Summary: 1. Your body is a gift of God. 2. Your body is not be misused. 3. Your body is to bring glory to God.
Our bodies are very important to us. We feed them, care for them, groom them, pamper them and pleasure them. We go to spas and get messages. We are very conscious of our body and its appearance. Most of us have gotten on the scales this past week. We know our blood pressure, our cholesterol count and our triglyceride level. Many of us are on a diet or wish we could discipline ourselves to be on one. An average trip to the grocery store includes lotions, sprays, creams, soaps, perfumes, shaving supplies, mouthwash and make-up — all for our bodies. We love our bodies whether we think we do or not. And then, on our way out of the checkout line we are greeted by magazines showing us people with beautiful bodies and faces. So now we have young girls and women ruining their health and looks with eating disorders like bulimia and anorexia. One of the most beautiful girls in a church I served died from bulimia. Another woman who was related to one of the members of the church got some form of plastic surgery every year. The body is now everything. We bathe them. We adorn them. We tan them. We look at them in the mirror.
We are supposed to take care of our bodies. They are God’s gift to us. But we are not to become preoccupied with them — either with how great they are, or with their imperfections. All of this has led some people, to one degree or another, to stop paying attention to their bodies. They don’t do anything to make themselves attractive. They don’t take care of themselves. Some even stop bathing. Their clothes are unkempt. They don’t care about what they eat. After all, they reason, if I am truly spiritual I won’t care about my appearance.
The ancient Greek philosophers taught that the material world was evil and only the spiritual world was good. It carried over to the dichotomy between body and spirit. The body was evil and the spirit was good. Because of this a heresy sprang up in the early church known as Gnosticism. Gnosticism taught that Jesus did not have a real body, since he was the highest form of spiritual life. They also taught that since the body was evil, it did not matter what a person did with their body, and did not affect their spiritual life. One could love God and visit prostitutes at the same time. Paul specifically wrote against this heresy saying, “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 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.’ But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit. Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body” (1 Corinthians 6:15-20)
How do we honor God with our bodies? The first truth that will consider is that you need to recognize that: Your body is a gift of God. Much of our angst about our bodies is what other people think about them. We wish they were different because people have made fun of us, or we have accepted the unrealistic standards with which our culture has inculcated us. We look in the mirror and rehearse all the things that are wrong with us. But what would happen if, instead of disparaging your body, you gave thanks to God for your body — just the way it is? What if you recognized you are exactly the body type that God wanted you to be? What if you gave thanks that your face is the result of his design — and so is every other part of your body? What if you stopped trying to be somebody else and began to thank God for who you are? What if you stopped trying to live up to the world’s standards and began to realize that God has made us all unique, and he finds our uniqueness beautiful? There is no one like you in the world. That nose of yours — just the way he likes it. Those feet — his design. What about those ears — his artistry in order to make you unique.
It was Jesus who said, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?” (Matthew 6:25). As believers, we are not to be so preoccupied with our appearance that we are paralyzed by self-consciousness. Our thoughts are to be on doing good for others rather than focus on ourselves.