Your Body, God’s Temple

Author – Jordan Rubin

In 1 Corinthians 3: 16-17, Paul asks us, “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.”

This passage is not addressed to unbelievers; it is directed at the church in Corinth. Non-believers do not ascribe to the same “rules” that believers do, and yet, as humans we often struggle with similar tendencies to act as if our bodies are not holy—as if they do not belong to God and do not need to be kept pure and undefiled. Paul realized the frailty of the human condition in his day and the same holds true today.

Every now and then, we need to be reminded that our bodies are holy, set apart, and to be used by God for His glory. Yet every day God’s people all over the world are poisoning their bodies—God’s temple—without giving it a second thought. We may do this by our negatively charged emotions, our overstressed (or in some cases slothful) lifestyles, our exposure to an overly toxic environment, our unhealthy diets, and our non-existent exercise regimens?

In other words, we do not intentionally steward ourselves in ways that regard the body as God’s temple. We take it for granted—and sometimes we just downright abuse it. For instance, some believers may think it doesn’t matter at all what they eat. Do they really believe that if they consistently order and consume those double-deluxe bacon cheeseburgers, large French fries, and sugar-laden sodas, that God will somehow lessen the effects of their unhealthy food intake?

That’s delusional thinking!

Reading along further in Corinthians sheds some light on our choices in food and in life. Corinthians 6:12 says: “Everything is permissible for me”—but not everything is beneficial. This section continues in verses 19 and 20: “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.”

We may be “allowed” to eat whatever we want (and in some ways do what we want), but that doesn’t mean it is in our best interest. In fact, we have a responsibility to differentiate what benefits us from what does not and to not be mastered by anything.

This passage not only applies to what we eat or do not eat, but also to how we live our lives—how we strive to keep ourselves pure, holy, and set apart so that God can be glorified in us.

How do we keep our bodies as God’s temple? Choose what is beneficial, not what is merely permitted.