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Shepherds Hill Homestead » Messages » Building the Whole Body

Building the Whole Body

          We’ve have had plenty of rain recently and it is a completely different spring than last year. Our garden is wet and coming up nicely but the grass has gotten thicker, too.. God’s bounty has begun to give us fresh fruit and vegetables. He is always faithful! We have gone through changes in our diets over the years and continue to try and improve what we eat. Our goal is to grow everything we need. Some asked if we are self-sufficient. We always tell them that we are God-sufficient.

          There is a great deal of emphasis on health these days. It’s kind of funny when you listen to the world explain how man is evolving and getting better. And yet, men’s lives aren’t getting significantly longer. Man’s life span is certainly not as long as many who lived in the Old Testament. When you watch someone spend all of their time thinking only of the physical side of their lives it seems of such little value when compared to the eternal side of man. Eventually, that person’s health will fail and no diet will change it. Our bodies are going to die and there is nothing you or I can do to change it. The emphasis seems to be on the short life we live in this world. Eat right and exercise and you are going to still die. Yes, you will live a healthier physical life with less pain. But eventually, you will have some ailment that will end the life you so desperately tried to save.

Browsing through the Word this evening I find some related passages that I would like to present to you. Jesus told us that if any try to save their lives they will end up losing them (Matt. 16:25). Paul told us that there was little profit in bodily exercise (1st Timothy 4:8). I realize that abusing your body is wrong and we should try and be healthy. Paul reminded us that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit (1st Corinthians 3:16). But we put too much emphasis on looking a certain way and our appearance is more valued than our character in our world.

The problem, I believe, is that we forget that there are three sides to man. Man is not just a physical being. That part of us is obvious. We see it in each other when we pass by on the street. Man also has a spirit and soul. We generally know more about the first one than the others. These three parts are spelled out in 1st Thessalonians 5:23. “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

The spirit of man includes the conscience. This part of us knows right and wrong and is the intuitive part of us. Have you ever just had a gut feeling about something and later found that you were correct? God was revealing something to you through your spirit. In John 4:23-24 Jesus told His disciples that the hour was coming when those who worshipped Him must do it in spirit and truth. He said that God was a spirit and those that worship Him must do it in spirit and truth. Indeed, God left us His Holy Spirit to help us get through this life. It seems to me that it is a very important thing to remember. Paul mentions that his conscience bore witness within him (Rom 9:1). This is the spirit of man. In Romans 8:16 Paul said that the Holy Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are the sons of God.

The soul of man is that part that has his emotions, will and his intellect. It is the part of us that people can see when we feel blue. Angie always knows when something is wrong with me. I might be able to fool you but she knows me too well. She is my soul-mate and therefore reads my soul easily. Others may be able to read my soul by seeing my actions. Since the soul includes the will, my will (the things that I choose) will be displayed in my actions. I can “say” that I love Jesus but my actions may show differently. David often spoke of his soul in worship. In Psalms 42:1-3 he said “As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God? My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God? “. Can you see the emotions in this passage?   Your intellect is part of your soul, also. In Psalms 139:14 David said that his soul knew that he was fearfully and wonderfully made by God.

Given that we are a three part being and only focus on one part (the body) is it any wonder that we live such unhappy lives? God created us to be eternal beings. His desire was for us to be complete mind, body and spirit. Look at Romans chapter twelve. Paul starts out to say that we should present our bodies as a living sacrifice. Just think; the part of us that we usually put first is the one that Paul says we should give up! Then in the second verse Paul says that we should be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Just how does someone do that?

Your mind is renewed with the Word of God, the Bible. There is no other way that you can be complete without it. In Colossians chapter three there is a wonderful outline on how to live. Paul explains that there are steps to grow in the Christian walk. In the first three verses he tells us that if we are in Christ we need to think of higher things. I work for a large utility. From the day that I hired on I had to start thinking about things differently. You see, in the job I had before this one I worked for the competing utility of the one that I do now.

We all work for one reason and that is to make a living. But there is a point that we can get to where we can become part of the business and not just an employee. Companies often make employees stock owners so that they will feel that way. Then, if you have an opportunity to save the company money you will do it because you are increasing your stock value. Thinking along higher values causes us to be more heavenly minded. Your perspective changes when you see the life we live as a drop of water in the eternity of time.

Look at verse five. Paul uses the term “mortify” here to show a strong emphasis on seriousness. Obviously we think of morticians here and know that it has something to do with death. When I look up the Greek word for mortify there is also a definition that I think makes sense. Besides meaning to put to death it can also mean to deprive of power or destroy the strength of. We must deprive our flesh of power over our soul and spirit.

Paul goes through the next five verses telling us the kinds of things that we need to subdue. These are things of the flesh that lead to destruction. God doesn’t call something sin just because He doesn’t want us to have a good time. He labels these acts as sinful because they always end in pain.

As I am using the analogy of parts of the whole body today consider these as poisonous foods. Don’t think of them like cyanide or arsenic. Think of them like mercury or lead. They make you sick the first time you consume them and eventually cause brain damage or kill you. So many times people mock Christianity saying that committing sin doesn’t kill you. That is the same lie that the serpent told Eve (you shall not surely die). Yes, these are sin and God is showing us how to live spiritually healthy lives.

Look at verse ten. Paul likens salvation as putting on the new man. It’s as if it were a garment. It takes an act on your part to wear it. Your will must be to live your life differently. Notice that he says the new man is renewed in knowledge. Learning about God through His Word is the way in which that happens!

Anytime you stop doing something you must also start doing something. Paul gives us this list in the remainder of this chapter. For times sake, I will let you study this for yourselves. Just as you considered the first group of things as poisons of the whole body, think on the remainder as healthy foods. They will cause you to grow into the men and women of God that He knows you can be. These are not physical foods but spiritual food and SOUL FOOD!

Are you feeding the entire man? You have three parts to your being. I’m sure you take care of feeding the body. But have you also fed the spiritual man and your soul today? Without these other foods you will be a most miserable person. How about changing to a balanced diet today? You will be surprised at how wonderful life can be!

Prayer- Father, I thank You for giving us what we need. You made man and all that He needs is provided for us if we will only partake in it. When we don’t listen to You we always hurt. Help each person who reads Your Word to understand the changes in their lives that must take place. May we all grow more like Jesus by reading Your Word, prayer and fellowship with other believers in Christ.

In Jesus’ Name-Amen

2 cor 4:16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward [man] is renewed day by day.

paul

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Philippians 3:13-14 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

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