“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God — this is your true and proper worship” (Romans 12:1 NIV).
For change to happen in any area of your life, whether it’s financial, vocational, educational, mental, or relational, you have to begin with the physical.
Why? Because your body affects your behavior. Your muscles affect your moods and your motivation. Your physiology can actually affect your psychology.
Romans 12:1 says, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God — this is your true and proper worship” (NIV).
The problem with a living sacrifice is that it can choose to crawl off the altar. We do this all the time. We offer ourselves to God, and then we take ourselves back. This is not a once-for-all offer. You’ve got to do it four, five, or maybe 10 times a day!
So what is “your true and proper worship”? There are three things you can do with your body that the Bible says are acts of worship:
- Cleanse your body. The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 7:1, “Let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God” (NIV). You cleanse your body by controlling what you allow in your mind through what you watch and listen to, and in your body by what you eat and drink.
- Care for your body. Ephesians 5:29 says, “No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church” (NLT, second edition). Keeping your body in shape is an act of worship to God.
- Control your body. “Each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable” (1 Thessalonians 4:4 NIV). Control your body so that it doesn’t control you. There is no reason to say, “I couldn’t help myself!”
No matter what kind of change you want to make in your life, it will require energy. To have the energy to meet your goals, change has to start with your body.
Talk It Over
- What are practical ways you can honor God through your body today?
- What are the small ways you need to work on controlling your body? What are the big ways?
- How does Christ “feed and care for the church”? Why do you think God wants you to do the same with your body?