Tuesday, August 12

The Temple

“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

This verse really ought to revolutionize our concept of body image. Does it really matter if we look like those gorgeous people on the big screen or in magazines? No! However, our bodies are not our own to do with as we please. We don’t have be concerned about what size we fit into, or what our body fat ratio is, but we DO have an obligation to take the best possible care of our bodies. God knit us together in our mother’s womb, and he knows how many hairs are on our heads, so he must care how we take care of our bodies. Have you ever given someone a gift that you either made by hand or saved up to buy for a really long time? After you gave that precious gift to them, would it have upset you if they abused it and neglected it, and it fell apart too quickly? That would indicate that they didn’t care about your gift and it would be very disrespectful to you as the gift-giver. When we abuse our own bodies — whether through lack of exercise, poor diet, over- or under-eating, smoking, using drugs, engaging in sexual immorality — we are disrespecting God.

This earthly body is a gift, individually hand-crafted by the Creator of the universe. It is also the temple of the Holy Spirit; God lives within us! Back in old testament days, God’s spirit lived in the temple (also called the tabernacle: basically a really big tent) and the Israelite people had to go there to worship him. He appeared to them as a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. When it was time to relocate, the pillar moved, so the people packed up the tabernacle and moved wherever God’s spirit led them. An important note: there were very specific rules about how everything in the tabernacle must be handled, and those who did not obey these rules were immediately struck dead. That shows just how important and holy the tabernacle was because it housed God’s spirit. When Christ died, there was no need for that tent or tabernacle anymore, and after he ascended to heaven, he sent the Holy Spirit to live in his believers. Those who believed in Christ became the tabernacle. If you have accepted Christ, then the Holy Spirit lives in you; this means that your earthly body houses the Spirit of God! Think back to those rules about caring for the tabernacle — don’t you think God wants us to care just as well for our bodies since he lives within us?

I don’t always eat perfectly heathy food, but I’m working on taking better care of my physical body. Not long ago, I began taking exercise more seriously because I realized that if I’m not at my best physically, then I am limiting what I can do to serve Christ. True, he can use anyone, even very sick or frail bodies, but I have an obligation to be at my best — whatever that may be. Our “best” will vary for each of us, but God knew that when he made us. He doesn’t expect us to be perfect. We’ll get our perfect bodies someday, but for now, I do believe that we should show respect and honor to God by taking the best care of these earthly bodies that we possibly can. Remember, God paid a very high price when he sent the Holy Spirit to live within us: the death of his son Jesus.