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“It’s my body. I can do anything with it that I want,” is just bad theology. Everything belongs to God (see Psalm 24:1). Your body is only on loan from God for a few short years. He’ll let you know when your time to use it is up.
In the meantime, part of our vocation as children of the Lord is to care for and use these bodies wisely and in a manner that pleases Him, because it’s His dwelling (see 1 Corinthians 6:19).
Physical wellbeing starts with being tuned in to the Lord’s will and purpose for our lives. That’s how I interpret “sensitivity” in Ephesians 4:19. What a joy it is to know that God cares about our physical wellbeing, and cares enough to guide us into good choices!
Paul wrote to the Ephesians that “Gentiles”, those without saving faith in Christ, are “darkened in their understanding.” They live by “the futility of their thinking.” That doesn’t sound so great. Paul’s specific concern was about the sexual behavior of the Lord’s children, but I don’t believe it’s a great leap to apply this lesson to all of our physical behavior.
As new creations in Christ, we no longer live by uncontrolled passion with a continual lust for more. Disciples are disciplined.
When it comes to physical wellbeing, I think God’s people could be more sensitive, more tuned in, to the Lord’s voice in at least three ways:
First, I ask myself, “Am I sensitive to the physical infirmities of others?” Everyone is born with a different capacity for physical activity. We suffer from different obstacles to wellness along the way through injury or illness. Those with greater capacity and strength can live in service to those in need.
Second, I can ask, “Am I tuned in to the messages God is sending to me through my body?” Exhaustion is a message from the One who created me: “Slow down!” Pain is a message: “Something’s not right here!” Physical symptoms of illness, and there are thousands, should all be tended to carefully. Health screenings and a physician’s care keep me at top capacity for service to God, to family and to community.
Third, sensitivity means an openness to the Spirit’s leading to change behavior. Poor dietary habits and slackness in physical discipline can be sinful. The fifth commandment encourages us to “help and support [our neighbor] in every physical need.” We begin with our own needs.
Sensitivity to the Lord’s leading would tell us that we “need” fruits and vegetables more than we “need” donuts and tequila. We enjoy God’s wonderful gifts of chocolate and the fruit of the vine, but in moderation so that we’re fit to respond when He calls.
What a joy that followers of Jesus have not lost all sensitivity, but are open to God’s guidance and discipline, that we might know the joy of physical fitness, to the degree He grants it.
May God grant you health, joy, vitality, and the sensitivity to make good choices!
Thanks for reading.
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