Temple Bodies

I was walking home from kickboxing today, exhausted and sweaty, not experiencing as many endorphins as I had hoped, and I was trying to remind myself why it was worth it. I met a new person, and we bonded a little bit over chatting between combos and encouraging each other through burn outs, so that was good. Plus the workout itself was good, even if it didn’t feel super, I knew it was good for me. And then the thought My body is a temple sarcastically busted into my train of thought.temple topSo I thought about it for a little bit, what that cliche really means. People usually use it in reference to physical fitness or not smoking or drinking. They use it to explain how they treat their bodies, not to say what their bodies are for. However, the actual Bible passage it comes from relates to sexual morality:

1 Corinthians 6:18 Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body. 19 Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, 20 for God bought you with a high price. So you must honour God with your body.

But I didn’t have a Bible with me, so I didn’t worry about the context at that time. It struck me though, that a temple (like a church) is a place of worship, not something to worship (like people so often do with their bodies). For Paul to say that our bodies are temples of God is crazy! Temples are places to go visit then go home from! They are places to keep nice, wear good clothes to, maybe burn some incense at, not to kickbox in! They are certainly not places to hire prostitutes in (Paul reminds the Corinthians), or even (dare I say) masturbate in. For serious! Who would ever do that in a church? Only sick people I think.temple bottomI wish more translations used the word church instead of temple for this passage (but they probably don’t because the Church deep-down actually refers to God’s people, not the buildings they meet in), because then maybe it would blow people’s minds a little bit more like Paul meant to do. Because it emphasizes that for someone who has dedicated their life to God and opened their mind and soul and body up to the Holy Spirit, church is not a place to visit to worship God and behave well in. Worship is your whole life, and gathering together with other Christians is part of that, but it is certainly not limited to Sundays.

As for sexual sin – if you aren’t a Christian, you haven’t signed up for the Holy Spirit to live in your body, so I’m not about to get after you for how you spend… your time. BUT as a Christian, this was a crazy different way to think about my life. In one way, it almost makes things seem easier because there is no special standard that you have to keep in order to participate in worship; your life is worship. But on the flip side, it makes life way harder because every failure and shortcoming counts against us, whether we are at church or on a bus or with our friends or home alone. Thank God for his grace 🙂 For calling us to the impossible task of living for him, then helping us do it better than we could have hoped.

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