Romans 12:1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.
Modern society has certainly spotlighted the importance of this verse. Far too many people today are focused on their bodies almost to the exclusion of everything else, and it’s certainly not holy or as a sacrifice to God. The abortion movement uses the slogan, “My Body, My Choice,” completely ignoring the fact that the baby has a body distinct from the mother, even still in the womb, and they offer the baby’s body, and life, not to God but to their own convenience. Of course, they are faced with that choice because they offered their body to pleasure rather than to God in holiness, and that sin knows no boundaries of gender. The Bible has a lot to say about sexual sin of all sorts, and about alcohol abuse. At that point alcohol was the only significantly available drug, but today drugs of all sorts, prescription and otherwise, would come under the same category. And of course, gluttony comes in here too, though very few people want to admit it. There are churches in America today where lack of obesity is rare! That said, obsession with the body in any form, including anorexia and being a “health freak,” is a symptom of failing to offer our bodies to God. We all have room to grow here, but that fact doesn’t excuse any individual from accountability to God for their body. For genuine Christians, it all comes back to James’ remarks about deceiving ourselves. (James 1:22) We see someone else’ misuse of their body and it makes us feel comfortable with our own. I think this verse puts a point on what Jesus said to the Samaritan woman: “True worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:23-24) Some think that means the body is irrelevant to worship, but Paul says explicitly that offering our bodies is spiritual/reasonable worship. As came out a couple of days ago, we are trinitarian in our makeup just as God is, and at this point in our existence we can’t divorce the spiritual from the physical, and think the physical makes no difference.
This is something I have to keep in focus. I’ve never been particularly obese, nor have I been ensnared by ethanol or other drugs. My fling with nicotine was thankfully brief, and I don’t like the taste of beer at all. However, there’s more to offering my body to God than that. God has been incredibly gracious in the area of sexual sins, guarding me in ways that, looking back on them, were at times miraculous. Also, there’s the matter of my father dying of heart disease at 64 because of failure to understand what he needed to be doing physically as a steward of his body. I’ve outlived him by six years, but there are times when choosing to go walking is a genuine expression of offering my body to God. I actively look forward to heaven, but right now I inhabit this body, and I am responsible to worship God through my use of it.
Father, thank You for this reminder on my 70th birthday. That feels like a considerable milestone! Help me indeed offer my body, and everything else, to You consistently for as long as You keep me here, so that Your purposes may be accomplished in and through me for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!