How to Treat Your Body as a Temple
[Guest Post by Amy – I love this thought from Amy today, and if you haven’t read her first article entitled The Pit of Depression, you won’t want to miss that one either! I always appreciate it when guest posters ask to post again (hint hint).]
I grew up in what I like to refer to as the “The Deep South Land of Southern Baptists”.
I learned the books of the Bible, about Abraham and Moses and all the other Biblical heroes, and of course that drinking or dancing would lead to complete moral destruction.
I also learned about the all important Pot-Luck Dinner. One of the main theological tenets of the Southern Baptist World is the Pot-Luck. It is hallowed, set-apart, and holy.
It’s also killing us one bite at a time.
There were many Bible studies about treating our bodies like the temple of God, but it seemed to always revolve around pre-marital sex. Somehow I turned those lessons into a presupposition that all verses that talked about our bodies were ultimately talking about sexual sin. And no one ever taught me that was wrong. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one.
It wasn’t until I was older that God opened my eyes to the fact that there are other aspects of my body as well.
That my body is the vehicle I get through life with, and if I allow it to breakdown then future ministry will be out of the question.
When you truly start to pray and seek God about how to treat your body as a temple, verses you’ve heard your whole life suddenly have little light bulbs going off over them.
“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
“If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple” (1 Corinthians 3:17).
“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).
“For you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:20).
And I could go on and on.
When you start to think through the fact that God does care about your body, focus seems to shift. No longer is it “I want to lose 10 pounds to fit in my old jeans”, but “I want to lose 10 pounds because they will eventually hold me back from doing something God may be calling me to do.”
If we continue to abuse our bodies and pretend that what we put in our mouths does not matter, then we may be “benched” a lot earlier than God had planned for us just due to diabetes/heart disease/cancer/etc. that were caused by our lack of concern.
The book Every Body Matters, by Gary Thomas, is an amazing book that should be a wake up call for every Christian. One of my favorite quotes from his book is this:
“We are not angels, pursuing God without physical covering, and if we try to pretend that we are – living as though the state of our bodies has no effect on the condition of our souls – all the proper doctrine in the world can’t save us from eating away our sensitivity to God’s presence or throwing away years of potential ministry if we wreck our heart’s physical home” (Gary Thomas).
I think it’s time that we as Christians wake up to the fact that it is a spiritual pursuit to live healthy lives.
We need to hear this from the pulpit.
Then maybe our neighbors and friends will not only know us by “our love for each other”, but also by our unusual health and vitality to serve the Lord.
May we all be on this journey together.
Amy is a new west Texan and loving life where there isn’t so much humidity she has to wear her hair curly. She blogs about the messiness of life and living with depression and anxiety in an authentic way and with a little humor sprinkled in. Come visit at www.piecesofamy.net.
[Photo: scrambldmeggs, Creative Commons]