Changing Our Body Trash Talk to Temple Talk
“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?” 1 Corinthians 6:19a (NIV)
“Cindy is a fat red cow.”
These six words would define me for two decades.
Scrawled on the chipped bathroom door of the girls’ restroom at my high school, these words attached to me like a sticky nametag. “Hello, my name is Cindy. I’m a fat red cow.”
I didn’t realize girls would snicker about it for a time, and then forget, or that a janitor would scrape the words off and paint over them. If only he could have painted over my memory, too.
I didn’t know the truth yet, that God calls me something very different — His daughter, the apple of His eye, a princess of great worth. Instead I allowed a bathroom stall scrawl to have tremendous power over my life.
Whenever I thought about my body or my looks, I flashed back to those ugly etchings. A fat red cow … yep, that’s me. I believed my body was shabby, too big, too much, yet not enough.
Eating disorders and substance abuse issues soon followed. I became promiscuous, throwing my body away like pearls before many swine. You name it, I tried it. I’d do nearly anything to numb the sting of those wounding words.
Sadly, years later, even after I surrendered my life to Jesus, I struggled with a poor body image. Here I was, a Jesus-loving girl, telling anyone who’d listen how He set me free from addiction. But I couldn’t get past those sharp words that cut my teenage heart so deeply.
Eventually I began to realize that this lousy body talk was really something else: terrible temple talk.
Freedom came when I finally believed the truth the apostle Paul taught the Corinthians: My body is a temple carrying the very Spirit of God.
Paul was very intentional when he used the word “temple” in 1 Corinthians 6:19. Temples were everywhere in Corinth. The early church members would have been as familiar with temples as we are with skyscrapers. Except this time, Paul was saying something different about temples — shockingly different.
“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?” (1 Corinthians 6:19a)
The recipients of Paul’s letter would have instantly imagined what a temple looked like: domed ceilings, glossy columns, exquisite woodwork overlaid with gold and silver. Fancy. Elegant. Important.
Those words must have blown their minds. The Corinthian church had bought into their city’s slogan: “Food for the body, and the body for the food.” They had new hearts but still practiced self-gratification. Drinking to excess and gluttony were A-OK. Using and abusing your body was no big deal. It didn’t affect your soul, or so they thought.
Now Paul was telling them their bodies were temples — sacred places, where the Holy Spirit of God resided? Wow!
The same is true for you, me and Christ followers everywhere. Yes, you!
Whether you feel like a temple or not, it is T R U T H. In Christ, when you ask for forgiveness, you become a clean, pure temple — no matter what impure, unimaginable things you’ve done. Because of Jesus’ death on the cross and His mighty resurrection, we can rip down the trash-filled thoughts from our past and redecorate our mind with God’s truth.
That said, how is your temple talk? If your self-dialogue were broadcast, would it be trash-talk or truth?
Sweet friend, let’s start talking about our bodies — God’s sacred temples — in a whole new way. They are more precious and costly than the most awe-inspiring mansion or latest HGTV Dream Home. Our bodies — no matter the size, age or agility — are sacred, good and holy. Our temples have infinite value, and God is incredibly interested in what we do with them, and how we treasure them.
It’s time we ask God to give us brand-new T3 — Truth-filled Temple Talk.
Dear God, I acknowledge You as my Creator and Maker. Forgive me for the times I fuss and fret about my outside appearance. How it must grieve Your heart when I focus on my flaws and faults. Give me eyes to see myself as You see me. Teach me Your truth about my body and worth. May my beliefs and behaviors be based on Your Word and not on the world’s messages. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Psalm 139:14, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” (NIV)
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Declare aloud three words of Truth to describe your temple.
What is one practical action step you can accomplish towards living as God’s treasured temple?