The Human Body – A Shadow

The human body is an amazing creation. It never ceases to amaze me how many spiritual truths we can see when comparing the human body to the spiritual one, the Church. We can do this because everything in this physical world is a shadow of Christ. By Him, through Him, and for Him, all things were created. Everything we see came out of His being and reflects some portion of Him. Therefore, I believe we can appreciate and understand the Church, Christ’s body, much more, when we look at our own human bodies. One thing that is important to note is that the Church or the Spiritual Body, is different to the human body in that we experience our bodies as individuals, whereas the body of Christ is experienced corporately. We also have full control over our human bodies, whereas Christ who is the Head controls the body of Christ. With this in mind, here are some points I’d like to highlight.

1. Our bodies get hungry and thirsty. Our bodies have a neat way of telling us when we are hungry or thirsty. We all know when we are hungry, but there are some obvious symptoms. Our stomach starts to grumble and even ache, we may feel light-headed, and our mouths start salivating at the thought of food. With thirst, dry mouths, dizziness, etc. are symptoms. In the same way, the body of Christ get’s hungry and thirsty. In close-knit corporate community it is easy to notice a spiritual hunger or thirst. Sometimes this is seen as a bad sign, but actually it’s quite normal. It’s natural to get spiritually hungry or thirsty, just as it’s natural to get physically hungry or thirsty. The Body is given a signal by the Head, that it’s time to eat. There’s only one type of food we are required to eat – Christ. If we do not have a steady diet of Christ, we will become a spiritually malnourished body, weak and ineffective in it’s functioning. Thus, when we feel spiritual hunger as the Church, we must eat.. but not just anything.. We must eat of Him. Eating of Him is enjoyable and we will feel fully satisfied.

2. We can eat the wrong things. If we eat the wrong things there is a risk of getting fat or even sick. Yes, there’s unhealthy spiritual eating. If you eat too much junk food, you feel bloated and unhealthy. In the same way, if we eat spiritual food other than Christ, we may become unhealthy, fattened on things like knowledge or doctrines. There is even such a thing as food poisoning in the body of Christ. The body will stop functioning the ways it’s supposed to until the toxins are removed. The body has a natural mechanism for doing this, but it can take some time.

3. The body needs time to digest. During and after eating of Christ, there is a sense of enjoyment and satisfaction. However, once we’ve eaten food, it takes time to actually digest it so that it becomes useful to the Body. Naturally, we must not keep on eating once we’re full. Our bodies tell us when we have eaten enough so that it can start digesting. This means we must give time for the members that make up the body to absorb all the goodness from the food – Christ. This means that the Church is not always trying to devour new things, but goes through times of really experiencing and gaining from what has been received already.

4. The body needs time to rest. Digestion often happens when we are resting, but sometimes our bodies are simply tired and worn out. Our bodies normally rest for about 1/3 of our lives. It is something that is completely necessary so that we can function properly. It is the same in Christ’s Body. The Church must have periods of rest where we are rejuvenated and restored in energy. We often feel like we always need to be doing things, but this can be unhealthy for the Body. There must be times where we do nothing but simply let Christ be our rest.

5. It takes time to grow. Growth in the body of Christ takes time. It is only from eating Christ, digesting, and resting that we will slowly notice growth in the Body. Growth is never instant. It’s a process, and we must learn to appreciate the slowness of it. The mistake we often make is to focus on outward growth in the Body of Christ, but in our physical bodies we hardly even notice we have grown or changed (only when you are very young is growth quite noticeable – the same with a young Church). All we need to worry about is actually eating. If we eat of Christ, we know we will eventually grow and mature.

I hope this adds some valuable perspective on what the Body of Christ looks like and how it functions in a practical sense. In the natural all of these things are obvious, but we somehow miss them in terms of the Church. I hope and pray that we as the Body of Christ can learn to eat, digest, rest, and grow in a natural way.


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About the author

Nathan Odell Nathan Odell is the author of Joined to Him. You can connect with him on

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