“Hear o Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” Deuteronomy 6:4-5 (NIV)
The SHEMA is an ancient Jewish prayer that is arguably one of the most important prayers is Judaism. It is recited in the morning and evening prayer services. It begins with “Hear o Israel: the LORD our God, the LORD is one.”
As Christians (Judeo-Christians, to be specific), we have come to understand The Lord as three in one. God is one, and yet God is triune — Father, Son and Spirit. There are three aspects, or three faces, of God … yet God is still one. I believe that one of the ways God made us in His image is that He made us triune. We too are one and yet triune — body, mind and spirit. And God has asked us to worship and love Him with all of who we are. God desires for us to love Him with our heart and our soul and our strength — with our complete triunity.
God didn’t have to make us with a body. But He did. God doesn’t have to give us a new body in the afterlife (why not let us be all spirit?), but He will. (See e.g., Romans 8:23, 1 Corinthians 15:45-58, & 2 Corinthians 5:1-10.). For His reasons, God values the body. And he asks us to love Him with all that He made us to be. Let us worship and adore God with this body, while we still can.
“I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.” — 1 Corinthians 3:6-7 (NIV)
The risk in discussing fitness — in discussing fitness in a Christian context — is the implication that I am adopting the world’s standards of health & beauty as mine for fitness. May it never be! Anoerxia, bulimia, plastic surgery, enhancements and the like are all symptoms of a culture that is striving after an unrealistic ideal the world has set up.
Instead, I believe that each one of us is fearfully and wonderfully made by God (see Psalm 139:14). I believe God created each of us as unique individuals, and the bodies He gave to each of us are as unique as our individual thumbprints. God has an ideal “you” in mind — the one He created since the beginning of time. Yes, that includes your talents, abilities & contributions to His kingdom … but I believe it also includes the body He gave you. It includes the temple He entrusted to you. (See March 27, 2014 post). He wants to see all aspects of you renewed and redeemed.
So the point is not to strive after (or settle for) thinness or beauty as the world defines it. The objective is to care for this temple He has given us and, in the process, perhaps discover more of its true, inherent, God-given beauty. Our job is to care for the temple — to nourish it, strengthen it, stretch it, cultivate it, care for it, replenish it. The results are up to God.
So forget the ideals and goals the world lays upon you. You care for the temple. Leave the results to God.
“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought with a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” I Corinthians 6:19-20 (NIV)
As a Christ-follower, I have heard numerous sermons on this verse over the years. Almost all of them have been about one of three things: sexual impurity, addiction or, perhaps, self-mutilation. While I whole-heartedly agree that God doesn’t desire those three things for us or our bodies, I also believe He has so much more in mind.
What if we began a dialogue about treating our bodies as something beautiful and holy that God created? (Which, of course, He did). What if we began to care for our bodies in kind, caring & respectful ways? What if we thought about fueling it properly, strengthening and growing it to its fuller potential, and ensuring it received the rest that it needs? What if we began to see our bodies as one of the most amazing gifts that God has given us and began to steward it accordingly?
I think it’s time to reclaim our bodies as something sacred. How about you?