when trouble comes. We can take a moment to recognize we are being hated, then run to the One who is our refuge, protector, healer, and peace.
Jesus told us how hated we would be, so we wouldn’t stay stuck in survival mode when troubled. We can go to Him to get what the world cannot give. While the world is busy looking for the magic bullet for their bodies and bank accounts, we can make a beeline to God and receive something greater—His peace.
About The Author
Alisa Keeton is a wholehearted pursuer of God’s love in heart, mind, soul, and strength. A fitness professional for over 30 years, she is the founder of Revelation Wellness, a nonprofit ministry that uses physical and mental health practices to spread the gospel by inviting participants to become integrated and whole beings through biblical teachings, online events, productions, and in-person retreat experiences. Alisa is the author of The Wellness Revelation, Heir to the Crown and hosts, and her newest book, The Body Revelation. She hosts the popular Revelation Wellness podcast with over 7 million downloads. Alisa lives in Phoenix with her husband, Simon, and they have two children, Jack and Sophia. As a family, they are on a mission to change the world with the kind and courageous love of God.