Tag Archives: Garden of Eden

Is Your Body a Temple or an Idol?

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Last year a girl with an eating disorder crossed our path here in Costa Rica.  After she went home, we lost contact with her for a few months, until one day just recently one of our students asked if I had seen this girl’s Facebook page recently.  I had not.  I navigated to her page and gasped at the change in this girl.  Eight months had aged her 20 years!  When I knew her, she looked like a Barbie.  But her obsessive food rules, over tanning, and excessive exercising were already a problem for her. Now, she looked like a leather covered skeleton.

One of our students who was looking over my shoulder at the time looked into my eyes with a horrified gaze.  “Do you think that is a sin?”  he asked me.  “Isn’t our body the temple of the Holy Spirit?”

mary-kate-olsen-cover-of-w-magazine_lI pondered for a second.  “Yes.  Our body is the temple of the Lord.  But some people make it an Idol instead,” I said.  She became focused on having a perfect body and that’s what she did to her temple.  She placed her own body image in a higher priority than relationships with others or her relationship with God.  She found her self-worth in the gym instead of in Jesus.  She was hard on herself and critical of others.  She gloated over heavier women.  She became her own idol.

The world has a twisted version of perfection, especially where women’s body image is concerned.  It is not coincidence.  Satan has a special hatred for women which started in the Garden of Eden.  If he can get us to destroy our bodies, then we are just doing his job for him.  Think about it, Women.  Who controls the Fashion Industry?  Gay men.  This is why the body shape of a 10 year old boy is promoted as the perfect form and womanly curves are to be hated.  We continue to listen to women-haters telling us that we aren’t perfect enough.  In the process our Holy Temple becomes an Idol.

When my son was born, I held a scrawny, muscular baby in my hands and marveled.  When my first daughter was born, I felt the difference in her body shape the second she came into this world.  I felt her squishy bottom.  I noticed the pleasing pads of fat along the back of her hips already.  She was never plump, but she was definitely a girl.  Boys and girls come out of the womb with differences that should be celebrated.

God gave us our bodies to be reverently cared for as Holy Temples, useful for his purposes.  But when we elevate our ideals or our personal projection of beauty above our useful service to God, then we are sinning.  Our bodies are to be Temples, not Idols.

Photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/tollieschmidt/3657519441/”>tollieschmidt</a&gt; / <a href=”http://foter.com”>Foter.com</a&gt; / <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>CC BY-NC-SA</a>

Playing with Fire

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“Can a man scoop fire into his lap and not get burned?”

fire-manI’ve noticed a disturbing trend among my peers from my circle of  “church friends.”  For some reason, my generation feels it’s “cool” to dabble in the things that their parents taught them were sin.  Not everything that used to be considered bad is still considered evil.  For example, there was a time when card playing was a sure sign that you were flirting with the Devil.  And going to a movie was sure to condemn you to hell, in some circles.  Now times have changed, and some of those social no-no’s are not given a second thought.  I wear make-up, I cut my hair when I want to, I wear pants- all things that my great grandmother would never have done.  So I’m not talking about the petty cultural behaviors that bind us to a particular set of rules.  What I am talking about is a deliberate tearing down of the morals that we were raised with.

Sometimes those boundaries are in place for a reason.  For example, alcoholism runs in my extended family.  My father saw first hand the dangers of alcohol when his mother and siblings because addicted.  He suspected that there was some genetic disposition to liking alcohol even before the scientists began to confirm that there is indeed a genetic element to addiction.  So for that reason, we were raised to avoid alcohol.  As an adult, I can choose to do whatever I want with my life.  However, I choose to honor my father by avoiding alcohol.  I believe that it is healthier for me, but moreover, the Lord has promised me a long life if I honor my parents.  It is the only one of the 10 Commandments with a promise attached to it.

under-the-bridgeI have seen so many friends who have taken a rebellious teenage attitude in their adult life.  They choose to go out to bars or to drink alcohol at home even though they were not raised that way.  Their excuse is, “It’s not specifically in the Bible that we can’t drink.  It only says don’t get drunk.”  I don’t deny that.  But what I am talking about is the attitude behind the decision in the first place.  It is a blatant rejection of their parents that pushes them to permit things that were unpermissible in their childhood home.  This rebellion leads people down a path towards brokenness.

I have seen friends at various stages of this rebellion and eventually they all end up hurt and disillusioned by their own choices.  They may not see the connection, but with my distance and lack of emotional entanglement in the scene, I see the direct correlation between that rebellion against their parents and their present situation.

I have seen friends end their marriages with affairs and divorce.  I have seen families who are shocked and embarrassed when their son is kicked out of high school for alcohol possession, yet the family drinks at home.  I have seen families leave a church because of its heavy emphasis on the Holy Spirit, then they are stunned when their kids grow up and lead unholy lives.  I have seen so many friends remain single for years and years, cruising the bar scene each weekend looking for an escape from their loneliness- looking for their soulmate in a room full of unbelievers.  But they were brought up with an understanding that a Christian should not yoke themselves to an unbeliever.  I have seen friends decide to live with their girlfriend or boyfriend before they marry, even though they know that fornication is a sin.

But these friends who assert their “rights” do so to their own detriment.  Proverbs asks, “Can a man scoop fire into his lap and not be burned?”  Can we dabble with rebellion and not expect consequences?  The proverb does not say you have no right to scoop fire into your lap, or pour it down your throat, it just says don’t expect that you will escape the results.  Devastation is the natural destination of that journey that began with the first step of rebellion- the attitude of “I will do things MY way.”  It has been this way since the Garden of Eden.  Rebellion has consequences.

Photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/kuzeytac/3459680851/”>Kuzeytac (will be back soon)</a> / <a href=”http://foter.com”>Foter.com</a&gt; / <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>CC BY-NC-ND</a>

Photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/pepsiguitar/8164795429/”>E Tran</a> / <a href=”http://foter.com”>Foter.com</a&gt; / <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>CC BY-NC</a>