Our bodies are really smart. Through habits we develop over time, they actually run our lives without our conscious effort. Though this is good, it can also be bad. In addition to all the helpful things our bodies learn, they also have sin in their memories. We must help them forget these old sinful memories and develop new ones. As those in whom Christ dwells, we need to train our bodies, which are highly pliable and malleable.
We often think sin is purely a spiritual act, but it also involves bodily habits. When we gossip or lie, we are training our tongue to speak ill of others or not to tell the truth.
There is good news, however, we can retrain our bodies and their natural habits. In Colossians 3:5, Paul tells us to put to death the sin that is in our ‘members’, or body parts. This may seem odd, but it makes sense: our bodies have learned how to sin – they can also learn how to be virtuous.
We can train our tongues to tell the truth, to bless others with our words and to refrain from speaking ill of others. We can train our hands to serve others. We can train our feet to go to the least and the lost. Our bodies will not naturally be inclined this way, but by doing the right things over and over, under the leading of the Spirit, our bodies will start naturally to do what is right.
So I would encourage you to give thanks for your body: it is good. Then I would encourage you to think of the ways in which your body has been trained under the ideas and ideals of the kingdom of this world, and prayerfully consider how it can be retrained to be your ally in your walk in the Spirit.
My body is a glorious gift from God, and I refuse to use it for sin. Instead I will celebrate it each day and train it so it becomes my ally in my apprenticeship to Jesus.
Abba, forgive me for not respecting the role of my body in my life with you. Thank you for this beautiful, living temple of the Spirit you have given me. Help me to purge harmful habits and start healthy ones today. Amen.
How have you thought about your body as an enemy or ally in your life with God?