Body, Soul, Spirit and Body; Pt. 2
Last week, I introduced what I hope to be an ongoing discussion on this blog. To set the context, I must say that I am still learning, and very much at the early stages of connecting the dynamics of the Christian life, and its spiritual implications for how we are to live. And also the first part of ‘all things that pertain to life and godliness.’ Godliness is clearly walked out in our lives. What remains as eternal as the largest of rewards is when we pull down heaven into our daily lives. However, to deny the dynamics that exist between our soul and our spirit(s) and also our minds and bodies, is not the whole picture.
The doctrines surrounding body and soul have not created an onslaught of heretical views in the church. The Gnostic tradition, however, has been something to battle, and on top of its narrow perception of human experience; we also, with much energy, are also combating Greek thinking into a very Hebrew oriented Old Testament and a very Greek oriented New Testament.
Today I would like to discuss the importance of the body, and also how it relates to sexuality. I sought to talk about sex a little bit back in January. I had read Nicole Hardy’s book Confessions Of A Latter-Day Virgin. The book in a nutshell confronts the whole idea behind waiting until you are married to have sex, but also the superfluous pressures on women( in the Mormon church) to have children. This book opened up an avenue to discuss why its such an issue in our 2014 world. I think to better understand sexuality, we need to better understand the body.
When I say body(Somatic—thanks Pastor Billy for the breakdown—for more resources on Level One Discipleship visit http://www.newlifepomona.org)
Somatic, Pneuma, and Socio—I have been learning this myself in discipleship, the church I am really involved with now.
Sin is sin. We can all agree that any form of darkness, any form of evil(as Paul says) is to be avoided. Joseph ran from Potifar’s wife. 1 Cor. 6:18 doesn’t say anything less than ‘flee’ sexual immorality. Ephesians 5 says( in one version) ‘not even a hint of sexual immorality be named among you.’
It is very clear that whatever is defined as sexual immorality, we are to be far from it. But why is the body important and necessary to understand and how does it affect the mind, soul and spirit?
First, our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. The Apostle Paul says in 1 Cor. 6:19-20:
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; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”
The temple in the Old Testament was a physical place containing God’s presence and His spirit. David, in Psalms 132, longed and ‘did not want to rest his eyes’ until God’s dwelling place was present in the earth. Wow! David, thousands of years ago, was ready for the return of God. David was ready for God to come to the earth. God says in Isa. 62 that He will not rest until Jerusalem is a praise in all the earth.
The Old Covenant there was a physical temple, built by Solomon after David dies. Then, in the New Testament, Christ now is in us(Col. 1:27) and we contain the Holy Spirit in us. We are now the temple. God is in us. ‘He is to, and through all things..we live and move and find our being in Him.’ We carry God in us. Scripture points us to Holiness and righteousness, and that especially includes not sinning against ourselves with sexual immorality. In this same passage, Paul says that(paraphrased)..’he who sins sexually sins against himself.’ It is a proven fact(pulling from Mark Driscoll’s Religion Saves book,2009) that depression is a result of sexual sin. It goes as far as suicidal thoughts and actual people having sexual damage driving them to end it. The pain of sexual sins is weighing down a generation. My generation has been broken by a wrong view of sex, through Pornography, and through Hollywood. Our bodies have been damaged by a never ending damaging stream of perversion that exists at just the click of a button. If we defile ourselves there is going to be a sting, even more so than other sins. However, all sin is sin and ‘there is no peace for the wicked!’ So, all of us are ‘guilty before God,’ ‘the wages of sin is death,’ the soul that sins shall die.’
Second, our bodies bear the stamp of God’s image(Gen.1:26). God, Jesus, Holy Spirit formed man in the dust and he became a living soul. We are to value and appreciate our bodies because we are representing our wonderful creator. Ps. 139 proclaims: ‘We are fearfully and wonderfully made.’ We are to rejoice in the way that we look. God has made us for a purpose and a reason and likes the way we look.
