Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
I used to beat myself up with this verse. I would say things to myself like, you have to honor God with your body. If you really loved him, you wouldn’t eat the way you do.
There’s a lot to be said about these verses, but it’s mind-blowing to me that I could grow up in the Church, memorize verses like John 3:16, make wordless book Gospel bracelets at VBS, profess faith in Christ and still not fully grasp the Gospel.
I was never saved on my own accord. My salvation never rested in my ability to perform or demonstrate my great love for God. No, Jesus did it. That’s the whole point. Salvation is of the Lord. He stretched out his arm to accomplish it for himself.
A few years back, I remember feeling similarly discouraged. I was reading an excellent book, Kisses from Katie (highly recommend! in addition to her book Daring to Hope). And again I was condemning myself – I wasn’t living in another country, I hadn’t given up all my stuff to teach the Bible overseas, I wasn’t doing enough. As I sat in my car, driving through my subdivision, I confessed to God with so much sorrow, “I just don’t love you enough.”
And God said, “But my love for you is enough.”
That is the Gospel. The wild and crazy, radically different from every other religion Gospel. It is Good News. Like headlines today report things that have been done, the Good News about Jesus Christ is what he has done. He conquered death, he paid the price, he satisfied his own wrath, he created a way. It’s the only religion where God comes down, humbles himself and completes for himself what no man could ever come close to completing.
Ironically, that moment, driving that morning and hearing from God became such a big catalyst for why I blog today – because God saw me. And if God sees little me, living in America, staying home with my babies, doing nothing extraordinary with my life, then maybe he can use my story to encourage and see anyone else who feels insufficient. To remind them of his greatness. Of his sufficiency. Of his complete disregard for all things the world holds dear. Maybe he can use the holes and the gaps in my story to remind anyone who will listen how Great and Good he is. How majestic and mighty his hand is to save all who might draw near.
And that’s exactly what I wish I had spent more of my life concerning myself over. What he has done opposed to what I think I need to do. He didn’t just die up on that cross to save the world. He saved me. So now, instead of beating myself up with verses about what I don’t think I’m doing well enough, I can first focus on what’s done. And I can first meditate on the earlier words of that chapter in Corinthians: “But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:11).
I don’t believe that some Scripture is more relevant than other Scripture, but I do believe that the Bible needs to be taken in context of the Bible. And if the whole thing is about Jesus, then let us always start there. When we put our trust in Him, we get a new identity. And no longer are we about us, we are now about Him – because of what He has accomplished for us.
The reason I had had such a bad relationship with food had nothing to do with the food itself. It had to do with my identity. I was trying to justify myself with my looks. I was trying to make myself right by being a certain number on a scale.
But in Christ, it is no longer about what I should do, because I can rest in what’s been done. I was justified in the name of Jesus. I was made right because of him and what He did.
So now, the way I treat my body and enjoy food is a fruit of my relationship with Him. It’s the fruit of a whole lot of years of conversations and help and prayers and Scripture. And it’s the beautiful fruit of simply believing that what God says is true.
The other day, my husband sent me to the store for mashed potatoes. Like anyone who makes the terrible choice to go to the store hungry, I came home with much more than mashed potatoes. The sweet checkout woman laughed at my assortment of sushi, potato chips, candy bars and oatmeal cream pies. And then she became my best friend when she assured me that no calories count on the weekend.
But here’s the thing – some 10 years ago, I would have bought those foods and eaten it all at once, all by myself. And I would have been filled with shame and regret. I remember thinking I would never be able to just enjoy food “normally”. But my testimony is this – Jesus changed me. He saved me, and while my habits didn’t change overnight or without a lot of work, they did change. Because he justified me. He gave me a new identity.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. – John 3:17-18
For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it. – John 12:47