Becoming a good steward of the body God gave me featured 2
Body,  Soul

Becoming a Good Steward of The Body God Gave Me

‘Tis the season of resolutions, diets, and fitness challenges. Every Karen and her bestie are resolving to be thinner, richer, and more Instagrammable by the end of the year. With shame and disappointment, I find myself right beside them. It is no secret that I have been at war with my body most of my life, but the last few years have been an epic battle. After many decades of riding the diet roller-coaster, I can probably qualify for a degree in diet and exercise, so why am I still here? Why is it so difficult for me to love my body and take good care of it? By the grace of the One who made my body, I have decided that this year will be different. The only way to win this battle is to get to the heart of the issue.

What better place to start than the beginning:

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

    So God created man in his own image,

    in the image of God he created him;

    male and female he created them.

And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

Genesis 1:26-27

God created man so that we would become image-bearers who reflect Him. Then he commanded man to be productive by using our God-given dominion over creation to reflect His image in how we care, maintain, and beautify His creation. God owns all of creation and gave us the responsibility to steward all He has made.

Genesis 1 verse 26 God created man in his image

Biblical Stewardship

Stewardship can be defined as the task of supervising or taking care of something, such as an organization or property. R. C. Sproul explains that biblical stewardship emphasizes that we are not the owners of creation but are called to have authority over creation. Our stewardship is reflected in how we manage our work, relationships, and bodies. My body is not my own. I am assigned to look after it to reflect its Maker and Owner.

One of the best explanations of how we should care for our bodies can be found in 1 Corinthians 6:12-20. Paul teaches us why we should become stewards of the bodies God has given us and why our bodies are so important to the Lord.

 “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything. “Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food”—and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And God raised 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 prostitute? Never! Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.” But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

1 Corinthians 6:12-29

All things are lawful

Many scholars believe that this statement “all things are lawful” was derived from a Corinthian slogan used to excuse all kinds of sinful behaviour. In our culture food and exercise have been given moral value – you ate bad food when you enjoyed a cookie, or you were good if you went to the gym five times this week. The truth is that there is nothing inherently good or bad about any type of food or exercise. The problem comes in with the role it fulfils in our hearts.

Not all things are helpful

As a good steward, I should evaluate every choice of food, action or thought about my body to see if it is good or beneficial to my body. For some, a glass of milk is an excellent source of calcium and nutrition, but someone else can suffer severe intestinal upset. Some days going for a run is a great idea, while on other days, when my body is injured or exhausted, going for a run can be harmful. We should know the bodies we’ve been entrusted with well enough to make wise decisions that build up God’s creation.

I will not be dominated by anything

The NLT translates this verse as “I must not become a slave to anything…” As adopted children of God, we have been bought out of slavery to sin. Unfortunately, we still live in sinful bodies in a sin-cursed world and fall into the trap of allowing our desires to control our behaviour. When we cannot resist the temptation to keep eating when we are already full, or we convince ourselves we need one more glass of wine to feel satisfied, we are selling our bodies back into slavery to our desires. As followers of Christ, we are called to exercise self-control as a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:23). Even strict dieting and obsessive exercise can become our masters when these behaviours force us to harm the body we have been entrusted with. All things are lawful, but the Lord looks at the heart. He wants first place in our hearts, not the image reflected in the mirror.

The body is for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body

John Piper teaches that we have been given this body as an instrument for glorifying Christ. The way we tend to our bodies should testify that Christ is all-satisfying. Christ died for my body therefore it belongs to him (Titus 2:14).

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.

Galatians 2:20

Doesn’t this truth completely change the way you look at your body?

Jesus Christ was born in a human body, he died and was raised from the dead, receiving a glorified body which he still inhabits at the right hand of the Father. The body is important enough for him to have one too.

God will raise our bodies too

In another article, Piper explains that just as Jesus was raised from the dead so we will also receive a glorified body when He returns. Our decayed flesh will be raised and restored. This is the final declaration that God is for the body. His perfect plan involves a future where our bodies will be made new and whole. We will spend eternity with him free of pain, disability, insomnia, disease etc. This is perhaps the most important reason to steward our bodies well already in this life.

