2 Corinthians 4 is full of timely wisdom for me.
One of the things that confirmed the need for this kind of change was 1 Corinthians 9:27, which states:
“I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.”
The stark contrast between my life of laziness and self-worship and what is depicted by Paul in this verse shocked me into action, literally.
And, as I keep saying, God’s timing is unfathomably perfect because as I continue my study of 2 Corinthians, this theme is reinforced over and over again.
2 Corinthians 4:10 states:
“Always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.”
2 Corinthians is all about what it means to cultivate a solid testimony for the benefit of fellow believers as well as for the furthering of the Gospel before those whose souls are perishing.
When I realized my lack of self-discipline could potentially disqualify me from having a legitimate testimony and ministry both in the church and in the world, I begged God to show me how I could make significant and immediate changes for His glory.
Although 1 Corinthians 9:27 provided the “how” concerning my desire to have a blameless testimony, 2 Corinthians 4:10 provided the “why.”
Why is it important for us to live a life of self-discipline? Why is it important for us to take care of our bodies and ensure that we keep them strong and healthy? Why is it important for us to have a blameless testimony before men?
Because our bodies are a representation of God’s eternal, redemptive plan – that breathtakingly beautiful message of Salvation that was determined by God before even time itself existed.
As we walk, and talk, and think, and move, and breathe, the body of the true believer carries in it the very person of God. The Holy Spirit within us is the living presence of God Himself, only able to reside in our hearts because of Christ’s work on the cross.
Note: If you want to learn more about salvation or are unsure you understand it, please click here.
In His resurrection, when Christ defeated sin and death once and for all, He empowered us to overcome those besetting sins that would jeopardize our testimony for Him in this world, sins like slothfulness, or gluttony, or laziness, or lack of self-discipline, or any number of other “respectable” sins.
So when 2 Corinthians 4: 10 says “that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body,” we need to take that seriously.
Is being overweight a sin? No, i don’t believe so. But are surrendering to the temptations of laziness, self-worship, comfort loving, and fear sins? Yes, yes they are.
As odd as it may sound to some, the first thing I had to do when I set out on this journey was to ask God for His forgiveness. For decades I had been stewarding the body He gave me poorly and, in so doing, limited my ability to “manifest the life of Jesus.”
To be a slave to anything other than Christ is to diminish His reflection and to dishonor His Name.
That is something I could no longer choose to do. Once God shows you your error in such a blatant way, it’s hard to do nothing. And that’s exactly what He did for me.
Is He doing that in your life today? Is there something He is convicting you to do or change or improve?
Take heart! There is nothing He has asked of you that He expects you do accomplish alone. Repent of your sin, surrender your limited abilities to Him, study His Word, depend on Him in sincere prayer, and DO what you know He is calling you to do.
Don’t resist Him. Don’t put it off. Don’t live one more moment in willful rebellion against Him.
His greatest desire is for your good – trust Him as He leads you away from that which keeps you from His perfect will.
And know that you’re not alone. We are all in process and we are always in need of God’s grace to sustain us as we seek to honor Him in everything we think, feel, say, and do – and in the ways our body represents the work of Christ on the cross (either well or poorly).
I’ll be praying for you (even if I don’t know you) because you and I are exactly the same: sinners saved by grace, ensuring that “the life of Jesus may be manifested in our body,” and, in His power, fulfilling the chief end of man – to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.
Until Next Time My Friends,
The Taylor of All Trades