The Self-Care Craze: A Faux Gospel?

By Tess Lopez

Photo by Taryn Elliott from Pexels

We’re living in a bit of a self-care craze. Our culture tells us when we’re feeling down in the dumps, overwhelmed, or when something in our daily life goes awry; we need to apply some self-care. You know, a dedicated spa day; a shopping spree; throwing back an unlimited number of Oreos or our favorite brand of potato chips; or soaking in a warm bath without interruption from our kids—you get the idea. I’ll be the first to admit that I bought into this faux gospel. I am not saying that self-care, at its core, is sinful. God wants us to be attentive to and care for our bodies.

In 1 Corinthians 3:16-17, Paul declares, “Don’t you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you? God will destroy anyone who destroys this temple. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple” (NLT).

Paul proclaims, “Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.”

— 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NLT

These verses can apply to the individual and the church as a whole. Once we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, the Holy Spirit dwells within us, and anything we do physically, by extension, is done amidst the Holy Spirit. What an incredible responsibility; consider the implications! So yes, caring for our bodies is essential. Taking moments to restore and renew ourselves physically is something God cares about.

What our culture gets wrong is not suggesting we care for ourselves but how we go about it and where or to whom we go for that care. Retreating into self-indulgence is the cultural mantra we hear whenever something doesn’t go our way. It is a dangerous message. Not only is it being instilled in us that we deserve something good every time we are troubled, but we are neglecting a significant part of being human—especially Holy Spirit-filled humans.

God is our refuge and strength,

always ready to help in times of trouble.
So we will not fear when earthquakes come
and the mountains crumble into the sea.

Psalm 46:1-2 NLT

God allows Christians to go through hard times and stressful situations. No doubt, we will face them. But the beauty of these verses is in addition to reminding us that these moments are simply a part of life, God also provides a solution: He is our refuge and strength. Neither an Epsom-salt bubble bath nor hours-long rendezvous at Target with a Starbucks in hand will provide shelter and strength or solve our troubles.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

These things are not inherently evil. However, always turning to these things as a solution instead of turning to our Heavenly Father when we have a problem is a mistake and can become idolatry, which is sinful. 

God is clear that He’s always there for His children. When overwhelmed, He listens to our tear-filled prayers for peace and solitude. When we are injured, His Word is accessible, telling us not to take revenge on our enemies but to leave justice to God. We don’t need self-care; we need Him, His grace, His comfort, and His love. 

Scripture taken from New Living Translation.

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