As we examine God’s principles for self-care, I want us to think about why it’s important to take care of our bodies.
According to the news, those of us who are privileged to live in Douglas County live in the healthiest county in the state of Colorado. Nearly every day, I see someone walking, running, riding a bike.
If you see me running, do me a favor and don’t call an ambulance. Call the police: I’m probably being chased.
Rather than give workout tips, I’m going to share spiritual benefits of taking care of our physical bodies through exercise, good diet, and rest.
The principle is simple: Our physical health and spiritual health are connected.
Today’s passage was written by the Apostle Paul, a late convert to Christianity who writes often about what it means to follow Jesus.
12 “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything. 13 You say, “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food, and God will destroy them both.” The body, however, is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. — 1 Corinthians 6:12-13
While the original context is about sexual ethics, don’t miss Paul’s larger point: God designed your body with himself in mind.
We tend to think of our physical bodies as separate from our spiritual identity. How does God see things? In God’s eyes, they are connected.
Our bodies are for God. But just as important, God is for the body.
14 By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also. 15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! 16 Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.” 17 But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit. 18 Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. – 1 Corinthians 6:14-18
According to Paul, are we simply machines? We have machine-like qualities such as the ability to do math in our heads and lift heavy objects. We have internal systems designed to regulate our temperature. But we are more than a collection of neurons and blood cells.
As Christians, our bodies are members of Christ. We have a shared oneness with Jesus that connects our physical body with his spiritual reality.
As author David Prior reminds us, “Obedience for the Christian is a body activity … His concern is not for abstract acts, like adultery in theory, or immorality in theory, but his concern is for the whole person who does these actions.”
Why is this the case?
19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? – 1 Corinthians 6:19
The same power that raised Jesus from the dead is alive in you! When God put his Spirit inside of you, your body became a temple of God.
Now let me ask you … How would you feel if you saw someone vandalizing a holy place like a church or synagogue? Would it make you a bit angry? Would it motivate you to do something?
If Paul were in a courtroom, the following would be his closing argument.
You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
If you are a Christian, what is the ultimate reason for being a good steward of your body?
Your body doesn’t belong to you. You were bought at a price. What was what that price? It cost Jesus his life.
For most of us, when we think about redemption and salvation, we only think in terms of being forgiven and no longer living in shame. In reality, it’s much more than that.
Is the goal of taking care of my body just to live longer or better? No – it is a very tangible way of honoring God.
According to biblical wisdom, our choices matter. Let me share a personal story as we draw this to a close.
When my mother was in her late forties, she was diagnosed and treated for breast cancer. As many people of her generation, she had started smoking as a teenager – long before Surgeon General warnings.
By the time science had connected smoking to various cancers, my mother was deep into addiction.
Since I was only ten years-old at the time of her double mastectomy, I honestly don’t remember if she had tried to quit before then. What I do remember is how the cancer was a game-changer.
Following the surgery, the doctor gave her two options: keep smoking and it will kill you or stop. To my mom’s credit, she stopped cold turkey and never smoked again.
That was almost forty years ago but I learned a very important lesson: your daily choices and habits will either improve or harm your life.
If the way you behave is not adding to your quality of life, it is most certainly subtracting from it.
Experience and Background
- Professor at Warner University
- masters in business administration (mba)
- presenter at the WFX National Conference
- former president, Church Planters of the Rockies
- helped start 2 for-profit tech companies
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