Faith: Your Body Matters To God

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God, may Your fullness flood through their entire beings. — Ephesians 3:19b The Voice

What would change if God’s fullness flooded through our entire being? If that were to happen, we would need to be willing to surrender every part of our lives to the Lord. Often, this is not the case. We surrender some of our lives, but we keep other parts: the way we eat, our hobbies, or the way we treat our bodies are just a few examples of things we often keep under our own control.

The Daniel Plan Essentials Series, is a series of studies that explores each of the five dimensions found in The Daniel Plan — faith food, fitness, focus friends. In this video study, we present the first lesson in Book One, entitled Faith. The rest of this study can be found on Study Gateway, which hosts a library of outstanding video Bible studies. ~ Fred Bittner

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Every Body Matters

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 6:19

Did you know that God cares about our bodies, not just our souls? God made our bodies. He designed us to be embodied. He knit us together in our mothers’ wombs (Psalm 139:13). And Jesus Himself took on a human body:

The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us (John 1:14). He rose from the dead with a body (Luke 24:36-43) and ascended into heaven with His body (Luke 24:50-51).

God loves our bodies.

In this study on Faith, we’ll learn about spiritual health and its connection to physical health. We’ll begin in this session by looking at God’s calling for us to offer our bodies to Him as living sacrifices.

Learning Together

An Interview with Gary Thomas

Play the video segment for Session 1. As you watch, use the outline provided to follow along or to take additional notes on anything that stands out to you.

»» In Romans 12:1, the apostle Paul says, “Offer your bodies as a living sacrifice.” Physical discipleship is an ongoing, living sacrifice.

»» Paul goes on to say the living sacrifice is “holy and pleasing to God.” We’re trying to please God with our bodies. We’re not trying to please society. What matters is how we look in the eyes of heaven.

» Our bodies are instruments pointing others to God, not ornaments pointing to ourselves. We have one body, one tongue, one life, and we want to devote that life to serving and enjoying our Father. We don’t need to worry about, “How do I get people to notice and appreciate me?”

»» We take care of our bodies so that we have the vitality to speak God’s truth, encourage people, hug them, and care for their physical needs.

You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. — 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

»» When we believe we own our bodies, we treat them in whatever way we feel comfortable, even abusing them. We treat our bodies differently if we see ourselves as taking care of someone else’s property. We treat them with respect and protection.

»» God has given us our bodies for a period of time, and we are accountable to Him for how we use them. We will give our bodies back to Him someday.

For You created my inmost being;  You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. — Psalm 139:13-14

»» God delights in us, designed us, and knit us together in different bodies for different purposes.

»» God looks at us and sees something beautiful that He has made. He doesn’t want to see our bodies abused.

»» Elton Trueblood said, “Biblical saints aren’t good. They’re committed.” We’re going to have bad days, but we are called to be committed overall in our lives to caring for what is God’s as an offering of worship.

»» We can add a thousand years of service to the kingdom of God if we view our bodies as instruments and we give God another year to use us.

Growing Together

Discuss what you learned from the video. Don’t feel obliged to answer every question. Select those that most resonate with your group.

1. Read Romans 12:1 below. What do you think it means to offer your body to God as a living sacrifice? Give some examples of how you might offer your hands to God, your tongue to God, your physical stamina to God.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God — this is your true and proper worship. — Romans 12:1

2. How have you served God with your body?

3. What’s the difference between treating your body as an ornament and treating it as an instrument of God? Give some examples of how you might do each of these things.

4. Read 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 in your Bible or from the notes. How do you react to the idea that your body belongs to God, not to you? Does it surprise you? Did you already know it? Do you resist this idea or embrace it?

5. If your body belongs to God, what are the implications for the way you live?

6. Read Psalm 139:13-14 in your Bible or from the notes. How does it make you feel to know that your body is fearfully and wonderfully made by God? How does that affect the way you view your body?

7. How will Psalm 139 affect the way you treat your body?

What I Want to Remember

Complete This Activity On Your Own

»» Briefly review the video outline and any notes you took. Review also any notes from the discussion.

»» Write down the most significant thing you gained from this session — from the video or the discussion. You can share it with the group if you wish.

FAITH

Next Steps

Here are a few suggested activities to help you move forward in connecting your body to your faith. Make note of a couple of the options you’d like to try this week — choose what works for you.

  • Lie on the floor with your arms outstretched, or sit comfortably in a chair with your hands on your knees and your palms open upward, or stand with your arms loose at your sides. Close your eyes. Beginning with your feet and moving up your body, offer God the parts of your body as instruments of His righteousness in the world (Romans 6:13).
  • Deliberately give Him your feet; ask Him to guide you so that your feet take you to places of service, not to places of harm. Give Him your legs so that you can stand securely for what is right. If you have mistreated your body, ask for God’s forgiveness and the grace to care for your body from now on. Offer your whole self to God as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to Him. Take your time, asking Him to show you how He wants to use your body for His glory.
  • Spend some time journaling about offering your body as a living sacrifice. Ask yourself if you have any areas of resistance where you don’t want to offer your body or some part of your body to God. Do you want your body to belong to you, not to God? Do you want what you eat to be your business, not God’s business? Explore your feelings about this in your journal.
  • Go for a walk out in nature, and have a conversation with God about offering your body to Him. Thank Him for the way your body moves when you walk. Thank Him for your eyes to see beauty around you, for your ears to hear, even your nose to smell.
  • Memorize one of the Bible verses from this session. (A suggested verse for every session is in the Appendix.) Post it someplace you will see it often, and practice repeating it to yourself until you have committed it to memory. When you’ve memorized one verse, consider taking on this challenge: memorizing one verse during each of the four weeks of this study.
  • Pair up with someone in your group who will be your prayer and encouragement partner. Commit to praying for each other’s spiritual growth and service to God. Pray that your partner will know how to offer his or her body as a living sacrifice. Plan to send a text of encouragement to your partner during the week. You can also exchange specific prayer requests.
  • Plan several daily two-minute micro-breaks each day this week. Use that time to thank God for your body and to move your spine and limbs. Or try the Fitness Move of the Week several times a day, using deep breathing and stretching while you praise God for one of His attributes.

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Your Turn

Share some of your answers to the questions above on our blog. We would love to hear from you!

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Gary L. Thomas

Gary Thomas is a writer in residence at Second Baptist Church in Houston, Texas, and an adjunct faculty member teaching on spiritual formation at Western Seminary in Portland, Oregon. He is the author of over a dozen books, including Sacred Marriage, Sacred Pathways, Pure Pleasure, Sacred Parenting, and the Gold Medallion Award-winning Authentic Faith.

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