My body, my choice, right?

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 “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.”

There are two issues I have had with trying to understand the meaning of this verse: ignorance and rebellion. It’s difficult as women in modern times to understand what it means for our bodies to be a temple. Then, even if I somewhat know what it means to be a temple, I haven’t always wanted to embrace the idea. Over the years I’ve heard “your body is a temple,” and chosen to ignore it. I didn’t feel like a temple, didn’t believe I ever could be, and didn’t necessarily want my body to be a temple. That part in the verse about my body not being my own? Hmmm. I can give God my time, treasure, and even my dreams and aspirations, but do I really have to submit my body, too? Ignorance and rebellion are a pretty lethal combination. Perhaps you can relate.

Actually, ignorance is a poor excuse for rebellion. If you get pulled over for speeding, the officer usually doesn’t care that you didn’t see the speed limit sign, you’re getting that ticket. Unaddressed ignorance becomes a wall keeping us from becoming our best, and keeping us from God’s best for us. The devil likes to hang out on that wall and pile on more bricks. Let’s not be ignorant when the answers are right there in God’s word. The book of 1 Chronicles is said to have been written to remind God’s chosen people they were from the line of the infamous David, a man after God’s own heart, who was chosen and anointed to be king. 1 Chronicles 22:19 is King David talking to Israel (God’s people) about helping his son Solomon to build the temple.

“Now devote your heart and soul to seeking the Lord your God. Begin to build the sanctuary of the Lord God, so that you may bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord and the sacred articles belonging to God into the temple that will be built for the Name of the Lord.”

            If you are like me, you may be feeling a bit guilty right about now that you have not exactly built a sanctuary worthy of God’s sacred articles. We have to remember that God doesn’t give guilt trips, he convicts. Guilt keeps us from confession and repentance. Jesus died to atone for our rebellion, the price he already paid for us was hefty. When we accept that gift we are immediately and forever free from the weight of our sins, andwe have the bonus gift of the Holy Spirit in us. We may not have always honored God with our bodies, but we can start now, and we should. I think part of the reason I never wanted to accept the idea of being a temple was I thought it would mean being inside a box, tied down, prohibited from doing what I wanted. That is a lie Satan told me. Being a temple of God means freedomfrom guilt, shame, anxiety, the pressures of this world, and even freedom from our own limitations. The power of submission is that we now have his strength and don’t have to rely on our own

            There is no guilt in that passage, but there is a lot of conviction. No matter where you are in your health journey, you can start today to devote your heart and soul to seeking God, so that he can transform you into a temple that will honor his name. 

In the passage before 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 the author uses indulgence in food and sexual immorality as examples of what God does not want us to do with our bodies. Unfortunately, in our culture we are bombarded with both of those almost everywhere we look, and they are widely accepted and encouraged. Thankfully, God knew this would be the case and he gave us the Holy Spirit (just like the verse says) to be our strength and compass as we dare to be different. What’s keeping you from being your best self? What step can you take today to start becoming the temple he created you to be?

Personal reflection:

1.    What barriers have you experienced in accepting your body as a temple?

2.    If you truly devoted your heart and soul to becoming his temple, what more could you do in his name?

3.    What is one thing you can start doing today to start building or better maintain your temple?