Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, 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. (1 Corinthians 9:24-27)
God wants all of you: your mind, your heart, and your body. How important is your body to God? Do you remember what God required when Aaron was consecrated for the office of High Priest? The sacrificial blood was to be placed on the tip of Aaron’s right ear, on his right thumb, and on his right big toe (Exodus 29:20), which clearly symbolized the whole of his body. All of Aaron was to be consecrated to God—his thoughts, his desires, and his body.
And this is no less true of us. When we are serving our God, we are to be serving Him with everything we have, including our bodies. Jesus said that the most important commandment was to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark 12:29-30). God wants all of you!
So . . . on a scale of 1–10 (1 being “Very little” and 10 being “Consistently and joyfully”), how well have you been serving God with your body? Have your feet been on the move with the Good News of the Gospel? Have you been using your hands to wash the feet of others? Remember, God redeemed your body and consecrated it with the blood of the Lamb. He wants all of us to be engaged in fruitful and faithful service.
The apostle Paul’s athletic metaphor of “beating his body” provides a powerful reminder of the importance of disciplining ourselves in the way we use our bodies. He goes on to say that taking control of his body rises to the level of being either qualified or disqualified for ministry.
Here is the key to understanding this incredible biblical truth. When Jesus purchased you with His blood, He purchased all of you, including your body. When you placed your trust in Jesus Christ and His atoning work on your behalf, the Holy Spirit took up residence within you, making your body a temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19). Have you given much thought to that? Your body is housing for the Holy Spirit! Paul wrote, “You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
When we talk about the enemies that come up against us in our service to God—that is, the world, the flesh, and the devil—we see that our bodies are right in the midst of this trio. The Bible warns us that though our spirit may be willing, our flesh is weak (Matthew 26:41); Paul warned the Galatians that our sinful nature actively struggles against the Spirit of God, which keeps us from doing what we want (Galatians 5:17). Therefore, we must remain on guard against the greatest enemy we face . . . ourselves! Selfish impulses can and will steal our focus and pull us off track if we are not careful and diligent in our self-discipline. And that self-discipline should include the basic (but enormously important) matter of maintaining the physical vitality necessary for serving the Lord with your body by making sure you get sound nutrition, adequate rest, and consistent exercise.
How would you complete these two sentences?
One thing I could do to take better care of my body is ____________________.
One thing I must stop doing to take better care of my body is _________________.
Remember, your body is a gift from God, regardless of how you (or the world) might view it. Your body type has been perfectly designed and ordained by God to do everything you have been called to do. You don’t need to compare yourself to others; you shouldn’t wish you had a different body. God did not make a mistake when He knit you together in your mother’s womb!
Do your part in caring for the body you have been given and give back to God the one thing He desires: ALL OF YOU!
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!