And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.
Do our bodies really matter? Or are they just insignificant shells for our spirits? Does God care about what we do with our bodies? Romans 12:1-2 answers these questions by showing us how we might use our bodies to live Christmasly
Romans 12 examines some practical implications of the gospel, which Paul meticulously considers in the first eleven chapters of Romans. These implications are a response to “all that [God] has done for you” (literally, to the “mercies” of God). The first step of the response is this: “[T]o give your bodies to God. . . . Let them be a living and holy sacrifice–the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him” (12:1). Notice the emphasis here on our bodies. We serve the Lord, not just in our hearts, not just in our thinking, not just in our feelings, but also and essentially in what we do with our bodies. Our bodies and what we do with them matter to God. (Photo: Two leaders from Irvine Presbyterian Church offering their bodies to God in service as they build a home in Mexico.)
One way to talk about this is to say that our faith in Christ is to be lived incarnationally, that is, in the flesh of our bodies. The Incarnation of the Word of God is not only essential for our salvation. It also underscores the value of the body as a vehicle for God’s activity in the world. The fact that the Word became flesh provides a theological foundation for the call in Romans 12:1 to give our bodies to God as “a living and holy sacrifice.” We worship God with our bodies, not only in the context of the gathering of the church for offering praise to God, but also in our daily lives.
Living Christmasly means recognizing that our bodies are instruments through which we honor God. It means taking seriously what we do each day because God takes it seriously as well.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: How might the connection between the Incarnation and your body impact they way you live? How might you use your body as a way of worshiping God today?
PRAYER: Gracious Lord, thank you for creating us as embodied creatures. Thank you for allowing us to serve you with our bodies. Thank you for reminding us of just how much our bodies matter through the Incarnation of the Word.
Help me, Lord, to use my body for your service. May I learn to worship you in each moment of each day as I present my whole self before you as a living and holy sacrifice. Amen.
Today’s post is one of the Daily Reflections that I write for The High Calling of Our Daily Work (www.thehighcalling.org), a wonderful website about work and God. You can read my Daily Reflections there, or sign up to have them sent to your email inbox each day. This website contains lots of encouragement for people who are trying to live out their faith in the workplace.