Dieting, Botox, and Honoring Jesus with Your Body

Undistracting attractiveness is John Piper’s term for it.

It’s a vision for the Christian to steer a middle course between idolizing our bodies and neglecting them. It includes giving our bodies enough attention — with sleep, diet, exercise, and upkeep — to avoid being distractingly unattractive, and reining in our impulses to pursue a self-focused attractiveness that distracts.

Deeper Than Dieting, Botox, and Plastic Surgery

Your body is a precious gift from God. And the Bible is clear about its highest purpose: To make God look good.

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. (1 Corinthians 6:19–20)

And so Paul writes, “It is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death” (Philippians 1:20).

Beneath the flashpoints of dieting and exercise, botox and plastic surgery, lies this question for the Christian: Are we using our bodies in such a way that God is seen to be more precious than our bodies?

“People can tell if you’re focused more on the inner person of beauty than the outer person of beauty,” says Piper. He points to 1 Peter 3:3–4, which was written for women, but also is applicable to men:

Do not let your adorning be external — the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear — but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.

Caring for “Brother Ass”

C.S. Lewis called the body “Brother Ass.” It’s serviceable, and not too impressive, and we should be thankful when it does its job and gets us where we need to go. Like a loyal donkey.

And the best of bodies in this age will soon find their beauty frustratingly illusive. Says Piper, “The most voluptuous female body you have ever seen in your life is going to be ashen faced in a coffin before she knows it — and then where will be all the investments in that temporary, outward beauty?”

Today’s episode of Ask Pastor John also includes advice for singles who are especially eager to be fit and attractive to get attention from the opposite sex, as well as more on “present[ing] your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God” (Romans 12:1).