1 Corinthians 6 verse 20 You are not your own

You are not your own

The first question in the Heidelberg catechism is “What is your only comfort in life and death?” The answer is perhaps the most beautiful statement of faith: “That I am not my own, but belong with body and soul, both in life and in death, to my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ.”

The purpose of my body is to draw attention to Jesus because I am made in his image (Genesis 1:26-28). It is not given to me to draw attention to myself with the “perfect” physique or most fashionable style. These things are not sinful in and of themselves except when they distract others from Christ. If I am sharing a meal with friends do I try to show off how disciplined I can be and comment on every morsel, or do I enjoy the fellowship and focus on the relationships I’m building? When I get dressed in the morning do I want others to see how stylish or wealthy I am, or do I want to be neat and presentable enough to focus my attention on those the Lord puts on my path during the day?

Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit

If you are in Christ, the Holy Spirit lives in your body and you are the temple of the Lord. When guests come over to stay in our home, we take extreme measures to ensure that they feel welcome and at home even if it costs us. The Holy Spirit is our permanent guest. His presence demands us to get our homes in order. David Mathis explains that the fact that we share our bodies with the Holy Spirit should change the way we speak, live and act so that in all we do and say we glorify Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 6 verse 19 You are a temple of the Holy Spirit

Glorify God in your body

I did not make my body – God did. I did not buy it back from sin and Satan – Jesus did. I don’t dwell alone in my body – the Spirit dwells in me. God bought me as a dwelling place for Him so I can be filled with his fullness.

Now that I know that I’ve been bought for the very expensive price of the blood of Jesus and that I am not my own, how should this change the way I steward my body? David Vanrunen points us to the teachings of Paul to be careful to do good works (Titus 3:8) and to be ready to use our bodies for the benefit of others (1 Timothy 6:18). As our light shines before those we encounter (Matthew 5:16) to reflect the glory of God, our hands and arms must be ready to help others. Our legs should be filled with energy and life to meet the needs of our neighbours. God designed this body as a precious gift to enable us to do good works for his glory.

Becoming a good steward of the body God gave me featured Pinterest

We are called to present our bodies as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1) to become instruments of righteousness (Romans 6:13) which advance the Kingdom of Christ Jesus. How can we do this if we are lazy and lethargic? This is where we can steward our fitness for God’s kingdom. What do I want to be fit for? Is it to look good in pictures or to have the ability to display God to the world by my readiness to help others? Physical fitness enables us to have the energy to share the gospel even after a long day. Being fit and healthy makes it possible to serve those in need or to help serve in the church in various capacities. The Master of our bodies wants us to cultivate it well and not engrave it on the couch watching Netflix until He comes back to take us Home.

It is easy to look for excuses not to steward our bodies well like lack of ability, lack of time, limitations of age etc. One of the people who have inspired me the most with her steadfast faith and immovable trust in Christ is Joni Eareckson Tada. Joni became a paraplegic after a diving accident when she was 17 years old. Even though she has no use of any part of her body below her neck, battled cancer and is in a permanent state of unbearable pain, she has served the Body of Christ diligently for over 50 years.

If the Lord can use her body to further His Kingdom, then he can use anyone.

Becoming a good steward

As I measure myself against the mirror of God’s word instead of my bathroom mirror, I must admit that I have not been a very good steward of this body my Maker has entrusted to me. I have treated her as a dilapidated shack that shows no promise. I see a broken body that has failed to be fruitful. I see a body scarred by years of enslavement to food and exercise to glorify myself, instead of her true Owner. I see a body that has been berated for being a bitter disappointment, an embarrassment that prevents me from fully worshipping God for fear of how she will make me look.

It is time to see her for what she is: a gift from the Creator of the universe, bought with a price, and given to me to steward to the service of His Kingdom. This body is being prepared to be glorified and spend eternity with Jesus, my King. It is time to fix the heart of the shack, fixing her up one nail at a time, and to find out what He created me to be. After all, I am not my own.

As He often does, the Lord used a song to show me the truth that I am not my own. “I am Not My Own” by Keith and Kristen Getty is a beautiful song that emphasizes that “I belong to the Lord, oh, I am not my own”.

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