Do you love your body?
Our bodies are a big part of who we are. Our bodies are how we present ourselves to the world. They are what everyone sees when they look at us.
Did you know that your body is a temple?
Just think about this concept for a moment. There are temples, shrines, churches, mosques, basilicas and other places of worship all over the world. Many of them with unique architecture, intricate designs, and colorful stained glass.
All of them are buildings – made by human beings, designated by humans as places of worship. I have been to many places of worship, beautifully built, truly magnificent sites – its amazing to see what human hands can create.
Now think about this. There are temples in existence that were hand crafted by God Himself.
The God of the Universe intricately designed you and me, each detail important – down to our DNA. He created us to be able to contain His presence.
“So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” 1 John 4:16
God – The Almighty Creator of the cosmos – is able to abide IN us. To live IN us.
This concept is pretty difficult to fully grasp when you think about the greatness and splendor of God. How is it that God would want to live inside me? Inside this deformed, imperfect body I’m in?
Paul says plainly:
“Do you not know that your bodies are temples 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 bodies.” 1 Corinthians 6: 19-20
Often we think of worship as a purely spiritual experience. Have you ever considered the fact that worship might be a physical experience too? That we could somehow, worship with our bodies?
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” Mark 12:30
Here we see there are several aspects of worship, and they include every part of our beings. Worship includes our heart, mind, soul and strength. Strength can be mental, it can also be physical. And I don’t think physical strength is left out here – I think it should be highlighted.
I lived in Prague a couple of years ago and while I was there I visited the Cathedral at the Prague Castle. What a splendid place! HUGE stained glass, secret passageways, a multitude of colors, detailed carvings, it was magnificent. Inside, there were signs posted indicating that the noise level was to be kept at a minimum. Why? Because places of worship should have an atmosphere of reverence. If anyone started behaving obnoxiously or speaking loudly, they were removed from the Cathedral.
I visited the Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi once, and before entering I was asked to put on a garment that covered my head. In muslim culture, covering the head is a sign of reverence. An outward symbol of a humble heart. Before entering the covered, indoor area of the Mosque, I was asked to remove my shoes, another sign of reverence and humility.
It is pretty common knowledge that when visiting a place of worship, a certain atmosphere should be maintained. Just knowing that the Spirit of God could be in that place is a very humbling thought.
So I got to thinking. If my body is a temple – a place of worship, created by God Himself for the purpose of His living in me, how should I treat my body?
In today’s society it is common to hear about eating disorders, obesity, self-abuse, and other ways we mistreat our bodies. Its also common to see piercings, tattoos, and revealing or obscene clothing. I don’t want to pass any judgement, because I myself have chosen several of these things in the past – but do you think there are habits we should adopt to be sure that we are caring for our bodies in the most optimal way? Could there be a certain appearance that reflects our belief that our bodies are temples?
Now I am not suggesting that we all have to look all the same or like flawless models to be holy temples. Not by any means. God created us all different shapes and sizes, with unique characteristics and beauty. Im suggesting that we honor the way God created us to be by being more kind to our bodies.
This means something different for each of us. And just to give you an example, Ill share a little bit of what it means to me.
For me, that means eating less carbs, sugar and fried foods. It means choosing water over coffee when I wake up in the morning. It means knowing how to use makeup in a natural way instead of using it to look like a different person. For me it means not getting any more tattoos because God didn’t design me with them. It means washing my hair more than once a week so I look clean and presentable. For me it means not putting drugs or alcohol into my body. It means getting adequate sleep by going to bed early.
Inside and outside, we must learn how to care for our bodies. We have to find out what is best for our bodies and then put it into practice. Lifestyle changes can be some of the hardest to implement, but I believe they can be the most rewarding. When we treat our bodies better, they treat us better.
Today my challenge for you is: Figure out what “honoring God with your body” means to you. Ask God to show you how you can better treat your body so that He will love to dwell in it. Learn to treat your body with kindness, love and patience.
When we learn to love ourselves, we learn to love others. And it all starts with loving the One who created us.
Brothers and sisters, in light of all I have shared with you about God’s mercies, I urge you to offer your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice to God, a sacred offering that brings Him pleasure; this is your reasonable, essential worship.