By Shawn McMullen
I borrowed my neighbor’s lawn mower a couple of times last fall. Since he’s a good friend (and fellow preacher), each time I returned it to him, I made sure I had wiped its surfaces clean and filled the tank with gas.
I try to take good care of my own things, but when I’m using borrowed equipment, I’m even more conscientious. Somehow I feel more responsible for things in my possession that belong to someone else.
We might use a similar line of reasoning when it comes to our human bodies. Should we take care of them for us, or should we take care of them for God? The apostle Paul asked, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?” and added, “You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies” (1 Corinthians 6:19, 20).
Paul reminds us that we (all aspects of our being, including our bodies) are not our own. The “temples of the Holy Spirit” we inhabit are on loan to us from God. Knowing one day we’ll have to account for our use of them, how can we be wise stewards of the bodies God has given us?
Inhabit them for God’s glory.
God declared through the prophet Isaiah, “Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth—everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made”
(Isaiah 43:6, 7).
God “formed and made” us (body and spirit) for his glory. Although each of us possesses a physical body, we do not own it. We inhabit our bodies in order to bring glory to God and we are responsible to God for the way we care for them and use them.
Purify them for God’s approval.
“Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God” (2 Corinthians 7:1). We show God that we hold him in the highest regard when we keep our bodies and spirits pure. He assists us in the process, but he also expects us to exert personal effort. As Paul said, “Let us purify ourselves.” A deliberate and passionate pursuit of holiness—in body and spirit—is required of everyone who wishes to show reverence to God.
Use them for God’s service.
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1, NKJV). Our health, our intellect, and our abilities are God’s to give and take away as he pleases. It’s only reasonable, then, that we take what God graciously gives us and give it back to him in service.
What are you doing with the body God has given you? Are you keeping it holy for his glory? To the best of your ability, are you keeping it healthy for his service?