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Andy and Melissa Beshore

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Our body is the temple of God

This blog was originally posted on June 26th on our family website http://thebeshorefamily.blogspot.com .

My former Deli Manager at Publix, we’ll call her A.W., a heavy smoker, recently was befallen with terminal lung cancer. I first heard the news about two months ago. About a week ago, her family surprised us by bringing A.W. in to visit her Publix family for what will almost surely be the final time. From what I gather, they have stopped the chemotherapy. When she came in, it was a horrific picture. I almost did not even recognize her. She was barely conscious in her wheel chair, no doubt heavily sedated by the pain-killing medications. She could scarcely keep her eyes open. Her speech was barely recognizable, though she could speak simple sentences and seemed to understand people speaking to her, indicating that the chemotherapy had wreaked havoc on her energy. She had a bandana on her head to cover up the obvious fact that the chemotherapy had taken her hair. When she came in with her party, even though I did not initially recognize who it was because the wheelchair obstructed my view and she was so well covered by blankets and her family, something inside me told me it was A.W. My heart sank. This, I thought, was the result of voluntarily defiling your body, God’s temple for you: terminal lung cancer. This is what can happen when we fail to glorify God by failing to glorify the body he gave us by putting unnatural, unclean chemicals into it.

1 Corinthians 6:15-20 has some sobering words. Our “bodies are members of Christ.” At least they are supposed to be. Now, A.W. did not profess Christianity to my knowledge, but I know of some who continue smoking as a lifestyle practice who profess Christianity. Doing so does not seem to support Godly living as it is spelled out for us in Scripture. “Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). If we are of God, our body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. If that is so, why would we consistently deliberately defile it by putting carcinogenic substances (or any other harmful substances for that matter) in it? If we therefore are to treat our bodies as God would not want, as is clearly described in the preceding passages, it becomes reasonable to assume that the act of smoking, drinking to excess, or doing other illicit drugs, would be sinful. If we continually defile it without conviction and eventual change in behavior (i.e. repentance from the sinful behavior), it appears to me that Christ does not dwell in us. Look at 1 John 1:6. “If we say we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.” Notice the tense of the verb, “walk.” It is a present participle, referring to continuously walking. The Greek translation means “to walk around,” like walking in a circle. When we walk in a circle, our path does not change. So, we can infer that if we live in a way that consistently contradicts how God would have His children live, “we lie and do not practice the truth” (1 John 1:6).

If we are Christians, these types of behaviors should not be happening, at least not regularly. If we do these things regularly (walk in darkness), we lie about our faith. If we are Christians, God should be showing us the sin in our lives so we can remove the sin from our lives. Jesus said, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matthew 5:4). This verse speaks of mourning over sin, feeling the conviction over sin, routinely. I can speak to the validity of this statement personally. More and more, it has been typical for my conscience to feel the sting of conviction over things I used to trivialize (lustful looks, angry thoughts, not being content with what I already have, etc.). If we ignore or try to cover up sin in our lives, or condone sin in other’s lives, we sin. Paul, in 1 Corinthians 5, says we should not even associate with people who make open fornication a lifestyle practice. While the passage is specific about fornication, I believe the principle can be applied to sin in general. Fornication defiles the body, as does drinking or smoking. So the lesson learned from this passage can be applied to the central thesis of this blog. Paul says to deliver one who is in blatant rebellion (think about the principles outlined up until this point), and not mourning over sin (1 Corinthians 5:2), “deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved…” (1 Corinthians 5:5). He says not to associate with someone who calls themselves a Christian who lives in blatant sin (see 1 Corinthians 5:11). This solitude will hopefully get the individual(s) thinking about their sin, leading to repentance, which restores fellowship with God. So, the end result hopefully will be salvation, after the mourning over sin.

So, blatant rebellion can be destructive, as can any sin. I remember A.W. and think of her as my example. She chose to do this to herself by “walking in darkness” and “defiling her body.” If this situation concerns you, as you feel you remind yourself of A.W. in some ways, humble yourself. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you your sins in the areas discussed and any others you may not be aware of. Feel the sting of conviction. Allow it to produce the necessary “Godly sorrow” (See 2 Corinthians 7:10). Ask the Father to draw you to the Son (See Matthew 11:27). Remember that on Jesus of Nazareth was laid “the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6). “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities” (Isaiah 53:5). “God made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us so that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). “God commends His love toward us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). God will give you the strength to do so if it is a work wrought truly by Him. Confess and forsake your sins in humble repentance (Matthew 4:17, Luke 13:3, Acts 17:30, 31). Stop sinning! God will “sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; (God) will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. (God) will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you and cause you to walk in (God’s) statutes and you will keep (God’s) judgments and do them… (God) will deliver you from all uncleanness. You will remember your evil ways and your deeds that were not good and you will loathe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and your abominations” (Ezekiel 36:25-32). Without the heart transformation, no salvation can occur. Please remember this. Humble yourself. Do it today. Like A.W., you might not have tomorrow!

Andy Beshore

Good Lungs!,Nasty Bad Lungs!

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