The Living Bible paraphrases the words of St. Paul in the 12 chapter of Romans like this: “And so, dear brothers (and sisters), I plead with you to give your bodies to God. Let them be a living sacrifice, holy—the kind he can accept. When you think of what he has done for you, is this too much to ask? Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but be a new and different person with a fresh newness in all you do and think. Then you will learn from your own experience how his ways will really satisfy you.”
I think that it’s important that we focus on how we treat our bodies and how those actions (or inactions) affect the rest of the body of Christ. Often, we believe that the things that we do to ourselves or by ourselves don’t matter. However, when we look at the passage from Romans quoted above, we see that we are not to engage in the types of behavior that the rest of the world engages in. In fact, we are to be different from what we used to be. Many people who accept Christ don’t do anything to change the way that they live, and they expect that Christianity involves being yourself, just forgiven of your sins.
However, when we really look deeper into the sacrifice of Jesus and what it means for us, we get a different picture of what the Christian life really looks like. What we see is that Jesus became a literal sacrifice so that we could live as spiritual sacrifices. Jesus died so that we don’t have to. However, He didn’t die so that we could live however we want. He died so that we could live like God wants. In reality, we were the ones who should have died on that cross, but Jesus took our place. We literally deserved death because of our rebellion against God, but Jesus took that place for us.
Because Jesus took our place, it means that He took our death, so He now owns our life. That means that the things that we do with our lives—and with our bodies—matter to God and they matter to the rest of the body of Christ—our fellow believers. You might think that the things that you do by yourself or to yourself only matter to you, but when you take your relationship with God and fellow Christians seriously, you find that those personal actions really do matter. When we don’t treat our bodies as holy, living sacrifices, we begin to have wrong thoughts, wrong beliefs, and a wrong spirit.
As we journey through Lent, let’s look at how we treat our bodies and remember that we are called to be holy, living sacrifices to God. Maybe God is calling on you to change the way you look at or treat your body. Maybe there’s something that you’re doing that you think only affects you. However, we are each members of the body, which is the body of Christ, and the baggage that we bring with us as we fellowship and worship with our brothers and sisters in Christ can affect our corporate identity in Christ. Take some time to search the heart of God and ask Him to reveal to you what He wants you to do and the lifestyle that He wants you to live. You will be blessed!