1 Corinthians 6:20 'You were bought at a price. Therefore honour God with your body.'
Romans 12:1 'I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as
living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God.'
Your body is important
Some teach that the body is a hindrance, tying us down to this material world, and
that what matters is the realm of the spirit, where we can soar away to higher things.
But this is not biblical Christianity. The Bible teaches that the body is important…
1. Because Jesus came in bodily form
He didn't come purely as a spirit-being, but 'the Word became flesh' (John 1:14).
Hebrews 10:5 'When Christ came into the world, he said, "Sacrifice and offering you
did not desire, but a body you prepared for me."'
2. Because Jesus has a glorified body now
After his resurrection Jesus did not 'graduate' out of his body to some higher spirit-realm.
He was not a ghost but retained a real body (Luke 24:39).
His resurrection body did, however, have greater powers. He apparently had the ability,
for example, to appear in a locked room without coming through the door (John 20:19-20,
26). In this same resurrection body he later ascended to the Father's presence (Acts
1:9-10). He has that same body now.
3. Because our bodies are 'temples of the Holy Spirit'
A temple is the special and honoured place where a god dwells. Our bodies are worthy
of great honour if the Holy Spirit of God has chosen to live there:
1 Corinthians 6:19 'Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit,
who is in you, whom you have received from God?'
4. Because Scripture assumes that we care for our bodies
To give attention to your body isn't a waste of time. It's natural and proper:
Ephesians 5:28-29 'Husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who
loves his wife loves himself. After all, no-one ever hated his own body, but he feeds
and cares for it.'
5. Jesus' healing ministry confirmed the body's value
A large part of Jesus' public ministry was devoted to restoring sick and ailing bodies
to healthy normality. His was not merely a ministry of 'saving souls'. He addressed
the needs of the whole person, the body included.
6. Our eternal state is to be a bodily one
Your ultimate destiny, at Christ's return, is to have a resurrection body like his.
You won't for ever be a spirit-being. The transformation that will take place is
called by Paul 'the redemption of our bodies' (Romans 8:23). Elsewhere he describes
it as being 'clothed with our heavenly dwelling', in contrast to 'this tent', or
mortal body, in which we now live (2 Corinthians 5:4).
Philippians 3:20-21 'Our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Saviour
from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything
under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his
The body's needs and drives
In the meantime, your body's needs and drives are all God-given and therefore good.
Hunger and thirst. A healthy appetite, and good food to satisfy it, is one of God's
great ideas (Psalm 107:9).
The sex drive. Sex was God's gift before the Fall (Genesis 1:27-28). The sex drive
was given not only for procreation but also for pleasure in the sealing of the love
and commitment between a man and his wife. See Proverbs 5:18-19 (where 'fountain'
means the body parts that produce life).
Sleep. Sleep is the divinely-appointed means by which we recover from the exertion
of daily living (Psalm 4:8)
Exercise. Movement and action are the natural outworking of a healthy body, especially
when the blessing of God puts a spring in the step:
Malachi 4:2 'For you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with
healing in its wings. And you will go out and leap like calves released from the
Self-control by the Holy Spirit
While it's true that all these physical drives are God-given and good, they can quickly
get out of hand if not kept in check. They then become means by which sin can take
hold. The best preventive against bodily excess is the development of the spiritual
side of your being:
Galatians 5:16 'Walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the
Only when the impulses of the soul (mind, will and emotions) and body are kept subservient
to your spiritual drive will you enjoy true freedom in living. Paul saw the importance
of self-control in this area when he said:
1 Corinthians 9:27 'I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached
to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.'
How, in practice, can you exercise this self-control? What does it mean to 'beat'
your body and make it your slave? It will include:
Right eating and drinking, and fasting
A balanced diet. You need a balanced diet for good health. There's plenty of literature
available to point you in the right direction without making you a food faddist
Moderation. You should eat and drink in moderate quantities, in keeping with your
workload and metabolism:
Proverbs 23:20-21 'Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves
on meat, for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags.'
Drinking. A biblical lifestyle permits alcoholic drinks, but forbids excess:
Ephesians 5:18 'Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be
filled with the Spirit.'
This verse teaches that the key to avoiding bodily excess is being filled with the
Holy Spirit. If you're filled with the Spirit, part of whose fruit is self-control
(Galatians 5:23), you'll be able to exercise restraint.
Fussiness. A mature person isn't fussy about food. A long list of dislikes is a social
handicap and a childish trait. Far better to develop an adventurous approach to food
and drink (Luke 10:8; 1 Corinthians 10:27).
Fasting. Fasting is an excellent way of showing your body who's boss. Always fast
with a specific purpose. If you decide to miss lunch once a week, for example, be
sure to spend the lunch break in purposeful prayer, Bible meditation or memorising
The Bible assumes that we will fast from time to time. Jesus, who said: 'When [not
if] you pray' (Matthew 6:6) also said: 'When [not if] you fast' (Matthew 6:16). See
also Acts 13:2-3.
The world sees it as normal to be sexually promiscuous. But in his love and grace,
God only permits sexual expression within the marriage bond:
1 Corinthians 7:2 'Since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own
wife, and each woman her own husband .'
We'll be looking at the whole subject of sex in some detail in Lesson 7. In the meantime,
God's word to you is, 'Keep yourself pure' (1 Timothy 5:22).
An ordered life
Sleep is a gift of God, and you need rest and relaxation to function efficiently.
But unless you take care, it's all too easy to lapse into idleness and time-wasting.
Discover your sleep requirements and, as far as possible, tailor the rest of your
life accordingly. If you need seven hours of sleep, don't take nine. For most of
us, the set hours of school or job give a basic structure to our day. If, out of
every twenty-four hours, you sleep eight and work eight, that still leaves you eight
to organise—more than enough time to do all you want to do and ought to do. Plan
those precious eight hours to the best advantage:
Ephesians 5:15-16 'Be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise, making
the most of your time, because the days are evil.' (NASB)
Set goals in every area of life. Check periodically as to how well you are succeeding.
Don't let the TV rule your life. Exert your mastery over time and leisure!
Fitness and grooming
Mind, emotions and spirit function best in a healthy body. Since normal living today
often fails to keep us physically fit, you need to build some kind of exercise into
your personal schedule.
1 Timothy 4:8'Physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all
things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.'
It goes without saying that smoking and drug-taking can have no place in your life
as a Christian. They offer no benefits whatever and are proven dangers to good health.
Steer clear of polluting the temple of the Holy Spirit with such activities. Also,
think twice before yielding to the trend towards tattoos and body-piercing.
Proper attention to personal hygiene and good grooming will add the finishing touches
of proper self-respect to you as a man or woman of God who's healthy in spirit, soul
Appearance and mannerisms
These should express your sexual identity. The blurring of the difference between
the sexes so common in our generation is strongly opposed by the teaching of Scripture.
Deuteronomy 22:5 'A woman must not wear men's clothing, nor a man wear women's clothing
, for the Lord your God detests anyone who does this.'
This is not to deny a woman her trouser-suit or a Scotsman his kilt but to warn against
the onset of transvestism or similar sexual perversion. In general, if you're a man,
aim to look like a man; if you're a woman, aim to look like a woman. See 1 Corinthians
Remember, you're God's shop-window to the world. People can't see into your mind
or spirit; all they can see is your outward appearance. So let them see something
that commends the Lord.
Learn by heart
1 Corinthians 6:20'You were bought at a price. Therefore honour God with your body.'