“Self-Care” is About His Body Too
Today we’re going to examine how self-care relates to “His body.” Last week we looked to the example of Jesus to try and learn what true, Biblical self-care looks like. We discovered that Jesus did, in fact, practice self-care during His time here on earth. Though, it didn’t really look much like the picture the world tries to paint for us.
Jesus made spending time alone with His Father a priority. He went through grueling spiritual preparations before entering into battle with Satan. He was in tune with the Holy Spirit, and willing to change His plans if God led Him a different way. Each of these things required intention, and Jesus was committed to taking care of Himself in order to be fully equipped for the job to which His Father had called Him. Are we called to anything less? (If you have a few minutes, and you didn’t have a chance to read last week’s post, do it now. It lays a solid foundation for what we’re going to discuss today.)
Now let’s look a little more closely at one surprising area in which the Bible calls us to be intentional in our self-care efforts.
Caring for the Temple of the Holy Spirit
1 Corinthians 3:16-17 – Don’t you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you? God will destroy anyone who destroys this temple. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.
I doubt the concept of our bodies being the temple of the Holy Spirit is new to most of us. We know the Bible teaches that after the resurrection, the Holy Spirit of God came to indwell the hearts of believers everywhere. Most of us have probably even heard this truth listed as a reason to practice good self-care: Why should we take care of our bodies? Because we are the temple of God.
BUT… there’s something else hiding in those verses. Did you see it? I must admit, I never had before… at least, not in connection to taking care of my body.
Yes, my body is the temple of God, and your body is the temple of God. But in fact, the temple of God is all of our bodies together!!!! And this passage makes it clear that God is pretty passionate about the care of His temple!
Let me tell ya, I’ve never even thought to consider care for the church as part of self-care. But as I’ve studied Scripture to clarify this topic, I can’t escape the fact that it is. It very much is. God’s love for His body is fervent, and He calls us to follow His example. There are so many passages that extensively demonstrate this truth, too many to write them all out. Here is a list (with links if you’d like to read them now) of some of the best:
Ephesians 5:29-30, Ephesians 2, Ephesians 4, 1 Corinthians 12, 1 Timothy 4, 1 Peter 5:1-11, Colossians 3:1-17, 1 Peter 4:10-11, Romans 12, Philippians 2:1-4, 1 Peter 5:6-9.
I hope you’ll study them on your own and that as you do, God will speak to you as He did to me. I pray He will fill you with a passion for the care of His temple, the body of Christ.
How Does God ask us to Care for His Body?
Colossians 3:12-17 – Since God chose you to be the holy people He loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowances for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.
Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom He gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.
Sisters, God chose us to be a part of His own body. All of us. The whole family of believers all over the world and throughout time. We’re all united as one – the holy people that He LOVES! What He wants from us in return is simply for us to function together in unity. For us to love each other. When we don’t, everyone suffers damage, and we become members of a dysfunctional body.
Let’s think about this in light of our own literal bodies. When we suffer trauma as a result of some sort of abuse or mistreatment our whole being suffers, right? When I went through the first weeks and months after discovering my husband’s infidelity my whole body stopped functioning properly. I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t see straight, I couldn’t hear right, I was off balance when I tried to walk, I couldn’t think, I found myself gasping for air because I had forgotten to breathe, my heart felt like it was going to burst, there were tingling sensations pulsing through my arms and legs, and liquid poured from my eyes pretty much nonstop whether I was cognizant of the fact I was crying or not. It was a nightmare. I was falling apart. Why would we assume that the figurative body of Christ would be any different?
And frankly, how shameful for the body of Jesus Christ (God became flesh, the Great I AM) to be so broken and flawed!
Just as we recognize how vital it is to pull back and nurture our own individual bodies during times of great stress, we have to begin to do the same for the church. When we don’t, we are neglecting an area of ourselves, and our whole being will suffer as a result.
Let’s take on an attitude of tenderness towards our brothers and sisters. Let’s forgive one another quickly. Let’s rightly view our own position in the body with humility before God and each other, understanding that every one of us is equally important to our collective function. Let’s be patient, understanding that we’re all still figuring this out. Let’s realize that just because one of us has learned something, it doesn’t mean everyone else has too. Rather than judging those in a different place, let’s take the opportunity to lovingly teach one another with all the wisdom that GOD gives. Let’s encourage each other both in our victories and our trials as we sing together and worship our Lord with thanksgiving. Let’s live our lives together in such a way that the message about Christ, in all its richness, spills out from us as we do everything as His representatives and for His glory! May these things become a vital step in our self-care plans!
1 Peter 4:10-11 – God has given each of you a gift from His great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God Himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to Him forever and ever! Amen!
*How about you? Have you considered care for the church when making plans for your own self-care? What do you believe are a few of the gifts God has given you from “His great variety of spiritual gifts,” and how are you using those gifts to edify and care for the body of Christ?