February 19, 2007

Your Body, Your World?

Leviticus 18:6-9, 24-30

"Do not defile yourselves in any of these ways." Leviticus 18:24


The way we treat our bodies, the music we listen to, the ideas that shape our thinking, the things we do with our time--all these are our choices, right? After all, we can do as we please with any part of our body--that's our personal freedom, right?

As the Bible shows us, all of Adam and Eve's descendants do as they please because that's the way they're born. By nature we do what we please with what God has given us: the world, our neighbors, God himself, and our bodies. In what we eat and drink, think and do--even in our intimate relationships--each of us likes to say, "I am my own."

But that's not God's desire for us.

God teaches his people that their bodies are not their own to use as they please. Our bodies are God's gifts. What we do with them is not for us to decide. Our body life?our thinking, listening to music, our participation in society, clothing and jewelry, our intimacies--all should be rooted in the Word of God, not in the ways of others who have no regard for God.

Our bodies are part of God's world, just as the creation is God's world. And just as abuse of creation leads to all kinds of problems, so abuse of our bodies will harm us.

Your body is God's temple. Keep it clean.

Lord, we offer you our ears and tongues--our entire bodies--as living sacrifices for service in your world. Help us to treat ourselves, others, and all creation with honor for your sake. Amen.

About the author — Arie C. Leder

Dr. Arie C. Leder is the Martin J. Wyngaarden Senior Professor of Old Testament Studies at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He previously served as pastor at Ebenezer Christian Reformed Church, Trenton, Ontario, and with Christian Reformed World Missions in Latin America. He teaches courses on the Pentateuch and on historical books of the Old Testament.

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