We must fight sexual sin and honor God in our bodies. We also must love ourselves because to hate the way we are and the way we look is to rage against God. He will not be moved in His opinion of us. His love and joy over us is beyond anything we can imagine. We are to agree with the truth that God requires Holy living, as well as taking care of our bodies. We honor God by eating right, exercising and sleeping well. If we are stuffing ourselves with entertainment( I am so guilty of that one) and/or pornography we are giving access to the devil, for he hates the image bearers. The devil hates men and women.
I want to make this very practical. I am writing this as if I was preaching it to 2 people or 200 people. How can we love ourselves and see ourselves in the way God sees us?
1. Reading the word.
Scripture is our greatest tool and the ultimate source of truth. If we don’t renew our minds and build our lives around the word then we cannot know God. We also must pray-read the bible, not just read it. Sing it. Say it. Speak it. Shout it. Write it. Meditate on it. Study it. Most of all, let the word divide you(Heb. 4:12), as well as working out our own salvation with ‘fear and trembling.’ Let us have humble and contrite hearts before God.
2. Seek God’s approval and not comparison.
God looks at the heart. Man looks at the outward appearance. Comparing to other Christians, or other people is both unwise and also not helpful. We aspire to be like other people. In terms of lifestyle and provoking each other to prayer, the word and love for Jesus; we are too, see others as good examples for us. There is nothing wrong with being encouraged by others. What we are to fight against is wanting(coveting) other people’s personality mix, or their physical appearance.
3. Take everything to God in prayer. It takes a strong prayer life to work through these lies. The lies bombard us every day. Be in prayer and on guard with what you are putting before your eyes. The great Psalms 119 says to ‘remove worthless things from your eyes(paraphrased).’
4. Body meets the mind and the Spirit. What you do in your body affects your mind. There is a deep connection between thoughts and behavior. There is a deep connection between chemicals( from foods, how we eat) and behavior, or brain patterns. I do not have all the answers but I do know that dismissing the brain and the body doesn’t help anyone. I seek to know wholeness.
In the spirit of not wanting to succumb to self-hatred:
We are the be men in accordance to what Jesus says and does. With no study of Jesus, we will try to be like what the world defines a man is. And what Hollywood calls a man is not what God says a man is. Love is the ultimate source of transformation. Paul ‘put away childish things’ in the context to growing in love. It seems to make the most sense that maturity is achieved through knowing who we are before God. What Christ says about us and what He has purchased for us. Gal. 3:26 “We are all sons of God through faith in Christ(paraphrased).” We are the leaders. We are to lead women to Jesus. We are lead our children as God fearing fathers. If you want to ever get married there has to be a maturity in you. You can’t love your wife and not love yourself(Ephesians 5) and cannot be an effective leader if you are not getting full of God yourself. Living out the beattitudes is the minimum requirement. You should be filling up with poverty of Spirit, hungering and thirsting for righteousness, exc. Humility and meekness working together in you. Know that you are honoring women by honoring your own body first, and also honoring their bodies by not looking at pornography and seeing women, not as objects, but as deeply treasured people that bear the stamp of God’s jealousy. Learn how to be friends with women and encouraging them in Godliness. Being a man is being Godly. Let us go down the hard path and rejoice in trials because God is with us. Let’s be men.
The body has never been so attacked as it is now. Pornography has destroyed the view of women. Its violence has degraded, devalued and destroyed what God intends for women. It is hard to be a women these days. It is hard because the world is bombarding you with “Skinny” with “models” with so many perverse and scandalous images of what seems as if it satisfies. Our bodies are so precious to God. Our frame. Our hair color. Your hair color. Your eyes. Whether you are tall, short, in the middle; all of it, is beyond valuable. Any man that does not recognize that is not worthy of being in your life. I have not done this perfectly in my life. I have had to fight and war against the immorality that I have partook of. Its a process for all of us. But I write this( as if I was preaching it) to say that if we can rise above this as men and women and value the way we look, and not despise ourselves, then we will be way more effective then we can ever realize.
My prayer for anyone reading this: make peace with yourselves. Be a peacemaker in how you view yourself. How you look and act are all valuable to God. Sin and despair, depression and oppression try to steal your time and your focus from ‘earthly things’ to Col. 3-heavenly things.
More to come on this series next week. Thanks for reading.