An excerpt from the book, Winning the Food Fight
By: Steve Willis*
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your body. - 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
The Apostle Paul taught that God’s Spirit lives inside each of us. Not only do we bear His image, but we also carry Him with us wherever we go. Our bodies facilitate God’s presence in our homes, workplaces, schools and communities. A loving, eternal, all-powerful God chooses to get carried around by a bunch of weak human beings. It is not that God needs us for transportation; he chooses to operate this way. Paul declared that the blessing of having God inside us includes a notable responsibility. “...May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thess. 5:23) Paul gives equal billing to both the physical and spiritual. He wants us to dedicate the totality of our being- not just part of ourselves- to him.
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. (1 Cor. 10:31)
When was the last time you thought, “How will God be glorified by what I put on my plate?”...Do your daily choices honor God? In contrast to the culture of his day, Paul exhorted his friends to make wise dietary decisions- because how we eat and drink matters to God.
...One of my favorite verses in the Bible is the climactic statement of Paul’s letter to the Romans…”Therefore, I urge you brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God- this is your spiritual act of worship.” (Rom. 12:1)
Leading up to this point, the apostle Paul had delivered one of the best theological perspectives in human history, assuring his readers that by God’s providential hand, and through the merciful work of Christ, they could find freedom from the sin that enslaved them and then live freely for eternity. In view of what God had done on humanity’s behalf, what did Paul say He expects? A follower of Plato would argue we should dedicate our minds to God’s worship. A romantic would encourage us to give God our affections. Some would argue that the soul comes first, and that we must give God full devotion of our spirits. Yet of all the aspects of humanness Paul could have mentioned, he urged readers to present their bodies as living sacrifices.
The term Paul uses for “body” has far-reaching implications. The Pauline concept of yielding our bodies involves more than just giving God control over our fleshly desires. When we sacrifice our bodies to God, we are giving Him absolute devotion in every aspect of our lives.
Into this selfish, sinful world, God sent His Son to pay our fine with his own life. When God says our bodies belong to Him, we cannot overlook the price He paid to redeem them.
*Steve Willis, a West Virginia native and pastor in the state for over 20 years, is best known for his role on ABC’s mini-series Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. With his permission, we will occasionally be sharing excerpts from his book, Winning the Food Fight. Stay tuned for more ways that the health of our mind, body, heart and community are inseparable, and all worth fighting for.