Scripture Focus: 1 Corinthians 6.12-20
12 “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything. 13 You say, “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food, and God will destroy them both.” The body, however, is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 14 By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also. 15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! 16 Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.” 17 But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit.
18 Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. 19 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; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.
By John Tillman
Why do we have bodies?
Some would rather we didn’t. Some say, “My body doesn’t matter. I’m a ghost pilot in a meat robot.” In this vision, the body is a throwaway, inconsequential shell. Some even hope to replace it, change it, or upgrade it.
Even now the bodies of over 200 “patients” are in cryonic freezers. Some have not even preserved their whole body—only the head and brain. They, or their families, have faith future scientists will resurrect them, either healing their diseases or transferring their brains to new bodies. The patients include a two-year-old child, one of the founders of Bitcoin, and baseball Hall of Famer, Ted Williams. What a strange trio they would be…
Even if these hopes are realized in the future, Christianity has a greater hope, a greater view of the body, and a greater future. Our bodies are not meat robots for our souls. We are integrated beings. It is not just our soul that will be with the Lord. Our bodies, even after returning to dust, will be resurrected.
Paul tells the Corinthians that their bodies are “for the Lord.” He also says the Lord is “for our bodies.” Our bodies are essential to who we are and to our experience of and with God, both now and in eternity. Our bodies aren’t just physical matter. They matter cosmically, spiritually, for eternity.
It is foolish to dismiss the body. It is also foolish to enthrone our bodies above all. Like the Corinthians, some think whatever our body wants, it deserves. We don’t deserve or need everything we hunger for. Our body’s desires are not “rights.” Indiscriminately feeding fleshly hungers is always unhealthy and often evil.
Our bodies are not our own. In Christ, we are made one body with him. No Christian can say “What I do with my body only affects me,” because it affects Christ and everyone connected to him. No one can say, “My body is dishonorable, broken, and worthless,” because Christ valued our embodied self, dying for our souls and being resurrected for our bodies.
Our bodies are not beneath us like robot shells. Our bodies are not over us like rulers. Our bodies are not our own to abuse, harm, or dishonor. With our bodies, we present the embodiment of Christ to the world—to honor him through service and love to others.
Divine Hours Prayer: The Call to Prayer
Open my lips, O Lord, and my mouth shall proclaim your praise. — Psalm 51.16
– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Springtime by Phyllis Tickle.
Read more about Inner Light of the Heart
Our bodies matter. Our spirit also matters. We are integrated beings—not solely spirit and not solely flesh.
Read more about Maintaining Sacred Space
Our bodies are our “tents” into which we invite the Holy Spirit of God, promised to us by Jesus.