Everything that God has given us is good and God desires that we use all of our gifts to live well.
In verses 19 and 20 of Chapter 6 in the First Letter to the Corinthians, Paul gives us a reflection on the Trinity and in doing so gives us another opportunity to reflect on how precious we all are in the eyes of God. In verse 19 Paul asks us, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?” This idea expressed by Paul here disturbs many today who believe that they are the “owners” of their own body.
Paul’s insight here is a very sophisticated and important one. In Psalm 139, verse 13, the psalmist, filled with awe and wonder, says to God, “…you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” And Paul tells us here that God did so for a purpose, that is, to be a temple, a place where God’s Holy Spirit could dwell within each of us. This knowledge gives us a fuller meaning of our verse for today. In this insight we see how precious we are to God. Each of us is intimately made by the hand of God. We are the work of his hands. Because of this intimacy we are precious to God. We are so precious to him that, even though we have fallen into the slavery of sin and tarnished the temple of our bodies many times, he sent his only begotten Son into the world to pay a great price for us, to purchase our freedom from that slavery once and for all, forever. And what a price Jesus paid! It cost him everything he had to give, and suffering beyond comprehension, to purchase back our freedom once and for all , forever. How are we to respond to such a gift?
Everything that God has given us is good and God desires that we use all of our gifts to live well. Among these gifts are things like food and our sexuality. God desires that we enjoy these things, to use them fully. But these can be misused as well. We are supposed to “glorify God in our bodies.” When we misuse our bodies and the gifts of food and our sexuality we are defiling the temple, the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit.
Food is for our health and nourishment. When we overindulge in either, there are natural consequences to our health and well being. When we overindulge we are making food and drink into gods. Our devotion to them supercedes our more natural devotion to the One who loves us with an abiding and infinite love. When we abuse our sexuality, when we use it improperly, it is always done so for selfish purposes. Our sexuality is a beautiful gift from God. In our sexuality we participate in the creative power of God. We partner with him in the potential creation of new life. Our sexuality creates the most intimate bond possible between two people, and when it is used in its proper manner and fashion, it is an intimate expression of our relationship with God. With our sexuality we take on an awesome responsibility for life, its protection, and its nourishment. In understanding it, and using it so, we give glory to God. When we use our bodies in the proper fashion that they were made for we are showing our respect for him and for the temple, the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit, he has made of our bodies. This is our proper response to the gifts that we have been given. In this we give the proper praise that is due our God and Maker.
Lord, help us to grow in strength and self-discipline so that we may worthily govern our bodies and use them with proper dignity and due respect. All that we have is yours, yes, even our bodies. We wish to give you thanks for this great gift. Lord we pray that you will give us the graces we need to know and to honor our bodies as the dwelling place of you Holy Spirit. We pray these things in the name of Jesus. Amen!
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