By Brock Bondurant
Romans 12:1 – I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
While we want to be transformed by the renewal of our minds, we are more than just a mind. Our mind itself dwells in a body that allows it to operate through a complicated array of physiological processes. We are more than just “thinking things.” We are complex – fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14)! We are intricately interconnected – mind, body, soul – with every dimension of us having direct effect on the others. We cannot give ourselves over to spiritual formation without doing something with our physical body. Our body is where we reside. There is nothing that we can do apart from it.
For a long time, we’ve been led as Christ-followers to disregard our physical bodies, relegating them as nothing more than temporary clothing of our souls at best, evil vessels to dispose of ASAP at worst. But I simply cannot believe this to be the view of the Bible, let alone our God in Heaven; the God that came to dwell among us, putting on our flesh, living in a body, and showing us how to work out our salvation.
If God himself dwelled within the confines and limits of a physical body then the body itself must be of significant worth and value. I believe he came to in-dwell a body in order to show us the way to be human (on top of granting us salvation through a righteous life and sacrificial death).
So this week, let’s focus on honoring our body, taking care of the vehicle of our soul; the temple of the Holy Spirit. I certainly believe that there is more to the above verse than just living healthy lifestyles, but definitely not any less! And we have to be careful not to glorify our body which is idolatry, but rather to glorify God through our body. We want to be good stewards of the body gifted to us, but ultimately be willing as Christ was to offer it up as a sacrifice, because we believe that there is more.
So how do we glorify God in the body? First we have to assess where we’ve been dishonoring our bodies or even abusing them. What are my current health habits? Do I get enough sleep? Do I eat healthy food? Do I exercise regularly? Am I giving over my body to any sort of sexual immorality? What are the consequences of these habits in relation to my health and worship of Jesus?
Primarily, I want us to think of getting adequate sleep, eating healthier, and getting exercise as ways to enhance our worship. While honoring our bodies goes much deeper than this, let’s start with one simple tip to break the stigma of exercise to feel better and take care of ourselves.
We’ve made exercise to be a “necessary evil” that we have to do in order to [insert your fitness goal here]. But what if God meant for exercise to be something we enjoy? What if we receive dopamine when we work out as a way to motivate us to do it more? Maybe a simple practice we can do is find a movement that brings your body joy. Is it a hike on a nature trail? Crossfit? Riding your bike? Walking your neighborhood? What movement sparks joy as you do it? Make it a habit. Invite others to do it with you. That’s the heart of exercise: finding movements we enjoy that promote health and intimacy with the Lord.
Your body is infinitely valuable, relevant, and beautiful – for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body (1 Corinthians 6:20). Take care of yourself. Don’t neglect the wonderful gift given to you!