“Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred and you are that temple.” 1 Corinthians 3:16-17
Sometimes I think there is a general feeling that God doesn’t care all that much about our physical bodies. After all, what’s on the inside is what counts, right? But, I realized through my studying of Scripture on this very subject that God does care a great deal about how we treat our bodies.
To really make a permanent behavior change rather than just dieting, I have to constantly think about and change my perception of obesity. While many folks in our country struggle with their weight (myself included!), I realize that overeating and overindulging is actually sinful. [I’m not pointing the finger at anyone but myself here – after all, I’m just learning this myself].
The above verse notes that my physical body is the temple where God’s Holy Spirit lives. By overeating and giving into the laziness that seems to come so naturally to me, I’m destroying the very place where God desires to dwell. Yikes!
Why does it matter to God? I can’t begin to express His thoughts (other than what I read in the Bible) but some basic observations make me realize how important it is to be physically fit. For one, I heard a speaker who started a blog about being fit for service. There are times that God may call us to serve in an area where it will demand us to be physically fit – whether that’s able to go with less food on a missions trip or lifting children or running with a broken-hearted friend. It’s next to impossible to serve others if we ourselves are not in good health. Next, I also know from experience that when we’re carrying more weight than we’d like to be, we’re less likely to jump into social settings. We shy away from invitations to swim or gatherings where we feel awkward in our own skin. Being able to share Jesus comes most naturally when we feel confident in who we are. Finally, I think that we are able to relay what hope we’ve found in God when we are practicing good self-discipline in all areas of our life. Would you take advice from a drug addict? If the answer is no, why should someone take advice from you if you’re not free from an addiction to food?
While this may sound harsher than I mean for it to, I think a reality check sometimes is a good catalyst for change. I know for me, it was a humbling conclusion to come to when I realized that I was wearing my sin where everyone could see it. But, humility is a great place to start when you’re desiring a major life change! As the Bible says in 1 Peter 5:5, “God gives grace to the humble.” And, if you’re desiring major life change in the area of weight, then you’ll need a lot of that grace! It’s only by God’s power that we’ll be able to break free from addiction and start the path to being fit for His glory and service. May we continue to walk in the hope He gives us!
Dear Lord, it blows my mind that the Creator of the Universe would want to have His Spirit dwell within my temple. Please help me treat my body like the holy temple you’ve called it to be. Remind me, Holy Spirit, when I go to make a poor choice that You desire a better life for me. Thank You, Father God, for Your unending grace in this process. Please keep us humble and walking with You. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!