Friday, October 14, 2011

Spiritual Formation: Your Body as a Living Sacrifice

In his commentary on Romans, Leon Morris writes:
"Does any other religion put such an emphasis on the body? The Christian view of the body as sacred and as the servant of the soul is unique among religions of the world, Judaism excepted. Certainly the Greeks of the first century stressed the importance of the soul and regarded the body lightly. We see something of the same attitude in modern times when the excuse is offered for someone who has sinned with his body: 'But his heart is in the right place!'"
So it isn't "the thought that counts"? Nope. Your actions matter. What you do with your body "counts".

The body is the concrete manifestation of our lives. It is our instrument for righteousness. Is it any wonder then, that the world's strongest attacks on our "Christianly thinking" (see 1 John 2:15-17) happens in the realm of our body use?

Chrysostom said:
"How is the body to become a sacrifice? Let the eye look on no evil thing, and it has already become a sacrifice. Let the tongue say nothing filthy, and it has become an offering. Let your hand do nothing evil, and it has become a whole burnt offering. But even this is not enough, for we must have good works also. The hand must do alms, the mouth must bless those who curse it, and the ears must find time to listen to the reading of Scriptures. Sacrifice allows of no unclean thing. It is the first fruits of all other actions”
In the forward of "A Spiritual Formation Workbook"is the following paragraph:
"I like the nurturing character. The rule for our weekly gatherings is a good one: give encouragement as often as possible; advice, once in a great while; reproof, only when absolutely necessary; and judgment never."
What a great rule for a community. It requires everyone to sacrifice themselves for the good of others. Sounds like a poster that will soon find the wall in my office. I envision it saying:

Encourage Always
Advise When Asked
Correct When Necessary
Judge Never

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