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. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
In the heat of the battle for purity, sexuality can feel like a burden and a curse. We might even find ourselves wishing that God had made us asexual beings, or that he would just take away all those feelings and all those desires. Yet we know that God is a loving Father who looks upon his people with kindness. Far be it from this Father to give us something that is bad for us! Our body, along with all it’s beautiful passions, urges and desires, is a good gift from God.
Our bodies matter. We are not merely ‘spirits trapped in a temporary cage’. Nor are we merely a body with no eternal soul. We are an inter-dependant unity, living our lives as bodily souls, or ensouled bodies. In this life now, we are always spiritual, and are we are always physical. That is what it means to be human.
In the context of 1 Corinthians 6, Paul is saying that we can’t drag our bodies through the muck of sin without having some spiritual effect. If we have sex with someone we shouldn’t, we unite our whole spiritual and bodily selves with them— it’s an outrage and it has lasting effects. Because our bodies are now the temple, or home, of God’s Holy Spirit– joined to our own spirits– we are to honour God with our bodies. That’s why God takes sexual purity so seriously.
That’s why Paul rebukes the Corinthian church for their immorality and gives them this command: Glorify God in your body. This is a command he gives to the married and to the unmarried. Our sexuality has been entrusted to us as a gift from God. We serve as faithful stewards when we use it in the ways God intends. Whether married or unmarried, we are to express our sexuality only in ways that honour God. Whatever our personal situation, it is God who owns our bodies, not us; it is God who owns our sexuality, not us. My brother, be a faithful steward of the gift God has entrusted to you.
Father, you tell me that I can and must glorify you in my body. I believe that you have given sexuality to me as a gift. I may not always understand why you have done this because it does not always feel like a gift. But I do understand that you are good and kind and that you love me. I pray that I would be a faithful steward of this gift, that in that final day you would look at how I have stewarded this gift and say to me, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”