Hi, welcome to Redeem the Commute. I’m Ryan, your host of the Daily Challenges. Today’s Wednesday, so it’s the day we try to let our thoughts be challenged and transformed by the words of the Bible that we saw yesterday.
This week, we’re looking at how following Jesus resets our view of food and the body. We saw yesterday how God didn’t give us things in this world, like food, or our bodies, or any other resource we have, for unlimited use and abuse. When we do that, what happens is it can become something to be worshipped. It can dominate our lives and control what we do and how we do it.
Just think, if we allow food to become the center of our lives, if we pursue food to excess … we keep trying to find emotional stability, or love, or whatever it is, through food … it very quickly destroys our lives. It very quickly controls our lives. You just look at some of these stories of people who weigh hundreds or almost a thousand pounds, who are confined to their homes. Food has absolutely come to dominate their lives. It determines what they can do for a living, if anything. It determines when they can leave their house. Food has completely consumed them, even though they thought they were the ones consuming food.
It’s an extreme example, but this can happen in smaller ways in all of our lives. When we take something in this life and we assume it’s ours to enjoy to unlimited excess, it very quickly takes over. It controls us. To use the language of idol worship, when we take something in this life and we pursue it to unlimited excess, we’re basing our lives around it. It’s like we’ve begun to worship as our god. Since it is just something physical in this world, that’s idolatry, whenever we take something God created and we pretend it’s Him.
God has always given us limits on the resources that he’s given to us as a gift. First example was in the Garden of Eden, when God created a garden with all the food that the humans He put in that garden could ever need. He said, “Don’t eat from that one tree, of the knowledge of good and evil.” God gave a limit, that this world wasn’t created for us to destroy and overrun. It was created for us to live in under God’s care and guidance.
When humans went ahead and ate that fruit they weren’t supposed to eat, they were jumping out from under God’s care and guidance, and saying they wanted to worship themselves, and their decadence, and their feelings of contentment, and their feelings of power, more than God.
Later in the history of the Bible, we see the nation of Israel being given all sorts of explicit instructions by God, especially around food. What kinds of foods were safe for them to eat, what kind of foods were unclean. Some of those laws seem arbitrary to us today, but we can see how, looking back, they were made to preserve the Israelite people to be God’s people through history. God had a plan for them, and food was at its center. Limits on food were at the center of God’s laws for that people. God wanted them to know that they were under God’s care and provision, and under God’s love as His chosen people. Part of that was symbolized in how He gave them limits on their consumption of food.
Paul reminds the Corinthians that they were bought at a price, kind of like the Israelites were brought at a price when God led them out of Egypt, out of slavery into freedom. The same way, he’s saying, Christians in Corinth, you were bought at a price.
He uses the language of ransom, somebody paying the ransom, not to free somebody who was kidnapped, but to free somebody with such a debt they could never repay it on their own. Somebody would come to a market, find somebody like that, and buy them out, buy them essentially as a servant, and say, “I will release you from your debt. You don’t have to pay that debt to other people, that now you work for me. You can pay it off by working for me.” Kind of like when at a restaurant, somebody can’t pay their bill, they might end up doing dishes in the back until it’s all paid off.
Paul uses the language of ransom. He says, “Corinthians, you have been paid for a price,” reminding them of that, to remind them that their bodies are not their own. They didn’t create themselves. They didn’t buy themselves. God created them. Even when they rebelled against God, God bought them back with His own blood by coming to Earth as Jesus Christ and dying for us.
Jesus bought our debt for us, paid it off, a debt we could never repay on our own. We so separated ourselves from God through something called sin that we could never get back to Him on our own. The ultimate sign of that separation was our death, our spiritual and physical death being the final end of our lives. Jesus took that debt upon Himself, He took death upon Himself, die for us, so we could have freedom. He paid the price to free us, not to have unlimited freedom and just run off, and run amuck, and do whatever we wanted, but so we could now work for Him. He paid the price that we needed to pay. He paid our bill here at the restaurant so we could now work for Him.
When the Corinthians, or we, abuse our bodies, when we don’t treat them well today, what we’re doing is we’re basically pretending they’re our own. That we weren’t bought at a price but that we own everything we have, that we created it all from nothing, that we’re essentially God. That’s why Paul wanted to remind the Corinthians they were bought at a price. You are not God. You owe a debt. Your freedom was bought at a price. Your bodies were bought at a price. Treat them as if they were precious, knowing how much you lost before and how much you gained through Jesus Christ.
Followers of Jesus don’t have the luxury of pretending our bodies are our own. We always need to remember that we were bought at a price by Jesus. Following Jesus resets everything, including how we view our bodies and food.
There’s another line from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians. Shortly after Paul applied this whole food argument to sexuality, he concluded by talking about our bodies in a very specific way. He said, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”
This whole body-is-a-temple thing is a common line for bodybuilding guys to remind people around them, especially women, that their body is a temple and should be worshipped. No, the temple was never made to be worshipped. For the Jewish people, the temple was a building where God’s physical presence on Earth was going to reside. God was the one to be worshipped, not His building.
When Paul says “your body is a temple,” he’s reminding them that since they were bought at a price, the Holy Spirit now resides in them. God’s spirit is now in them. Their body is a temple. All the reverence that was once shown to the physical building of the temple now needs to be shown to their physical bodies, since God resides in them and God bought them. Their bodies now belong to God as followers of Jesus.
I’ve got a question for you to consider today and hopefully discuss with others you know from the commute, or from work, or from home. Here’s the question.
Question: How should a Christian treat their body differently, since it is a temple for the Holy Spirit? How can we show reverence and respect for the body as a temple bought by God, and not our own?
Have a great discussion. Don’t forget we’re reading the Bible in sync as a community, so check our website or app to see what today’s reading is. Have a great one. I’ll see you tomorrow.Read the Bible in Sync Today