We become people of fully realized potential in and through our bodies.
I am me. The human is created by God as a three-part unity; spirit, soul and body.
- Without my spirit, I am not fully me.
- Without my soul, I am not fully me.
- Without my body, I am not fully me.
For some reason, in God’s human trinity, the Christian’s body is often mistreated, abused and neglected even while special care is given to the soul and spirit.
Neither the spirit, soul or body is more important than the other. Consider 1 Thessalonians 5:23.
23 Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul’s prayer is two-fold.
- For God to sanctify you completely, your whole spirit and soul and body.
- And for your whole spirit and soul and body to be kept blameless.
In 1973 people opposed to God’s total integration of spirit and soul and body won their day in the Supreme Court of the United States with Roe vs. Wade.
Essentially, the Court threw out the entirety of Biblical anthropology (a wholistic view of the human being) with the philosophy “that even though the baby in the womb is human, it is not a person under the Fourteenth Amendment.” Love Thy Body, Nancy Pearcey pre-release.
Maybe this two-tiered “human non-person” concept has infiltrated the western Christian world-view?
It appears many western Christian’s perspective is a two-tiered, “spirit and soul but non-body” concept. Apart from thinking like this, how can we explain the gigantic disregard many Christians give to their human body?
God speaks directly to the world’s low view of the body by honoring the human body.
- So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27
- For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. Psalm 139:13-14
- I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Romans 12:1
- 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. 1 Corinthians 6:20
- Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? 1 Corinthians 6:19
Becoming a human person of fully realized potential in Christ requires me to embrace, honor and discipline my body.
Righteousness and wickedness require a body. There is no “disembodied” righteousness or wickedness.
Our earlier passage, 1 Thessalonians 5:23 is preceded by many things one might find in the body.
|12 We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, 13 and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. 14 And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle,[c] encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. 15 See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. 16 Rejoice always,17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise prophecies, 21 but test everything; hold fast what is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil.
23 Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.
Fainthearted, weak, patient
Do not repay evil but seek to do good
Rejoice, Pray, give thanks
Do not quench, do not despise, but test
Your fullest potential in Christ includes growing and maintaining bodily discipline and control.
24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. 25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. 27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
In an almost shocking revelation Paul states a lack of personal bodily discipline and control may disqualify me from the imperishable prize.
Even after we have not been disqualified, we will be judged according to “the deeds we have done in the body.”
10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.
May we make this a season of personal bodily discipline and control as we pursue our fullest potential in Christ.
MCA LIFE GROUP HOMEWORK
Listen – My Story
- What is your favorite aspect of your God created body?
- In your upbringing, do you recall if the human body was blessed, cursed or ignored? Do you see any lasting impact from that upbringing on your perspectives of the human body?
Learn – Digging Deeper
- Pease read Jeremiah 1:4, 5. At what point in time was Jeremiah a person?
- Please read Psalm 139.
- Does the Psalmist hold to a high or low view of the human body?
- Consider verse 16. Did the Psalmist have personhood prior to birth?
- Does the human body have value according to verse 15?
- What verses come to mind when you think of being more disciplined and in control of your body?
Lift – Prayer
- Please pray for the many MCA folks who are experiencing difficulties in their bodies.
- Please pray for each life group member’s highest “bodily discipline” priority.
Life – Taking it Home
- What do you need to do today to “discipline your body and bring it under control?”
- Who can you add to your circle of influence to encourage you and for you to encourage to be disciplined and personally controlled in your body?