Paul’s first letter to churches in Corinth encourage Christians to remember that their bodies are not their own. Rather, a Christian’s body is “the temple of the Holy Spirit…bought with a price” (1 Corinthians 6:19, 20).
Apparently, Christians in that community believed that God’s salvation liberated them from the fragility and limitations of the body. This resulted from a wide-spread Greek philosophy that the body and spirit were separate, and that spirit was of the higher order of creation.
Paul, steeped in Jewish rabbinic theology, argued that both body and spirit are liberated unto God, and that there is no separation between the two. Instead, a triad of a person’s whole being–mind, body, and spirit–were wrapped up in the redemption of Jesus Christ.
If our bodies are just as important as our spirits, so the argument goes, then we must care for both. Spiritual and physical exercises are as worship unto the Lord, and both must be nurtured for a life of holiness and compassion.
One commentator, J. Dana Trent, writing for the 2015 Disciplines devotional, wrote, “Affirming and caring for our bodies as part of our spiritual self-care helps us experience the one who created us.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves!
This week, make an effort to care for the mind, spirit, and the body. Take a few minutes today to read a chapter from a book or from the Bible (mind); spend five minutes in prayer by using a timer (spirit), and take a brisk walk on your block to stretch those muscles and get outside a bit (body).
In so doing, perhaps we too will remember with conviction and clarity that all of our faculties are “members of Christ” (v. 15).