Your Body is a Temple: So Why Live in Chains?

ky1w7eac5em-maarten-van-den-heuvelYour body is a temple. Everyone loves to quote this passage of Scripture. You’ll likely hear it anytime someone is encouraging you to work out or eat healthier. In it’s original context, however, Paul is talking about so much more than just exercise and diet:

12 All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything. 13 Food is for the stomach and the stomach is for food, but God will do away with both of them. Yet the body is not for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body. 14 Now God has not only raised the Lord, but will also raise us up through His power. 15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take away the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? May it never be! 16 Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a prostitute is one body with her? For He says, “The two shall become one flesh.” 17 But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him. 18 Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? 20 For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.

Paul begins this passage by pointing out that not all things are profitable for us and that we shouldn’t be mastered by anything. And while Paul is talking about food, specifically the levitical dietary laws of the Jewish people, he is encouraging his readers to live morally in all areas of their life. He writes that the body is not meant for immorality. This passage echoes the words of Peter that encourages us to “… be holy for He (Christ) is holy” (1 Peter 1:16). The believer is to strive for holiness in all areas of their life; including their diet and fitness.

The line that speaks to me the loudest from this passage is, “but I will not be mastered by anything” (v. 12). When it comes to food, I am easily mastered. At 368 pounds, food was my master. And I must confess that even now, it tries repeatedly to put me back in chains.

Paul is calling on all believers to glorify God in their bodies. He tells us to flee immorality and not be mastered by anything be it food or sexual sins. Why does he specifically mention these two areas of our lives? Maybe he knew these would be the two areas most of us would struggle with the most.

We live in a world where we are constantly tempted toward sexual and dietary immorality. When you’re watching tv tonight, count the number of commercials that appeal to your desire for food, sex, or both. In our culture, you can’t watch a prime-time sitcom without seeing commercials featuring bikini-clad models eating bacon cheeseburgers. The world wants us to trip up and wants to place us in chains.

Paul writes, “I will not be mastered by anything.”

We need to embrace the notion that our bodies truly are temples of the Holy Spirit.  If God has called us to be holy in all aspects of our lives than what we eat and what we think about matters to Him. I’m not saying we’ll go to hell for eating pizza and cheeseburgers, but I am saying we need to foster a healthy relationship with the foods we eat.

If God has called us to be holy, we have a higher calling in diet and fitness than just looking good and feeling good. We are honoring Him when we eat healthy and exercise. 

I’m still striving for holiness when it comes to my diet. I’m thankful I’ve lost some weight, but I’m aware that I’m not there yet. I’m trying to embrace moderation in diet and regularity in my exercise. Why? Because I’ve been bought with a price and I want to glorify God in my body.

If your Body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, why live in chains!

Books read in 2012: No. 12 – Heft On Wheels

Title: Heft on Wheels: A Field Guide to Doing a 180
Mike Magnuson
Completed on March 20, 2012

In his memoirs Heft On Wheels, cyclist Mike Magnuson tells the story of how he replaced an obsession with cigarettes and booze with an obsession with all things cycling. In the process, he dropped somewhere in the neighborhood of 80 or 90 pounds. Throughout the entire book there is the feeling that one bad spill or stressful day is gonna send Magnuson right back to the bar stool.

I enjoy this book because it is real. Magnuson is inspirational without trying to be. At nearly 300 pounds at the beginning of his journey, when Magnuson writes of being spit off the back of a pack of riders you can feel the persistence and stubbornness his passion for riding required of him. His journey is inspiring even if it isn’t necessarily healthy.

Ultimately, this book is about balance. I appreciate it because I possess the same kind of obsessive personalty as Magnuson. I’m an all or nothing kind of guy and it takes a tremendous amount of effort for me to obsess over the “right” things.

Books Read in 2012: No. 10 – Can't Swim, Can't Ride, Can't Run: From Common Man to Ironman

Title: Can’t Swim, Can’t Ride, Can’t Run: From Common Man to Ironman
Author: Andy Holgate
Completed on February 25, 2012

A few months ago I began a diet program. I’ve had mixed success in my endeavors having lost 30 or so pounds and then hitting a wall. My wall is more a failure of will rather than ability. I’ve grown tired of the effort it takes me to lose weight. In my twenties and thirties it seemed I could lose weight at will. In my forties it seems every pound lost requires excruciating effort. One of my favorite activities however is cycling and I have long harbored a desire to train for and complete a mini-triathlon, so I picked up Andy Holgate’s book looking for inspiration.

The title of his book is encouraging as the subtitle reads – From Common Man to Ironman. Certainly, the book would be filled to the brim with tips for my lazy butt to get into gear, right? Wrong. The book wasn’t exactly what I had in mind and Andy Holgate didn’t exactly go from “common man” to ironman. Rather, he went from being a fairly talented recreational runner to being an ironman. Holgate began his journey to ironman from a point much closer to the destination than I am currently located. However, I still found the book to be quite enjoyable.

Holgate has an engaging sense of humor. His book reads like a journal of his ironman accomplishments over the last few years and I couldn’t help but root for him as he attempted to challenge himself to new heights. When following his journey the reader can’t help but develop an affinity for Holgate and his assorted cast of friends. In the end, his journey does offer inspiration for the aspiring athlete … just not the type I had in mind.

I’m not sure if I will be able to get back on the fitness horse and ride to a mini-triathlon, but I did enjoy reading Holgate’s book. I recommend it for anyone interesting in learning more about the world of triathlon.