Honoring God

“Don’t you know 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 (NLT)

This coming Sunday at brunch, I am excited to ask my kids how they think we honor God as a family. I anticipate hearing responses like: we go to church, we pray, we love God, etc. Then I intend to ask them how we could honor God more as a family. I hope to get answers like: argue less, love each other more, be more generous, etc. We will see!

In this passage of scripture, God is asking us to honor Him with our bodies. Yes, the specific context of the passage is in regard to sexual immorality. And you might say, “hey … I’m good there, so that box is checked!  Move on.” But I don’t think that’s all there is to it. I don’t think honoring God with our bodies stops at sexual morality. Paul wrote this letter to the Christians in the city of Corinth — a city where sexual immorality was rampant. In other words, Paul wrote about sexual immorality because  that was the most prevalent sin against the body in the city to which Paul wrote the letter.

What might Paul see as the most prevalent sin against the body in our era? What might Paul see as the most prevalent sin against the temple of the Holy Spirit in America? In your town?  In your home?  In our overindulgent society, I think there might be several ….

So let me ask you — how could you honor God with your body?  You are not your own.  You were bought with a high price.  How could you honor Him more?

Seasons

“There is a time for everything; a season for every activity under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NLT)

My favorite form of exercise is cardio. If you were to ask me at any given time what type of exercise I’d like to go do, 90% of the time I would choose a cardiovascular one. However, right now I am in a season of trying to add muscle mass. So, right now, I am in a season of having to increase my weightlifting time and decrease my cardio time. Right now I am in a season of having to make choices that go against my natural tendencies.

Is it a choice I make begrudgingly? Oh, on some days, perhaps. But on most days, I choose it willingly because I truly desire the alternative outcome and know it’s best for me. I choose it willingly because I have the long-term objective in mind, and this is a necessary season for me to go through in order to achieve that objective.  (See also Long-Term View, October 2, 2014 post).

There are seasons in our spiritual journeys too. Sometimes we are in seasons of deep Bible study because we need more of God’s Word implanted in our minds. Perhaps other times we are in a season of needing more to live out the Word we already know instead of gaining more head knowledge. Or perhaps you are in a season where you need to cut back on the external activities because you really need to do some deep soul work. Or maybe just the inverse — maybe you have focused enough on your own soul and need to focus more on the souls around you.

The seasons of the soul that God takes us through are necessary to form us into image-bearers of Jesus. Some seasons may not be our favorite. But if we keep the end game in mind, we just might start to embrace each season because we know it is integral to that which we really desire — becoming a better reflection of Him.

So what season are you in?

You

“So our aim is to please Him always, whether we are here in this body or away from this body.” 2 Corinthians 5:9 (NLT)

Who are you? If I were to ask you that, you would probably start offering a list of adjectives describing yourself. Some of those adjectives would describe your personality, like and dislikes, etc.  Others would, most likely, include physical descriptors such as tall, brunette, pretty, whatever. It’s only natural, right? It’s part of who were are.

Or is it?

Part of what Paul is talking about here in his second letter to the church of Corinth is that God has prepared a new body for us in heaven — an eternal body. We will leave these “earthly tents” (v. 1) when we die, & we will put on a new heavenly body. Anyone who has stood at the bedside of someone who was dying has seen this reality in living color.

It stands to reason, then, that if you leave your body, your body is not you. You are something much more profound. You are you, something inside your body. And Your body is, instead, a vessel … a container of you.  Said differently, it is the container in which you live and move and have your being. As such, I would argue that your body is  a gift — an amazing, beautiful, complex gift that God has given you to steward during your lifetime. Yes, it will pass away (as will money, time, resources, talents, etc.) … but unlike all those other gifts you steward, your body is with you your entire journey.

God has given you a beautiful gift.  It is your body to use throughout your entire earthly journey.  It is the vessel in which you live and move and have your being.  It is, arguably, your most precious gift.  Every ministry act you ever make is made through it.  Every act of kindness, charity, love or generosity is made through it.  And only you can care for it and steward it well.

Long-term View

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:11 (NIV)

You know what my least favorite part of parenting is? Disciplining my kids.  It’s really hard for me sometimes to go through the struggle, opposition and upsetness (is that a word?), and all the while maintaining a calm and positive composure. But when I do it right, I’m focused on my kids’ development and what’s best for them long-term. I want them to learn the things that will benefit their future lives.

I wonder if that’s how God feels when He disciplines us?  Part of Him hates disciplining us, but He loves knowing what we can be in the long-term.  He loves the fruit He sees in our lives when we are trained by it.

Exercise can be like that. Sometimes there are days we’d rather be anywhere else but working out, but the long-term view keeps us there. Just today, I was NOT in the mood for doing bicep curls, but hope for future benefits kept me there.  The discipline of working out is a faith exercise.  (See July 9, 2014 blog entry.)

God has formed so much of life to grow our long-term view. Exercise is one. Parenting is another. Faith, of course, is the ultimate one.  Most of our journey on earth is aimed to grow us and form us and benefit us for eternity.  Most of this part of the journey is to prepare us for what is to come.

So how’s your long-term view?  Does momentary pain prevent you from long-term gains?  Does immediate inconvenience keep you from future benefits?  I pray the promise of discipline for you and for me.  Try using exercise as a platform to grow your long-term view … and allow all of yourself to be trained by it.