A call to realize your essential part in the Kingdom
I’ve been thinking about our bodies. The human body is truly remarkable. We are living, breathing, working masterpieces created by God himself. Each unique part of our bodies has a purpose, all the way down to the most microscopic cellular level.
Being raised in an evangelical tradition, I feel like I lack a theology of the body. I grew up feeling like our bodies were completely separate from our spiritual lives. My body was something to be beaten into submission or it would lead me into sin. “Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit '' only meant that we should not sin and so profane the temple. It rarely meant that we should regard it as a holy and set apart work of God that houses His Holy Spirit.
I’ve since come to realize that we cannot separate our bodies from our spirit. If we were meant to separate these two things, then why did God create these unique “machines” with emotions? With hormones? With desires? With an amazing ability to experience beauty and pleasure?Our bodies are not just cages for our souls. We are a living organism created as an image-bearer of the one true God. Click To Tweet
Because our bodies are not just cages for our souls. We are a living organism created as an image-bearer of the one true God. And just like each and every one of us together creates a picture of who He is (thus negating the validity of any sort of racism, but that is an entirely different subject…), each and every part of our body was created with a purpose in the overall scheme of life. There’s a higher purpose for every part; each part contributes to something greater than itself. Every part is important.
Even more telling, of all the things God could have used as an example of how the Church should work, He chose to use our bodies as one of the primary illustrations of how Christians should cooperate. If our bodies were something to be feared, ignored, or misused then certainly it would not have been used as a metaphor for His most precious possession—His Bride and His Body.
But back to the body for a minute. It was uniquely created and therefore has a unique set of needs to keep it working at an optimal level.
Our bodies were meant to move, therefore we need movement. Our bodies were meant to consume, therefore we need nourishment and certain vitamins and minerals. Our bodies were built with a need to rest, therefore the circadian rhythm was created to cause us to be awake during the day and sleep at night for restoration. Our bodies were created with a need for physical touch and relationships, so we seek out other people to share our lives with.
Any breakdown in the needs of our body will cause a chain reaction that can eventually lead to exhaustion, anxiety, depression, sickness, or disease; it can eventually lead to death.
If we prioritize one need over the others, we cause disease. The definition of disease is “a particular abnormal condition that negatively affects the structure or function of all or part of an organism, and that is not due to any immediate external injury.” Literally, the ease in our bodies is disrupted….dis-ease.Do we elevate certain parts of the body and forget the others are essential? And if we do, where has that led the Western church? Click To Tweet
If movement is prioritized over rest, relationships, or any other need we can end up with an overworked body that eventually can break down from harsh treatment. We will eventually burn out. Yes, we were meant to move, but were we meant to be power-lifters? Olympic-level athletes? Long-distance runners?
The same can be said for any of the other needs of our body. If food is prioritized and other things ignored then dis-ease is caused in our bodies. Sleep over work, then dis-ease. I think you get the picture.
The same can be said of the Church as the body of Christ.
Do we elevate certain parts of the body and forget the others are essential? And if we do, where has that led the Western church? Do you know what your part to play is?
In Part 2 we will dive into Ephesians 4 and answer some of those questions...
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