Friday, June 6, 2014

Temple Maintenance

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 is well known. Paul tells us:

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

Verse 18 provides the context for this idea; it is talking specifically about sexual sin as using the body in ways that dishonor God instead of honoring him. What if we took the architectural metaphor further though? What if this idea of our bodies as temples had more far-reaching implications?

Instead of just focusing on the use of the building (in this case, our bodies) let’s think of its upkeep and maintenance; structures need to be taken care of. They need to be cleaned, re-painted and re-roofed. They will occasionally need new furnaces or air conditioning units, and have broken pipes fixed. Sometimes floor joists and roof rafters rot out and need to be replaced, or someone punches through wall board, and the resultant hole requires patching and refinishing. Plus, the utility bills must be paid, so there is fuel to keep all the systems running smoothly.

Our temples of the Holy Spirit, our bodies, are no different. Cleanliness is next to godliness, it is said. Keeping ourselves clean not only helps to maintain our physical attractiveness to our spouse, (and keeps us from offending other people we have to interact with!) but it can help keep us healthy too. Exercise is also “temple maintenance.” Like a building left vacant slowly erodes, so do muscles that go unused atrophy and weaken. Injuries must be tended to, and sometimes rehabilitation is necessary to restore full function to a body part or system. Food keeps all systems functioning, and making healthy choices can accomplish many things beyond simple refueling. It can help fight off disease, purge harmful substances and cleanse the body.

It our responsibility to keep our bodies in good working order. The better we function, the better we can do the kingdom work God has set aside for us to do. We don’t have to do it alone though; it can be a source of joy, and a way to foster deeper intimacy if we do things with our spouse. Tony and Alisa DiLorenzo (of the ONE Extraordinary Marriage podcast) list “recreational intimacy” among the six different types of intimacy that strengthen the bond between husband and wife. (In their book Stripped Down) Exercise together! Go for walks (or runs!) or take yoga, or a self-defense class. Challenge each other in tennis or squash, or work as a team and challenge other couples.

Make it a goal to have fun, and the health benefits will come without it even seeming like work!

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