Last year I received a subscription box called the GLOW Box. It was full of Christian based items based out of Ontario. Two things I love to support.
In one of these said boxes last year was a book called Beholding and Becoming by Ruth Chou Simons. It is full of her artwork, which is beautiful and inspiring, and readings about beholding God and worshipping Him in all circumstances. I would highly recommend reading it.
I have to admit though that it has been collecting dust on my shelf for the last year. I only started reading it this month. And I think there is a reason for it. If I had read it when I received it, I would not have been as impacted by her words. There have been many incidents in recent weeks when what I have been reading had a direct correlation to what is going on in my life.
Just after Mother’s Day, I was having a bit of an issue with some members of my family and the next night the chapter topic was about families. A couple weeks ago I posted about the struggles I am having with my back and tonight I read about worshipping God with our bodies.
This really stood out for me and here’s why:
A few years ago I read The Daniel Plan, a healthy lifestyle Bible study published by Rick Warren. It is a really good program with healthy teachings. I would encourage anyone to read it. After reading it I ended up leading three small group sessions over the next couple of years.
One of the many Bible verses it references is Romans 12:1.
Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship.
In the context of The Daniel Plan, it is using that verse as a justification for how to treat your body, what to eat and be physically healthy. For someone with food addiction issues, it is absolutely a great reminder. These are not our bodies and we need to treat them with care.
But as I read this other book tonight, and reading Ruth’s commentary, a light went off in my head (which led me to write this).
Our bodies are broken. None of us are whole. Based on Paul’s letter to the Romans, Ruth says this:
“When we read this verse, we tend to immediately focus on our part-our duty. We put ‘off your bodies as a living sacrifice” on the checklist of ‘true and proper’ things to get after on our journey to holiness. But if this offering were dependent on how fit, how strong, how pretty, or how capable we were, true worship would escape the likes of Paul, you and me” (pg 184)
When we look at the next verse of Romans 12, it is another verse we are all familiar with. I think part of the challenge is we too often separate these two verses. What if we put them together as they were meant to be, read them together.
We offer our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God and that begins by transforming our hearts and our minds!
God is more concerned I think with the condition of our heart and mind than the rest of our body. Ironically, if we focus on these two areas first, putting God first, not using food as an idol, or alcohol, or the TV, or our cell phones, then our physical health will be much easier to manage.
When I look at my life right now, am I transforming my heart and mind? Not always. I still struggle with food. As I mentioned before, I sometimes focus too much on the pain and not enough on God. I have days, like today,where I barely get off the couch and watch TV all day.
I also struggle with, what I feel, is not reading my Bible enough, not pray enough, never being enough. I struggle with depression, being vulnerable with those closest to me, staying focused on what I need to do, being able to change the bad habits. I struggle with accepting the pain.
Because I struggle in these areas, I have a harder time with changing some of the physical aspects of my life. I get caught in that vicious circle of wanting to change the habits, I am unable to stick with it, I stumble and then I fall back into the old habit. Then I start all over again.
Knowing that Jesus accepts this physically and mentally broken body makes it all a little bit easier. He knows I will stumble and He knows I will even fall sometimes, but He loves me anyways and accepts my broken sacrifice.
I don’t think He wants or even needs a perfect sacrifice. He knows we are not capable of it.
At the same time, I think His view would change a bit if we were to offer an unrepentant, purposefully broken sacrifice.
This reminds me of Cain and Abel. God did not accept Cain’s sacrifice the same way He accepted Abel’s. Cain killed his brother, almost as though offering up another sacrifice.
Going out of our way to offer a broken sacrifice is very different than one we break in spite of ourselves.
Look in the mirror and examine yourself. How is your physical health? What does your mental health look like? What is being reflected from your heart? Do people see God when they see you and really look at you? What part are you sacrificing to God: your body, your heart or your mind?
Please share your thoughts with me. I would love to hear from you.