My Body…a Temple?

120/365 days of blogging.

Our culture appears to be obsessed with physical perfection.  Youth, beauty, and strength are valued, and in some cases, worshiped.  As believers, we should not worship our bodies, but should take care of them.  When we don’t, we shorten the time that God had intended for us to work for His Kingdom.

Nearly half of all American adults make at least one New Year’s resolution , with losing weight or getting into better physical shape topping the list.  In a culture that celebrates and sometimes even obsesses over the human body, especially a young and beautiful one, it is easy to see what prompts such resolutions.

But, to tell the truth, many people have a more pressing problem than growing older, loosing weight, or even trying to make their skin more beautiful.  Many Americans have allowed our fast-food mentality to propel them  in the direction of breaking “promises” or resolutions.

As people in society have become over weight, many have given up on the idea of losing weight, or even of taking any steps toward getting into better physical shape.  Still others neglect or misuse their bodies through other means such as alcohol and drug abuse.

As Christians, we need to understand that because our bodies belong to God, we should develop a lifestyle of caring for them without obsessing over them.  Our loyalty to Christ should compel us to be good stewards of our physical bodies.  We should take a cultural stand by modeling healthy lifestyles that bring honor to Christ.  What?  You mean we can honor God by taking care of our bodies?  That’s exactly what I mean, and that’s exactly what the Bible teaches.  Let’s see what it says.

Roman’s 13:12-13:  “The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.  Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy.  But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.”

Paul used two images in these three verses that are important to all of us.

  • The first image is light.  Just as light in a room enables us to read and to see more clearly, the light of truth from God’s Word enables us to live the kind of life He wants us to live.
  • The second image is time.  We see this vividly in verse 12.  Our years may not be the same, but each of us has 24 hours in each day. (although I am convinced that God puts 28 in my day) and Day by day we choose how we will spend our time.

In Proverbs 23:20-21 Solomon warns us against associating with winebibbers.  “Do not mix with winebibbers, Or with gluttonous eaters of meat;  For the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, And drowsiness will clothe a man with rags.”  Winebibbers are people who drink too much alcohol.  Unholy associations can drag down even those individuals who do not participate actively in drinking.    In verses 29-35 Solomon fired off dire warnings of varied and painful consequences for those who abuse strong drink, including quarreling, fights, injuries, physical impairment, confusion, talking out of one’s head, dangerous loss of feeling, and drowsiness.   Drinking can form an addictive behavior that can snuff out the drinkers desire to quit.    The passage does not explicitly prohibit the use of alcohol; however, we are wise not to give the slightest approval for even “responsible” drinking.  Avoiding the use of alcohol altogether will keep us from succumbing to its dangers and from compromising our Christian witness.

Solomon also included a warning against associating with “riotous eaters of flesh.”  In today’s day and age we might describe such people as individuals who gorge themselves on food.  A glutton is someone who has demonstrated a lack of restraint in controlling their eating.  These individual harm their own bodies through unchecked indulgence and excess.  They eat for the immediate gratification of their own appetites.  Such attitudes are often found in people who also are stubborn, rebellious, disobedient, and wasteful.

If we cannot control our eating habits, then we likely will have great difficulty reining in other practices too, including those relating how much money we spend (and how we spend it), and the kind, amount, and type of entertainment we choose.

We are called to align ourselves with Christ.  This involves but is not limited to avoiding things that harm us physically and practicing a healthy lifestyle.  When we make choices in every area of our lives that only results in what is pleasing to God and only God, then and only then can we consider ourselves exhibiting Christ like behavior, submitting to His will.

 

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