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The Living Body
Read |Romans 12:1; 1 Corinthians 6:19|
The open casket was placed at the entrance of the church at a recent funeral I attended. I paused to look at the body of our dear friend. But that was all it was, a body. There was the absence of something more than movement. There was an absence that went to the very core of our friend. It was an absence of life. Our friend whom we loved was not there. It was just a body and I felt the pangs of grief.
It made me think of the very curious story found in Chapter 11 of John; the story of Lazarus. Lazarus was the brother of Jesus’ friends, Mary and Martha. In fact, Jesus knew Lazarus personally and loved him too. Mary and Martha sent word to Jesus that Lazarus was sick, but Jesus did not set out to them straight away. It was when Jesus knew that Lazarus died that he began his journey (a journey that was fraught with danger as people wanted to kill him). By the time Jesus arrived his friend had been in the tomb for 4 days. There was grief all around and Jesus was himself affected. In fact, Jesus wept. His grief was so noticeable that it drove people to comment.
I myself, in times past, was curious about his grief. Why did Jesus weep? After all, he had hinted that he knew Lazarus would be raised from the dead, so why bother cry? It hit me one day. Jesus’ grief must have been profound because Jesus is the antithesis of death. Jesus is LIFE. Jesus knew that we were not made to die, we were made to live! We were made in the image of God. Our living bodies were to Glorify God! And as temporary as Lazarus’ death was on that occasion, the loss of life would have caused profound grief to Jesus, who loved him.
In Romans 1 we are urged as Christians to present our bodies to Christ – not dead animal meat that was tendered under the Old Covenant, but our living bodies. This is our true worship! In fact our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit that lies within us. Whoa! Pause, and let that sink in. Under the old dispensation, it was only the High Priest having performed sacrificial offerings of animals that could access the inner sanctuary called the Holy of Holies once a year. But when Jesus said the words, “It is finished” upon the cross, it set in motion a plethora of spirit world activity that would make the most insane thriller seem very tame. (John 19:30). Anyone saved by Christ was now a temple of the Holy Spirit.
God is not glorified whilst our bodies are being abused, misused, stressed, and denigrated. He wants us to experience truly good pleasure. We are to look after our bodies. But we cannot care for our bodies while ignoring the boundaries that God has put in place with respect to them. He knows the number of hairs upon our heads. He deliberately and delicately knitted us together in our mother’s womb for a great purpose. (Psalm 139). He has our very best interest at heart and so we must believe that the boundaries are there to protect, rather than to bar us from pleasure. What are those boundaries? That is a whole other essay, but scripture guides perfectly and one can start at 1 Corinthians 6: 12-20.
So how can we present our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God? It’s about practicing your faith. Knowing what one should do is an incomplete step. We must put our faith into action. The short book of James is a “practical epistle” and a “how- to book” in Christian living. Have a look. I hold hands with you sisters, as we walk the path of faith and action!
1 Corinthians 6: 12-20
Psalm 139: 13-18
The Book of James
4/2/2019 11:16:54 am
Excellent article/meditation that certainly caused me to reflect on the story of Lazarus - Jesus's friend. More importantly for me, is the insight regarding why Jesus wept and the fact that He is in fact the "antithesis of death". What then is our responsibility regarding how we treat our body to experience 'life more abundant'. Thank you Margaret.
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Carolyn Sinclair McCalla is a daughter of God who believes that as we seek the truth of God's Word, and humble ourselves to live in agreement with it, that we will experience the transformation which allows us to enter wholistic wellness: spirit, soul and body. She is the Founder and President of EarthBasic and leads its Be-Held Community: a group of women seeking, living and being transformed by the truth of God’s Word together.