1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.
Recently, a commercial has been running on TV for 23 and Me, a genetic research company. It is a well-done, thought provoking presentation. It begins with the narrator asking the question, if you could have only one car for your entire life, what would you do the maintain it? Then he states that you will have many cars, but you will only have one body. That one body has to last for your entire life.
As a society, we have separated our body from our soul. For most people, their spiritual life, however they define that, is private and mostly intellectual. They do not see that their spiritual life has any real bearing on what they do physically in life. They see their body as a separate and independent entity. The popular mantra of the day is that “I am in control of my body.” This usually means that I am free to do with my body whatever I wish, without regard for any outside set of standards. No one has the right to tell me what I can or cannot do with my body.
This is not a new concept. The ancient Greeks saw the physical body as a prison for the soul. They viewed whatever they did with their physical body as separate from their spiritual being. Some chose to abuse their body as a means of subduing it. Many others chose to indulge their physical body, because it didn’t really matter. Whatever happened in the body was of no consequence. This duality has been carried on, throughout the ages, in one form or another.
Many Christians today still struggle with this duality. Because of a misunderstanding of the Scriptures, they believe that the physical body is evil and only the spirit is good. Many view their faith as purely internal and spiritual, without any real connection to their physical body. They may not indulge in immoral activities, but they also fail to see that how they use their body is a reflection of their connection with Christ.
Paul was constantly fighting this battle with the new Gentile believers. He wanted them (and us) to understand that our body and soul are inseparably connected. What we believe in our heart should be reflected in our physical actions. In the same way, our physical actions will affect and modify what we believe. Paul stressed that what we do with our body in the physical realm matters spiritually.
In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace. (Romans 6:11-14)
As followers of Christ, we do not have the right to use our bodies in any way that we choose. God has taken up residence within us, through the Holy Spirit. We have become an abiding place for God on earth, therefore, we need to honor God by the way we use our physical body. We belong to Christ and should honor Him in everything that we do. We are not masters of our body, but stewards of it. We will one day have to give an account of how we managed our physical life.
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. (2 Corinthians 5:10)
Our world wants to convince us that our spiritual life is separate and irrelevant to our “normal” physical life. We can be “good Christians” and still indulge in the pleasures of this world. But that is a lie from Satan. If we are going to be genuine followers of Christ, we need to follow Him body and soul. What we believe must shape how we live, and how we live must reflect what we really believe.
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.