You Treat Your Body Like a Temple, I Treat Mine Like a Tent

The first person that a leader must lead, is him/herself. I know I’ve said this before, but it is worth repeating… as Christians, we are ALL called to lead, in one capacity or another. We are asked to live with higher standards than the rest of the world, because we are to serve as an example of Him. Being that example is what makes us leaders… whether in our own homes, in our workplace, our place of worship, or our community in general.

As Christian women and men, leaders, and examples of Christ’s love, we are to be mindful of the things that impede our ability to lead. This requires discipline that is often hard to come by. (I may know this better than anyone.) But we are to glorify God in body and spirit. This means taking care of both. Living healthfully and in a way that nourishes the body and the mind. Paul explains it best in 1 Corinthians 6: 12-20:

All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. Foods for the stomach and the stomach for foods, but God will destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.  And God both raised up the Lord and will also raise us up by His power.

Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot? Certainly not!  Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For “the two,” He says, “shall become one flesh.” But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him. Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

Paul notes that all things are lawful for the obedient Christian, but knew he needed to avoid those things that would keep him from fulfilling his calling. He says, “All things are lawful… but not all things are helpful.” In other words, the occasional adult beverage is okay for a Christian, but overdoing it doesn’t help you demonstrate that you’re living for the glory of God
(“… but I will not be brought under the power of any.”)

We are sinners, yes, each and every one of us. That doesn’t mean that we should intentionally seek sin, but rather it means we should avoid those things that make sin easier to accomplish. If you struggle with an alcohol addiction, do not go into a bar. If you struggle with sexual addictions, you will want to avoid the internet where pornographic websites are just a click away.

Know your own weaknesses and avoid putting yourself directly in the path of that which you struggle to resist. For me, that means not even walking down the candy aisle at the grocery store. I struggle with gluttony. But at the same time, I am full of gratitude for the body I was given that allows me to experience life on Earth and all that entails. The best way I know to demonstrate that gratitude is to take care of my body and recognize that it was bought at such a price! I keep going back to what Paul said about all things being lawful for the obedient Christian, but not to be brought under the power of any. The best example I can think of in my own life is coffee. I don’t believe that coffee in of itself is a sin. But the fact that it rules my morning is what is sinful. I seek coffee before I seek His face, and that is sinful.

What habits can you incorporate into your life that will demonstrate to our Father in Heaven that you understand your body is a temple? What changes are you willing to make for His glory? What things are you willing to give up as a show of appreciation and respect for the sacrifice made on your behalf?

(We will talk more about the struggles with sexual immorality later. For today, let’s think about how to live healthier with regards to nutrition, exercise and dropping bad habits (like smoking or fast food). This is a much longer conversation for sure, and should include how we care for our mental well being too.)

PS… you can read more from me regarding healthful living here:

New Year Detox… Or Not?

 

The Law of Priorities: Redeem Your Time

It’s probably a safe bet to say that most of us are well aware of the time wasters in our life – television, video games, searching for lost items because you are not organized (okay, maybe that one is just me!). The truth is, there are many ways in which we waste time that perhaps we haven’t considered. For example, the time you spend sitting in traffic. Not the sitting in traffic part, this can’t always be avoided, but the time spent being angry about the traffic. What if for the next week, you spent that time, still stuck in traffic, but listening to gospel music, or uplifting podcasts?

In Ephesians 5: 15-21, Paul invites us to not only analyze our lifestyle and the way we spend our time, but to find better ways to use the time we’re given and to prioritize the things that are important.

(NKJV) “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God.”

You’ve heard, I’m sure, many expressions about how each of us are given the same amount of time each day, but how not all of us will get the same results. Think about how true this is. If I spend my workday on Facebook or gossiping with the ladies in the office, how effective of a leader can I really be? If I’m not serving as a leader in my organization, then I am not honoring my Heavenly Father in the way I should. Don’t confuse the term “leader”, with being the “boss”. Everyone can be a leader, your position at work is irrelevant. As Christians, we are all called to lead. We are also called to live at a higher level than the rest of the world because He knows that others are watching us. Be an example of His glory by being a strong leader and spending your time wisely.

On the days I am home with my kids, if we spend our time together watching TV, or the kids are playing video games while I talk on the phone, then the day I was given with them is lost. That’s not to say we can’t find value in catching up with family on a phone call, or Facebook, but just to be aware of when might be a more appropriate time to do those things, and also, not to get lost in them. Get lost in nature, or a card game, or even just a walk around the block to revel in the colors of fall!

Paul further reminds us to be thankful for all things. If we spend time in gratitude, it fills our heart with the Spirit and that is reflected in our interactions with others. If we are drunk with wine, or otherwise cranky, that too will be reflected in how we treat others. Be mindful of that. When we are living right, we are serving as an example of Jesus, His light and His love. And THAT is never a waste of time!