One of my favorite films of all time is the 1999 blockbuster The Matrix. If you’ve never seen it, it’s got one of the greatest plot twists of all time. The good guys seem completely out of sync with reality. Until reality itself turns upside down.
Last week I posed the idea that, just like a well-done plot twist in a movie, sometimes one sliver of light breaking into the story of your life can turn all you think you know on its head. In the best way.
I gave you one common plot and its twist last time. Here’s another:
Plot 2: Your body is working against you.
A lot of people tend to view their bodies with a solid amount of suspicion. And on one level this makes sense. After all, many of the temptations we experience (toward excess food or drink, laziness, worry, etc.), we feel in our bodies.
This is especially true when it comes to sex.
- Your eyes feel glued to the naked image on your computer screen.
- Your skin aches to be touched.
- You’re drawn romantically to someone of the same gender.
- Your heart races involuntarily at the memory of an old flame.
- Your body runs for the momentary ecstasy of something that may cost you all you hold dear.
Your body’s not the enemy. Not your enemy, and not God’s.
I know this isn’t how it feels sometimes. It can seem like your body is doing what comes most natural when you give in to temptation, when you just “let go” and indulge in sin (sexual or otherwise).
But your body has been forced to work against you. This doesn’t mean you don’t have a choice, but it does mean your body is something like a hostage who has forgotten how freedom tastes, and so it doesn’t know any better than to long for, ache for, indulge in, and enjoy the stale food offered by its captors.
Like the rest of you, your body needs to be rescued. Your body’s not the enemy. Sin is the really enemy that seeks to hold your body captive.
And despite how it feels, sin isn’t the life of the party. It doesn’t grant you permission to do what you want. It gives you no option but to do what it wants. And worse yet, to believe the want has come from you.
Read these stark words of Paul:
“I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me” (Romans 7:19, 20).
Or again, “The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body” (1 Corinthians 6:13b).
And there’s more good news, incredibly good news: Only that which is worth something is stolen and held captive.
And only that worth a great deal would ever be ransomed.
The incarnation (en-flesh-ment) of Christ is simultaneously God’s declaration of the inestimable worth of your body to Him and His Ransom paid to sin and death for your body.
He means for your body to be filled with his life that you would be free again to say no to sin, and so your body would become again the ally—the priceless treasure—it was always meant by God to be.
Begin thinking of and treating your body this way, and see if it doesn’t change your story for the better.
At the beginning of December I started a food program…actually a health program. I am 71 years old and had absolutely given up on the possibility that I could change my body and my appetites and even my desire to exercise. I know this isn’t sexual sin, but the abuse of the body is sin nonetheless. I tried prayer and one program after another. The last one was one where I was told I would be okay if I just reached a point where I wasn’t obese anymore. Now I am working with a health coach who gives advice and encouragement, and I am connected with a community of people also on this journey. I have lost 25 pounds. I love that but even better I had a doctor’s appointment and my lab work showed such progress in overall health. Wow! That is good news at any age. Sin does SEEM LKE the life of the party. But I am discovering that the fruit of the Spirit and teaching my body to submit bring a much deeper joy. Yay!
That’s great! Good for you!
What I heard you say is that sin is holding our bodies hostage and feeding us worthless food. We are deceived to believe we really want the food (indulge in sinful desires) but it’s the sin inside us that wants it not us.
Yes, Rick. You got it!
I have wrestled with a self-hatred, especially towards my body. I am working toward God’s redemption of my physical shell. To know that Jesus entered this physical condition to experience every temptation is a huge comfort to me. There was nothing inherently sinful, shameful, wrong with His body, nor is there with mine. What’s wrong is sin.
Thanks, Tara. May you continue to experience how much God is for you — all of you, including your body!