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Is my body really mine?
February 27, 2017
A boy just won the Texas State Wrestling Championship. . .as a girl! Or, at least, a girl who is undergoing a medical process to become a boy, won the girl's championship. I'm not going to get in the ins-and-outs of this odd news story from the past weekend, but rather, use it as a jumping off point to talk about a biblical idea that assaults the way we think about our bodies.
My body isn't actually mine. The apostle Paul wrote to believers in the Greek metropolis of Corinth saying, "You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body (1 Corinthians 6.20 NIV)."
And yes, that is a simply scandalous idea. Why? At the heart of the Corinthian culture, and our culture, is this deeply held belief that each one of us is lord of their own body. To suggest otherwise could get you in hot water.
Think it through. If my body is really mine, then, as long as I'm not hurting anyone, I can do with it whatever I want. If I want to obsess with workouts and diets, then that's what I'll do. If I want to spend thousands on plastic surgery upgrades, then I'm free to do that. If I want to have sex with someone, the only rule is that they consent. It’s my body. . .it’s your body. . .
It should come as no surprise that we live in a time of great confusion about sexuality. If it's my body, then I decide who I am sexually and what my preferences are sexually. I decide what's right for me. Period.
If my body is mine, then I get to choose my own sexuality. I'll follow my own tendencies and desires. Since the “my body is mine” assumption rules the day, it’s no wonder we’ve got all of these truly bizarre debates about bathrooms and locker rooms. Stories about men choosing to identify themselves as women, and vice versa. Teens deciding that they are “gender fluid” - today, I feel like a man, tomorrow, maybe I’m a woman. Stories of parents in Texas who are on board with their teen's choice to undergo a medical process of transformation toward a sex which is different than the one they were born with.
And, if my body is mine, then no one can tell me not to have an abortion! Consequently, around a million unborn children will be aborted by the end of the year.
If my body is mine, then I can sit around on the couch and eat Twinkies and Ruffles all day and it’s nobody’s business but mine!
With this my-body-is-mine assumption at work, we live in a day and time when it’s no longer a given that the body is a fixed reality. I can treat my body as an object belonging to me. Something I am free to move, change and use at my own personal discretion.
While all of this may sound like a commentary on contemporary culture, it's unlikely all that different from the world of upwardly mobile, educated elites living in a place like Corinth. Paul's message to them is -“Not so fast!” You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.
God made you. You didn’t self-create yourself. He made you body and soul. With all your foibles and imperfections, the Master Craftsman considers you his masterpiece. His masterpiece. Beyond the fact that you were made by God, there is the other truth suggested by Paul, namely, Jesus Christ died for you and was raised for you. Your eternal future and the eventual transformation of your mortal body into a glorious body, is completely in his hands.
You aren’t yours. Your body belongs to God. Be sure to take good care of his property.