There was time to run to the corner store in the small gap between Sunday School and the church service. We purchased two bags of barbecue-flavored potato chips and a roll of Peppermint Lifesavers and tucked them inside Auntie Lisa’s purse. My mother’s youngest sister and I are only four years apart. At 14 and 10, silently, we opened the bags and placed the chips in our mouths, allowing them to dissolve (eliminating any crunching sounds). We saved the Lifesavers for last to cover up our barbecue-scented breath. We had several glorious weeks delighting in forbidden treats during the sermon. I still remember the day my mother had a bird’s eye view of our antics from her seat at the piano. After church, the lecture I received was punctuated by her hand firmly spanking my rear end with the words, “You. Know. Better. Than. That!!”
Do You Not Know?
In 1 Corinthians 6:19, “Paul asks, “do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you?” Is it possible that we don’t know the rules for how to act in a temple? Or, like my Auntie Lisa and I, do we know but choose behavior that goes against our training? How we see ourselves determines the behavior we choose. Just as my mother had a clear view of my actions, God sees our choices, and we will suffer the consequences of our secret habits.
Honoring The Temple
Many of us use language that reinforces the image of our bodies through a secular lens. Sexy, thin, muscular, obese; these are words I’ve seen on social media. But, I wonder, how would our perceptions change if we viewed our bodies as holy, sacred, and special? The temple of God in the Old Testament was a holy, sacred, and special dwelling place for the Lord. God’s presence now dwells in our bodies, we are His temple, so our bodies should be valued as holy, sacred, and special.
“You. Know. Better. Than. That.”
When you know better, you can do better. So, like the Psalmist, let’s praise God, for we are fearfully and wonderfully made. And let’s start with the terms we choose to describe our bodies. Let’s meditate on and live by words that fit our temples; holy, sacred, and special.
What words do you most frequently use to describe your body? Give any secular concepts of your body over to God and ask Him to give you a new vocabulary to describe your temple.
Holy Spirit, we are grateful that You are at home within us. Please help us to see ourselves the way You see us, as fearfully and wonderfully made temples of God. In Christ’s name, we pray. Amen.