Beautiful Temples

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; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. (I Corinthians 6:19-20, NIV)

Have you ever wondered why we have physical bodies? God could have made us however he wanted but chose to house our mind and soul in bodies. The bodies of His children are also the temple in which His Spirit lives.

The tabernacle served as God’s temporary home on earth during the years the Israelites were wandering through the desert and establishing their nation. It was a tent that was set up and taken down over and over for more than 400 years as they moved around. Once the Israelites established Jerusalem as their capital, the temple was built as God’s semi-permanent home. Several chapters of the Old Testament lay out intricate plans for these structures. God detailed the dimensions, the materials to be used, the specific layout, and the furnishings. They were designed to be beautiful and practical while serving a specific purpose: God’s dwelling place on earth.

We should not be surprised that God designed our bodies to be beautiful and practical as well. They, too, are His dwelling place on earth among those who place their faith in Jesus.

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. (Ephesians 3:16-17, NIV)

…When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:13-14, NIV)

Unlike Old Testament saints, we are filled with God’s Spirit: He lives inside us from the moment of salvation until Jesus returns to take us to Heaven. We do not need to go to a special place to connect with Him or have another person sacrifice on our behalf. What an honor to be God’s daughter and have Him live inside!

Far more life is found when we put the proper emphasis on our physical bodies — not too little (discussed in the previous post, Beautiful Bodies) and not too much. Our bodies are important, but not our primary focus. New Testament writers recognized our temptation to idolize our bodies:

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. (2 Corinthians 4:7, NIV)

They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator… (Romans 1:25, NIV)

How do we honor God with our bodies? Consider these verses:

Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes… But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:22-23, 31, NIV)

We honor God with our bodies by focusing on our spiritual work. We should not neglect our physical needs, rather we should understand our greater purpose.

Do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires…offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. (Romans 6:12, NIV)

…Let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God. (2 Corinthians 7:1, NIV)

Each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable. (I Thessalonians 4:4, NIV)

We honor God with our bodies by living righteously. What we see and hear, what we think about, and what we do can honor or dishonor Him. Some of our “evil desires” are to make pleasure our primary focus, be it be blatant sin or private over-indulgence. God created us to experience pleasure and has given us freedom to enjoy much in His creation, but Satan tempts us to seek pleasure over holiness. Other “evil desires” tempt us to look for self-worth and confidence in the state of our bodies. This temptation is less about what we do and more about why we do it; we can perform the same activities with righteous or unrighteous motivations. God wants us to take care of our bodies so we can use them to glorify Him; Satan wants us to seek our own glory. We experience far more life as we grow in Spirit-controlled use of our bodies.

…Those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. (I Corinthians 12:22-24, NIV)

We honor God by recognizing that our bodies, like the temple, consist of public and private parts. We honor Him by giving Him the priority in our hearts and minds. We honor Him by sharing some parts only with our husband. We honor Him by using our public parts to bless and care for others. All parts are beautiful and honorable, but serve different purposes.

If your childhood dream was to be a princess, your reality is better: you are God’s beautiful and holy temple, designed to glorify Him! Enjoy far more life by filling your temple with righteousness.

Sisters,
Are you more tempted to under-value or over-value your body, God’s temple?
Do you have any doubts about the permanence of God in your heart? If so, search His word for the truth about your status before Him. (Or ask a trusted spiritual mentor for help.)
How do you already honor God with your body? How do you want to grow in this?
Thank God for choosing you as His temple and filling you with far more life!
-Shari

Beautiful Bodies

And there are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies; the beauty that belongs to heavenly bodies is different from the beauty that belongs to earthly bodies. (I Corinthians 15:40, GNT)

This verse recently stood out from my Bible reading. In my research, I found some scholars interpret “heavenly bodies” as the glorified bodies God’s children will live in once we reach heaven while others interpret it as celestial objects (sun, moon, stars, etc.). Whichever definition of “heavenly body” came to mind as you read it, I assume you considered it something marvelous and beautiful. Heavenly bodies are breath-taking and attest to God’s creativity, power, and wisdom.

But do you also marvel at the beauty of earthly bodies, especially your own? We are often quick to notice our perceived imperfections but slow to recognize God’s creativity, power, and wisdom when we look in the mirror. But far more life allows you to see yourself as God does, spiritually and physically. And He approves of how He created each of His daughters!

I took a class in college titled “Sensation and Perception”. It was a fascinating study of the five human senses. Multiple times over the semester our professor stressed that our senses were perfect for our environment; we perceived all we needed without picking up “interference”. Each time she said that I thought, “What powerful evidence that we were created by a loving God!” Studying the intricacy of our senses and how precisely they are attuned to our environment left me in awe of the beauty God gave our bodies.

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! (Psalm 139:13-17, NIV)

I appreciate the reminder in these verses that God was intimately involved in the creation of each person. I do not know if he specifically chose your hair color, eye color, and height or if He left that to the incredible genetic process He designed. But I do know that He chose features He wanted you specifically to have — in order to live out His purposes for you — and made sure you got them. When He looks at you, He sees beauty! He wants you to embrace that beauty so you will experience far more life.

But often I do not see my body as beautiful. I dislike many of its features, both those I was born with and those — like scars and extra fat — that have developed over time. And I complain about the parts that do not work as well as I would like them to or cause me pain. When I focus on the problems more than the beauty, I miss out on far more life! Will I define myself by the parts of my body I like? By those I dislike? Or by the opportunities I have to use all my parts to experience and glorify God?

I once heard giving God glory described as “doing what you were created to do”. The sun glorifies God by giving off light. The ocean gives God glory through the ebb and flow of the tide. Birds glorify God by building nests, migrating, singing, and other bird activities. People glorify God by loving Him, obeying His instructions, and growing to be like Him in character. Our physical bodies were designed to glorify God through our thoughts, words, and actions! I don’t think the sun gets frustrated when something blocks its light and creates a shadow. Nor do birds give up on building a nest when materials are hard to find. Although they do not share our reasoning skills, they just keep doing what God designed them to do. But we sometimes get thrown off-course when our imperfect bodies block our attempts to live for God and glorify Him. We no longer believe our bodies — or our work for God — is beautiful and pleasing to Him. But we are wrong.

Far more life does not undervalue or overvalue our bodies, rather it sees them as God does, beautiful vessels that serve a divine purpose. And when our life on this earth is over, He will give us new beautiful bodies that are designed to serve our new eternal purpose!

Sisters,
What part of creation do you find most beautiful?
How have you discovered that God designed your body to meet the purposes He has for you in this life?
How do you use your body to bring God glory?
Thank God for your beautiful body and far more life in Him!
-Shari

Copyright 2020, Shari Damaso