“The time came when the Lord God formed a man’s body from the dust of the ground and breathed into it the breath of life. And man became a living person.” – Genesis 2:7
When God was done with creating other members of his creation, He formed man’s body from the dust of the ground. The different way he took to form this body immediately reveals that he placed and still places a high premium on it. Then the Lord took a quantum of Himself, by way of His breath and breathed into the body He had formed from the dust of the ground. And man became a living person. The body, therefore, became a reservoir, a holder, a container, of the life of God. The body is also the bearer and carrier of ALL your gifts, talents, anointing, spirit, soul, etc.
There are varying gifts that God gives to different people as he pleases, and those make us different. But if there is anything that God has given to every person, it is a body.
The Purpose of the Body
‘“Food for the stomach and the stomach for food” –but God will destroy them both. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.’ – 1 Corinthians 6:13
The Bible couldn’t be clearer: the body is for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. That is the purpose of the body. Since creation, anyone God has sent here had to first have a body. They may exist in the mind of God for His ends here on earth, but to exist here, they need to put on a body. Jesus Himself needed one. “He appeared in a body”, Paul says (1 Timothy 3:16). He Himself didn’t offer God anything else but His body: “Therefore, when Christ came into the world, He said: ‘Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased’” (Hebrews 10:5-6). While those animal sacrifices were required by the law, Jesus said God didn’t desire them nor did they give Him pleasure. What did he want instead? A body! And a body did Jesus, who knows the will of the father, offer. Your reconciliation to God was accomplished by the offering of the physical body of Jesus: “But now He has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation” (Colossians 1:22). You will find a concurrence to that in Hebrews 10:10 and 1 Peter 2:24; 3:18.
While your Church where you worship and fellowship may have magnificent buildings, that is not God’s desired home. When Jesus told the Jews to “Destroy this temple” and He would “raise it again in three days”, they thought he was referring to their precious piece of property that took forty-six years to complete. But the temple he spoke of was His body (John 2:18-21). Where God has always desired to live is in a body. That’s why he breathed his life into the clay-formed body of the first man and he became a carrier of the life of God. Today, he dwells in the bodies of His redeemed children by His Spirit. He makes their bodies His temple. Paul asked, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?” (1 Corinthians 6:19). So, what is the purpose of the body? It is meant to be the habitation of God, his temple.
Stewardship of the Body
If the body is the temple of God, and He has tasked you with the care of this temple, how should you discharge this responsibility? How can you be a faithful steward of this that God has given you?
1. The first thing is to realize and be conscious of the purpose and the content of your body: The body is for the Lord. If you were given a box that contained sand, and another that contained diamonds, you would handle them differently. You would care more for the diamond-rich box because you know the worth of its content. Why you have not handled your body more carefully may be because you didn’t realize that it carries God Himself, by His Spirit. If you do, you would steward it differently, in the knowledge that you have been given a high task, and in it, you are required to be faithful, like all stewards are.
2. Feeding/Nutrition: As much as the body houses the Spirit of God, it is still flesh and blood and requires to be correctly fed. Your attitude to food needs to change. Look at food not as something to satisfy your cravings, but as something required to keep the vehicle that carries the Spirit of God around to fulfill His purposes on earth. If you do, there will be no more fights about whether plenty sugar is okay; whether alcohol is permitted or not; whether you should worry about carbohydrates, proteins, and fats in their right proportions. When next you pick a fruit to eat, you would wash it first because the Almighty Himself indwells you and you need to cater for that body of yours that carries Him about.
3. Exercise: Paul told Timothy that “physical training is of some value” (1 Timothy 4:8). Bodily exercise is profitable for maintaining good health. No matter how much of the Spirit you carry, if your physical body is impaired, it will limit what you can do for God. Even Jesus, whom God gave the Spirit without measure, once his body was crucified, his ministry on this earth ended. You need to be healthy to serve the purpose of God in your lifetime. Exercise regularly.
4. Rest: On the seventh day of creation, did God run out of steam, become fatigued, and need to rest? No, he did that to show us an example. If the Almighty, who is a Spirit, rested after His work, you who bears about a body must take time to rest. Rest helps to keep you healthy, continuing to provide a vehicle for God to inhabit and accomplish His work on earth through you. As a steward of the body, take time to rest and recuperate and keep the body healthy.
5. Medicare: In my part of the world, it is not uncommon to find people hawking drugs at motor parks. They make all kinds of unproven claims as to what their products can achieve. When I see people patronize those charlatans, I know they don’t care for their bodies. If they did, they would seek professional care from qualified practitioners in the event of ill health. If your body is sick, pray, and seek proper medical care. Why? The body belongs to the Lord and it deserves to be taken care of properly.
6. Offer your body to God: The Bible urges that, in view of God’s mercy, you “offer your bodies to God as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God –this is your spiritual act of worship” (Romans 12:1). Many times people are heard to offer God their lives, their hearts, their minds, their talents, their spirit, their money, and resources. Those may be easier to offer because they can be abstract and intangible. The Bible says to offer your body, while it is living, and it calls the offering of this flesh and bones a spiritual act of worship. Why the body? The body contains (houses) all that you essentially are: talents, gifts, heart, mind, spirit, soul, energies, etc. Offering your body is offering all that it contains; it is offering all to God.
The problem with the body is that it can be weak (Mark 14:38) and defiled by misdeeds (Romans 8:13) such as sexual perversions of different kinds (fornication, adultery, pornography, masturbation, prostitution, LGBTQ, etc); eyes that lust; hands and feet that steal and are swift to do evil; tongues that curse and gossip; mouths and nostrils that smoke, take hard drugs and abuse substances; it can be dressed in indecent ways that do not glorify God.
The Bible speaks to such lifestyles: “Do not offer the parts of your body to sin as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to Him as instruments of righteousness” (Romans 6:13).
Jesus’ Death Enables This Faithfulness
For many, the sins of the body are strong chains that have them bound and unfaithful to God. God doesn’t just command that we be faithful stewards who offer the bodies we have received from Him; He has provided the power to overcome all the sinful limitations that fight this purity. Victory comes from faith in the salvation and Lordship of Jesus. Paul said: “For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin” (Romans 6:6). There is no sin so strong that the power of Jesus cannot set you free from; there is no pit so deep that you have fallen into from which Jesus cannot rescue you; there is no relationship so entangling that Jesus cannot lose you from. Those who receive Him, He gives the power to become children of God. Are you willing? Do you believe? The body belongs to the Lord. The best way to faithfully steward it is to offer it wholly to Him.