Transformed: Physical Health

Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body. – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 [NLT]

Saint Paul and the Greeks. Sounds like a cool name for a rock band, right? But I’m talking about the Apostle and the ancient culture. They did us a disservice when it comes to seeing our bodies from a positive, spiritual perspective.

Greek culture had a dualistic view of our nature. They believed that our bodies were corrupt, and our spirits were pure. For some Greeks that meant that they could do whatever excess they desired with their bodies and it just didn’t matter. What mattered is that when you died your spirit was finally set free from your corrupted flesh.

And then there’s Saint Paul who, unfortunately, used the Greek word “sarx”, often translated “flesh” to describe our sinful nature.  For instance, in Galatians 5:16-17 Paul writes, “Live by the Spirit, I say, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. For what the flesh desires is opposed to the Spirit, and what the Spirit desires is opposed to the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you want.” Paul isn’t talking about your body here; he’s talking about our corrupt, sinful human nature.

This double-barreled blast has convinced many people that their body is bad, evil, unspiritual, something to be ashamed of (the covers of Vogue and Men’s Health don’t help either). Consequently, we don’t think of our physical health as a spiritual issue.

But we’d be wrong.

Your body is a gift from God. You may not think you have the body of a god or goddess, but your physical body is a miracle, a masterpiece, a marvel of divine engineering. In fact, the Bible says that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit and we are called to honor God with our bodies. In other words, what you do with your body matters.

Need a few God-honoring habits to nurture your body? Here are my five favorites:

  1. Exercise daily.
  2. Drink plenty of water.
  3. Eat a healthy, balanced diet (click here for some helpful guidelines)
  4. Meditate and/or journal to reduce stress
  5. Laugh lots and hug often

Who knew that being spiritual could be so much fun?

What three-month goal could you set to honor God by caring for your body?

Jeff Marian serves as lead pastor at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Burnsville, MN

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