“… Let us cleanse ourselves from everything that can defile our body or spirit. And let us work toward complete purity because we fear God.” 2 Corinthians 7:1 (NLT)
If you ever wondered if God cared about the body, read Paul’s letters to the church in Corinth. Paul’s message is clear : It matters to God what we do with our bodies!
First of all, God created our bodies, breathed life into them, and called His creation very good. (Genesis 1:26-2:7)
In doing so, He has given each of us a unique and individual gift (our own body) to grow and steward and care for every day of our lives.
And He made it clear that it matters to Him how we care for it. For the nation of Israel, God gave many laws about what to eat, what not to eat; what to touch, what not to touch; when to work and when to rest. And for the church, Paul echoes the principle of devoting all of who we are to the Lord — that the body also matters in our devotion to God.
So as I aim to raise the value of returning health and fitness to the realm of the sacred, I constantly have to evaluate my own progress in that journey. And, as it is with the other aspects of ourselves that we devote to God (e.g., mind and soul), the process of devoting my body to God IS a journey. And real journeys generally do not go up and to the right all the time. Some seasons are better than others; some harder. Sometimes it’s two steps forwards and one step back. Sometimes it’s victory in one aspect with defeat in another. And my journey is the same. I just pray that it’s always moving forward….
So as you examine your life and your whole-life devotion, remember that God wants all of you. Don’t stop at considering just what might defile your soul, but also … as Paul reminds us … what might defile the body as well. And when things go wrong (because they do), don’t let the evil one use it to beat you down. Remember that God is the author of process … that Jesus understands our weakness … and victory has already been won for us (although we have yet to lay hold of it). Just get back up. Seek to learn what it is you need to learn, and never give up. In our weakness is His strength. We just need to find it.
If you are like me, you want to devote everything to Him. I like to say, “All of me, all for you.” That’s the goal, but I fall down. And God in His love and mercy responds to my cries for forgiveness and lovingly picks me up.
Someday I’ll get all the way there, but He will have brought me home by then. So until then, I’m in the process ….