The Principle of Body Stewardship

“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought for a price: therefore glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

I committed to working with a personal trainer three times a week today. I’ve never done anything like that before. It was eighteen months ago that my doctor told me that if I didn’t lose fifty pounds, I would be dead in two to five years. I took two away two things from that cheery meeting. First, I need to find a doctor with a better bedside manner, and second, I need to find a way to break the inconsistency regarding my health.

But this devo is not a personal confession of my shortcomings nor an anecdotal account of my efforts in physical health. I wrote a number of years ago on something I labeled body stewardship. Considering my recent challenges with nutrition and activity, I thought I dust off the pages of that teaching for all of us.

Body stewardship is a biblical principle that asserts that your body (like so many other things in your life) is a gift from God that shouldn’t be seen as something you own but something you care for on the Owner’s behalf. Because your body is not actually your body, its well-being is an assignment given to you by God. To not feed it properly, keep it healthy with regular activity, or use it in destructive ways is a violation of your stewardship.

Of course, most if not all of us have violated this understanding on more than one occasion. We eat too much food, or we eat unhealthy food. More than any other period in history, we live highly sedentary lives. Physical activity in 2024 looks nothing like it did a hundred years ago. I am not a legalist when it comes to tattoos or piercings, but the complete freedom we claim to mark up and puncture our bodies communicates that we do not truly believe that our bodies are the property of the Creator.

But God wants us to understand that what we do to our bodies, we do unto Him as well: “Do you not know that your bodies are parts of Christ? Shall I then take away the parts of Christ and make them parts of a prostitute?” (1 Corinthians 6:15) In context, Paul is saying that being sexually immoral is a violation of a body that belongs to Jesus. But it’s not difficult to follow that logic to a right end; to misuse or neglect the body is also to violate your connection with Jesus.

So, body stewardship is your commission from God to properly care for your physical self. To overeat is violation. To become excessively sedentary is violation. To damage it in any way is violation.

I have known this for so many years, and still I have difficulty behaving like one who is under contract. That is why I implemented this personal trainer strategy. It adds a level of accountability I have needed but refused to accept in years gone by.

How are you doing with the stewardship of your body? Do you truly believe that your flesh is not your own but the property of the One who made it? If so, you too might want to ask how you step up your commitment to the commission of body stewardship.

Pastor Scott