This post is part of a series on self-care from the perspective of self-care in Christ. How do I care for the person who God says I am?
Don’t you know that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God? You are not your own
I used to use this verse to remind myself that I should be in supermodel/olympic athlete shape – which I never accomplished. And I don’t think I’m the only one who use this verse that way.
My Daddy used this verse to warn me of the punishment ahead of me if I ever got a tattoo or more than my earlobe pierced (one hole in each ear).
I’ve seen youth ministers use this verse to tell girls to wear long shorts and swim with a t-shirt on.
While I do believe that our physical bodies are precious gifts created by God, I also believe that our bodies have become false idols to our culture as a whole.
Between the sexualization of every blessed thing in the land and diet culture, no wonder we are obsessed with our bodies and how they are presented to others! I confess that there have been many periods of my life where I have spent more time focused on how my body looked that I spent thinking about the One who made it. I have a good body. It functions well and has even carried and fed a baby. It isn’t perfect. It could feel better if I ate better and moved more. But it does its job!
In Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, he is telling the church in Corinth to keep themselves pure. He isn’t addressing anyone’s weight or what they wear, but what they do with their bodies. He is concerned with this because God is present within each person because of the Holy Spirit. Each believer has been bought with a price – the death of Jesus.
We are also to live as though we have the power of God within our bodies BECAUSE WE DO! If we are His temple, then we are His dwelling place. If you read about the building of the temple in the Old Testament, you will see the great care that is taken to build this place and the beauty within the walls, just as our bodies were created with great care. However, the temple is merely a vessel for the presence of God. That is the most important thing about the temple AND the most important thing about each of our bodies.
Because God lives within us, we have the power to overcome sin. We can resist the desires of our flesh and use our bodies to glorify God.
So, what does self-care look like knowing that my body is a temple of the Lord? First, I need reminders that my body is not my own. I am not alone in this body. God is ever present within me. I take Him into every aspect of my life. Does God want to sit with me while I fixate on my flabby thighs or while I point out the ways He has blessed me with the ability to carry a child? Does God want to watch me over-indulge or starve myself or watch me enjoy fellowship over a beautiful meal? Does God want to see me hide in the back of photos out of shame or throw my arms around my friends and smile for a picture? I suppose self-care for me means humility, in a way. Rather than thinking about me and my body, I should enjoy the body I have while thinking about Who made it and Who inhabits it with me!
*If diet culture has done a number on you, go listen to episode 77 of the podcast!