By Roelf L. Ruffner
“For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (I Cor.6:20).
In our efforts to dwell upon our duties to our Savior as Christians we often forget our body. When Jesus died on the cross for my sins He not only laid claim to my spirit but my body as well. I am to be His servant: spirit, mind and body.
Yet that isn’t the way it usually works. We love Jesus and our neighbor. We worship God “in spirit and in truth” (Jn.4:24). We don’t drink alcohol, use illegal drugs, dance, fornicate, dress immodestly, or do anything that will bring reproach upon our Master and His bride – the church of Christ. But in other ways we neglect our bodies, “the temple of the Holy Spirit” (I Cor.6:19).
This principle came home to me about six years ago. While moving boxes I almost ruptured two discs in my lower back. My doctor said that they could heal, if I took care. For eight months I did not drive a car or do several other activities. To avoid future back surgery he said I should also lose weight, taking some pressure off that injury. I began to give this serious thought. I have always had a weight problem and have lost (and found!) hundreds of pounds in my life.
I thought, “Should my weight loss be for spiritual reasons not just health and appearance concerns? Was I glorifying my Savior by ignoring my weight?” When the world sees me digging my own grave with a knife and fork, what does it say about my discipleship? “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service” (Rom.12:1).
It grieves me to see otherwise faithful Christians who do not practice self control (cf. 2 Pet.1:5-8). They continue to smoke, chew and dip tobacco in spite of the many dangers to their health. They overeat, disregarding their doctor’s warnings about heart problems, high blood pressure and high blood sugar. I know many are quietly fighting this battle and I am thankful for their vigilance. But others are apathetic and seem to have a secret death wish.
We must always seek to look at things the way our Father in Heaven does. For example, our neighbor borrows our automobile for a few days. After a period of time he returns it with a flat tire, a burned out engine, stains all over the upholstery, and a broken headlight. He then pushes it into our driveway and thanks us profusely for its use. We are upset and disappointed. Perhaps this is the way God feels when we do not take care of His present to us – our bodies.
At the end of time will we present Him a legacy of a battered body which did not glorify God? Or will we have a history of a body worn out in use to His service? The choice is ours to make each day. “….as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death” (Phi.1:20).