Bodies require continual attention.
For one, we need to nourish our bodies with food and drink to stay alive. We need to practice hygiene to stay clean and fitness to stay strong. Every day we decide how to clothe our bodies, choosing attire suitable for the tasks at hand. When our bodies are uncomfortable or sick or hurt, they demand our care.
How valuable are they?
Views about the degree to which Christ followers are to care about our bodies vary widely. Here are a few common ones:
- Bodies aren’t important because “man looks at outward appearance but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samual 16:7)
- Bodies aren’t important because they are “are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” (James 4:14)
- Bodies are to be well taken care of so we can “run with endurance” and serve the Lord as long as we can. (Hebrews 12:1)
- Bodies have extreme value because they are the “temple of the Holy Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
- How our bodies look is important because it is important to others. We are to “become all things to all people so that by all possible means [we] might save some.” (1 Corinthians 9:22)
I agree with each of these statements to a degree, but what has been on my mind lately is this one:
The essence of who we are is invisible without our bodies.
Who is Laurie? Who are you? Who do our friends and family interact with and know? The essence of who we are is not our bodies, but rather spirit and soul (mind, emotions and will). When people interact with us, they are really interacting with our thought processes, beliefs systems and personalities, all of which are invisible until expressed through our bodies in the form of words, decisions, and unique characteristics.
Our bodies make the invisible us, visible. Our bodies allow who we are and who God made us to be to be seen by others, interact with others, and reflect the nature of Jesus. Our bodies are the frame through which people get to know us and get to know Jesus.
God was invisible until placed in a body.
God was invisible to the world until He sent Jesus “in whom all the fullness of deity dwells in bodily form.” (Colossians 2:9) In Jesus, the world had a person to interact with, observe, and teach us about the character of God. That’s why Jesus could say, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” (John 14:9b)
This is sacred stuff.
Through the power of the Holy Spirit, Christ followers can reflect Jesus. Two weeks ago my pastor published this paragraph in his column “Cutting Room Floor.”
We are called to be the hands and feet of the invisible God of Heaven — incarnating him in similar ways that Jesus did. If we become a church proficient in allowing the Spirit of God to govern our multiplicity so as to reflect the image of God, we will make our homes and our city a better place. Not because we’re awesome people but because God dwells in us as his temple and where he is there is shalom. Remember: God does not dwell in temples made by human hands. Which is why he’s made you his home.
One of the verses I pray consistently is 1 Timothy 2:12-15: “May God Himself sanctify me through and through. May my whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Spirit, soul and body — We need all three to interact with people and to be seen. My thoughts on today’s topic, for example, were invisible to each of you until my fingers typed this post.
What is your body reflecting?
The next time you look in a mirror, marvel at the body reflected back at you. No matter what it looks like, the body you are starting at makes you visible. Then consider what is visible. I pray that all of us reflect the character of God. It is a miracle that we have the capacity to do so.
Let’s live the miracle.
Picture Explanation: The woman holding the ice cream cone lives a life of clinging to the promises of God. He showed up for her in the sky one evening last week when she needed something visible. And she sure organized a beautiful wedding shower for her friend!
Last call! There is an online study of One Gritty Blink starting August 10 from 9-11 a.m. Click on the Oaks Ministries link below to view the trailer and consider joining.
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