“I treat my body like a temple, you treat yours like a tent.” Those words are lyrics from the song Fruitcakes by Jimmy Buffett. While Buffett is a songwriter and not a theologian, he certainly, at least in this song, seems to understand the importance of taking care of ourselves.
So often we get confused or mislead to think that God really only cares about the condition of our soul. And while God does care about what is on the inside, our soul, he also deeply cares about what is on the “outside,” our bodies. He cares about every fiber of us. God made us in His image and He desires for us to take care of the body He has entrusted us with. We read in Genesis 1:27 these words, “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them, male and female he created them.” If you know anything about the Creation Story, you know that all of the plants, trees, flowers, animals, fish and birds were created “according to their kind.” (See Gen 1:11, 12, 21, 24, 25.) The Hebrew word used here for “kind” means the sorting out of objects into categories. There is a lot packed into those four words, “according to their kind,” but for the purposes of this post let’s just say that God’s laws of genetics were imposed upon the plant and animal kingdom, thus precluding any evolution into another kind (a horse can never produce a sparrow.) God did not intend for the plants and animals to be made in the image of anything else. It is only mankind that is made in the image of God, and thus we are His representatives here on earth.
Not only are we made in God’s image, we are also to offer ourselves, body and soul, as living sacrifices to God. In Romans 12:1 we read this, “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.” What that verse says is that our bodies are the vehicle through which we live out our desires and choices, and it is through our body that we worship God.
You are probably now asking, what does all that have to do with Jimmy Buffett’s lyrics, “I treat my body like a temple, you treat yours like a tent.” We are commanded by God to take care of the body He has entrusted us with, but so many of us neglect our bodies, and ultimately that affects our souls as well. We make poor choices of food and drink, we have poor sleeping habits, and we ingest all kinds of things that harm our bodies. On top of that, who really feels like exercising after a long day at work or school? Many of us are poor images of God, and we fail to represent Him in a way brings honor and glory to Him.
Our bodies really are temples. Tents are for camping. If you do not believe Jimmy Buffett, then let’s turn to scripture. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 tells us this, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”
So our challenge to you is this — Take inventory of your lifestyle, the things you eat and drink, your sleeping habits, and the amount of exercise you get and then make an honest assessment of what you can change in order to change your body from a tent into a temple. Not only will you be bringing honor and glory to God by taking better care of yourself, but you will feel better in the process. And please, first consult with your doctor, fitness instructor, dietitian, etc. to make sure that any changes are done safely.