I found this amazing and convicting article on Proverbs 31 Ministries after attending Corban University’s Women’s retreat. I went to a break out session (at the retreat) on health and the speaker read this article to us. Powerful stuff.
“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.” 1 Corinthians 6:19 (NIV)
For years, I cringed every time I read a verse about honoring God with my body and my body being the temple of the Holy Spirit. I wanted to please God. But did it have to be with my body? I had set out with great enthusiasm to get healthy so many times but always slipped back into complacency. I didn’t want to try and just be reminded of my failures again. Then I found the most interesting story in the Old Testament about how serious God is about people taking care of the temple entrusted to them. It stepped on my toes and messed with my heart in the best kind of way. Before the Holy Spirit was given to us and our bodies became the temple, there used to be physical locations for the Spirit of God to dwell. In Haggai chapter 1 God’s people had returned from being in exile in Babylon. One of the first things they set about doing was to rebuild the temple. They started with great enthusiasm and wonderful intentions but slowly slipped back into complacency and eventually stopped their work on the temple all together. Other things seemed more urgent, higher priorities, and all together more appealing to work on. Haggai 1:2-8 says: “This is what the LORD Almighty says: “These people say, ‘The time has not yet come for the LORD’s house to be built.’ ” Then the word of the LORD came through the prophet Haggai: “Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?” Now this is what the LORD Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but have harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.” This is what the LORD Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build the house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored,” says the LORD.” Oh this reminds me just how divided my heart can be when it comes to taking care of my body – God’s temple. Like these Jewish people, I could easily say, “I’m not in a season where it’s feasible to take care of my body. I just can’t find the time between the kids, my work responsibilities, running a home, paying the bills, and all the day to day activities.” However, if I was really honest, I made time for what I wanted to make time for. Just the same, the Jews who returned from Babylon obviously had time to do things they really wanted to do as well. They found the time and energy to put paneling up in their own homes while ignoring the home of the Lord. So, where’s the hope? I found it in the challenge the Lord issues in verse 7: “Give careful thought to our ways” and make time to “build the house” so that he may be honored. Verse 8 says, “Go up into the mountains.” In other words, escape the ruts of my same old patterns by heading onward and upward. Give careful thought to each decision I make from here. I realized each decision mattered. So, every day I started waking up and lifting up my willingness to head in a new direction to the Lord. As I took positive steps, the Lord strengthened my heart day by day. One good decision turned into two, turned into three, and eventually turned into victory. Like my Pastor says, “You must do what only you can do. Then God will do what only He can do.” Slowly, I rebuilt my temple and learned to honor God with my body. Me. The girl who used to cringe at the thought of this verse. Sweet sister, if I can do it, so can you.
Dear Lord, I want to honor You in every way. I want to honor You with my mind – help me release the excuses. I want to honor You with my heart – help me make taking care of my body more of a priority. And I want to honor You with my body – help me look at my body as Your temple and make caring for it a priority. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Thank you Lysa for these thoughts! I’ll never read that verse the same again (dang it!)