READ: Psalm 71, Ezekiel 46-48, Mark 15, 1 Corinthians 6


Every culture has blind spots. Some American Christians struggle to understand their European brothers and sisters who drink alcohol, don’t spank their kids, and vote for Socialist or Green party candidates. Some European Christians wonder how their American cousins can be saved and resent gun control, appear careless about conservation, and eat so unhealthy.

Paul reminds us that though both sex and food are good things (1 Cor. 6:13), and the follower of Jesus should not be brought under the power of any good thing other than Jesus (v. 12). We tend to vigorously uphold sexual morality and frequently abuse the physical temple in which the Spirit of God resides. Both sexual immorality and gluttony are gross sins against our bodies (v. 18), and Jesus does not allow any other master to have rule over us.

There are some contexts (Africa, for example) that approve a large body, for it signifies wealth and status. The Bible however is supra-cultural and does not concede an unhealthy body to any culture; none is excused for violating God’s temple. Nutrition and exercise do not seem like spiritual topics, but they are. We are remiss (sinful) if we are fat or lazy. To be clear: If we are not exercising or showing restraint in our eating, if we are overweight, we are sinning. There is something profoundly disturbing about an overweight missionary or preacher teaching about holiness, freedom, or deliverance when we are so obviously in the power of another. We are not glorifying God in our body, we are under the power of “another”–something other than Jesus.

It is not sheer discipline or willpower that rescues us from the power of another. Sexual sin and gluttony are not conquered by effort alone. Those who are overweight and do not exercise are not bound in that condition for lack of trying to escape. There is a spiritual principle behind the cleansing of every temple. Paul puts it this way: “And God who raised up the Lord will raise us up by His power” (1 Cor. 6:14). Stunningly this promise is smack in the middle of the passage on sex and food. We cannot conquer our physical addictions (whatever they are) without the same spiritual power that raised Jesus from the dead. This is stunning! God is offering us resurrection power to help us exercise and eat in a balanced fashion. How marvelous is this God of glory who empowers us both to die for Him among the nations and also to get up early to go jogging–that His temple might in all ways be adorned.

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