Summary: Exploring what is meant by the concept of honouring Christ with our body.
“In every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice.
“Yes, and I will rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again.
“Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God. For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.”
Slandered! Threatened! Beaten and brutalised! Imprisoned! This was life as an apostle. There was nothing easy about being a believer in the early days of the Faith, and to be identified as an Apostle meant extreme hardship. Near the end of his earthly days, the Apostle wrote of the pressure he faced because of his faith. This is what he wrote of his life. “Whatever anyone else dares to boast of—I am speaking as a fool—I also dare to boast of that. Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they offspring of Abraham? So am I. Are they servants of Christ? I am a better one—I am talking like a madman—with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to fall, and I am not indignant?” Then, the weary saint speaks a pointed truth when he writes, “If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness” [2 CORINTHIANS 11:21b-30].
Life as a Christian is never easy—not if it that life is real. Life as one who would honour the Master is demanding. Because this life is challenging, because this life is demanding, it calls for men and women of integrity. If someone invites you to be a Christian, endeavouring to induce your agreement by stating the benefits of the Faith without warning of the consequences of accepting this Faith, they are dissembling. God is not seeking those who long for ease of life; because He is God, He is worthy of our best.
The Faith demands commitment of those who name the Name of Christ. Opposition will only increase as the Age nears its consummation. Moreover, the opposition will come from within as well as without. In his final warning to the elders of Ephesus, the Apostle Paul warned, “Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them” [ACTS 20:28-30].