Written by Candace Maxymowich of Winnipeg, Manitoba

Imagine a world where everyone looks like Barbie or Ken. Try to imagine yourself as Barbie or Ken, talking to the other virtually identical dolls. Would you like yourself? Would you think you were as pretty as them? Would you be envious?

We honour our bodies – what the Apostle Paul calls God’s temple – by honouring the creative and passionate calling of God in our lives, not by trying to form our body into a culturally palatable shape or shade of colour.

Having the body of your dreams isn’t your ticket to happiness. Happiness is learning to love the skin you’re in.

Creation care starts with our bodies. As Christians, we need to learn a proper perspective on true beauty. We are bombarded each day with images from the world telling us what we should look like. Honouring and caring for our bodies means we do what we know is good for them. We exercise, sleep and nourish ourselves – for Him.

Our bodies are important in that they enable us to serve the Creator. We live in a culture obsessed with appearance, in which millions of dollars are spent on health and cosmetic products. But what does God say?

The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7).

When we focus on where we fall short in the looks department, perhaps we tend to blame God for making us the way we are. There is nothing the enemy would enjoy more than getting us to feel ugly and useless. We need to see there is only one way to authentic perfection, and that is through Jesus Christ. The perfection He brings is not the same kind we are seeking in our physical bodies.

Jesus is a great example of somebody who was a cultural critic. We can be encouraged to follow His example by challenging the norms of our society today and questioning some of the dominant values that many people take for granted.

Jesus challenged His culture and the norms that everyone else accepted. We should wake up to the messages from our culture that encourage unhealthy thinking and behaviour.

The Bible is full of stories that critique social injustices and social norms that are harmful to people. That is a fundamental message in Scripture – stories of new creation and transformation. We need to be in God’s word daily so we have true images of beauty put in our minds.