March 1

Psalm 70; Psalm 71; Psalm 74; Genesis 42:29-38; 1 Corinthians 6:12-20; Mark 4:21-34

The body is meant not for fornication but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And God raised the Lord and will also raise us by his power.
Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Should I therefore take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! … But anyone united to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. Shun fornication! Every sin that a person commits is outside the body; but the fornicator sins against the body itself.  1 Corinthians 6:12-18

This passage from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians is a plea and a teaching for awareness of the body as a temple of God. It is not to be sullied by fornication and prostitution, which are unchecked sexual activities that harm the body and spirit. Paul makes a call for abstinence from that which corrupts or defiles the Spirit within. In our modern world, this call for abstinence also encompasses so many other sins against the body: gluttony, alcohol and drug abuse, bulimia and anorexia, self-harm and cutting, and the list goes on. In our society going back many hundreds of years, unchecked yearnings and urges often overwhelmed Paul’s exhortation for self-control and self-respect. We waste our bodily energies and mental attention on the world and self-pleasure, leaving little for a focus on God. Which of us can lay claim to meeting Paul’s stringent requirement in all things?

How do we check our private indulgences? How do we honor the Christ within us? Probably the best solution in our increasingly secular world is to heed Paul’s teaching:

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20