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(19) Or don’t you know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you? Don’t you know that you have the Holy Spirit from God, and you don’t belong to yourselves? (20) You have been bought and paid for, so honor God with your body.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (CEB)

Hello Readers, hope all’s well. Time for another post.

It’s my great pleasure to inform you that the day I wrote this post, I enjoyed a refreshing swim in the morning. I’m sure you’re happy to know about that. I went to a nice, quiet little pond and river very close to my house. It’s an off-the-map, hidden place. One of the perks of living in the countryside. And swimming is one of the best and most pleasant ways to get good exercise.

But I’m not writing about my swimming pond today. I’m writing about health and exercise more generally. You may wonder what health and exercise have to do with Christianity. But I say both are fundamental to Christianity, since our bodies are temples for the Holy Spirit. We must respect and care for our bodies.

So today I highlight a few ways we can be healthier and show greater respect to our bodies. A couple ways we can make our bodies a more pleasant home for the Holy Spirit.

As you already know, this is an extremely broad topic and if I get started, I could go on and on and on forever. But I don’t have that kind of time and neither do you. So I will limit my comments to three areas: fighting obesity, abstaining from alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs, and getting proper rest.

Let’s get started.

Temples for the Holy Spirit

Let’s start out with the scriptural truth all my statements rest on. Our body is a temple for the Holy Spirit, who is in us. So we should honor God with our body. This well-known passage can be found in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20.

(19) Or don’t you know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you? Don’t you know that you have the Holy Spirit from God, and you don’t belong to yourselves? (20) You have been bought and paid for, so honor God with your body.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (CEB)

Fight Obesity

To be fair, this section refers to sexual immorality, and abstaining from promiscuous and immoral sexual behavior. Paul was not talking about fighting obesity and the sedentary lifestyle— which weren’t big problems in the ancient world.

But the phrase “honor God with your body” in verse 20 applies to any health choices we can make that our ancestors didn’t deal with. Even if Paul never foresaw the obesity epidemic and other problems we face today, I know he would agree with applying verse 20 to modern issues.

So what’s the big problem with obesity?? Well that such big topic, I won’t even get into it because it’ll only be a distraction. The health risks from obesity are very well known with plenty of research done on the subject. Obesity can take decades off our life span while aggravating all health problems.

It’s not God’s Will for us to die decades earlier than He wants us to. (But he will not override our free will to make this self-destructive mistake.) We should take all reasonable and moral avenues for naturally extending our lives if we can. At the very least, we should make all reasonable and moral efforts to be as healthy as we can. For one thing, that will make our time here on earth more pleasant for us.

But the important part is about honoring God with our body. If we are obese from a bad diet and lack of exercise, we aren’t honoring this body the LORD gave us for our life here on earth. Now yes, it is a corrupt flesh, which I often talk about here, but we must still respect it because God gave it to us.

We were created in God’s image, every one of us. Is God obese and slothful?? Of course He is not, so we must honor Him with our body and stay in the best shape we can. This is not about “getting ripped” and having a bodybuilder’s physique. This is only about being healthy and staying in shape to respect ourselves and to honor God.

For more about food and Christianity, check out “Food: A Spiritual Balancing Act.”

Say No to Drugs

Alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs are destructive to the body. Alcohol is a literal poison, cigarettes cause cancer, and drugs are many kinds of harmful. If we take these things into our body, we are harming and even destroying our body. It only gets worse with the addictive potential of these poisons, which makes it bitterly painful to stop once we start.

We don’t honor God with our body when we harm ourselves with literal poisons. And we don’t honor God with our body when we become addicted; especially once that addiction becomes more important to us than the LORD. Which it always will.

Many Christians are OK with consuming alcohol in moderation, but I don’t do it. I don’t drink even one drop, which I recommend to everyone. Since I gave up drinking years ago, I really lost nothing of value or interest. I can’t think of any positives that drinking added to my life. When I gave it up, I didn’t give up anything special. Some people talk about the health benefits of moderate amounts of alcohol per day. But those minor benefits can be found in many other places; there’s no need to consume alcohol to get them.

As Christians, we must preserve the health of our body and mind as best we can to honor God with our body. That means we must abstain from cigarettes and drugs, and strictly limit alcohol. If we drop alcohol entirely, that’s even better.

For another post on alcohol, check out “Alcohol: A Gateway to Sin.”

Rest

The last category I’m sure will be everyone’s favorite. Rest, relaxation, and sleep. We all need it, and we don’t do right by ourselves when we overlook it. Like the other categories, there is plenty of research on the benefits of getting enough sleep as well as taking longer periods (about a week) of rest and relaxation two or three times per year. There is also plenty of research on the risks of not getting enough sleep and rest.

Even God rested on the seventh day, showing us the importance of taking a break from our labor. If God rested, who are we to think we don’t need to rest?? Why do so many people today celebrate “the grind” and working themselves to death with no rest??

It’s a cultural problem, that’s what it is. We live in a fast-paced, nonstop, 24-7 culture where the activity never stops. This means for the individual who has to live and work in the society, we don’t get (or don’t take) enough rest from our labor. Too much work with no rest for too long takes a heavy toll on our physical and mental health. This is not the way to honor God with our body. How does it honor God if we can’t continue the good works He planned for our lives because we worked ourselves to the bone and suffered burnout??

As Christians, we must reject the insane demands of our culture for nonstop labor and productivity. Nonstop labor and productivity don’t create a balanced life, and isn’t the way to honor God with our body as 1 Corinthians 6:20 commands.

For more on getting enough rest, check out “Balance Is Divine” and “Balance or Burnout.”

We only Get One Body

Like I said before, I could go on and on forever about the topic of health and wellness. But I won’t, because this isn’t that kind of blog.

All I wanted to do today was bring up a well-known passage from Scripture, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20. The command to honor God with our body goes far beyond sexual immorality, which Paul was writing on in chapter 6. Since our bodies are temples for the Holy Spirit, we have a Christian duty to respect our temple and keep it in the best condition possible.

We all have our own failings, which could be related to the categories above or they could be different. Of course we all fall short of the mark sometimes, and that’s what we have Grace for. But when we know we’ve slipped up in these or other areas, we have a Christian duty to do what we can to get ourselves back on track.

We only have one flesh body, and it was given to us by God, so we must treat it with care as our temple for the Holy Spirit. That’s how we can honor God with our body here on earth.


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Until next time, be strong and do good!

Your new best friend in Christ,

99:9

<<<EXALT THE LORD OUR GOD AND WORSHIP AT HIS HOLY HILL; FOR THE LORD OUR GOD IS HOLY>>>


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