Human — It’s Spiritual!

Posted: April 28, 2014 in restoration
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Christina Perri in her song “Human” expresses a universal sentiment; we can pretend to be perfect, but we are — human.

We break down. We cry. We doubt. We get overwhelmed. This is what we do. We don’t need to pretend we don’t.

The truth is, human, is attractive.

Most of us don’t like people who pretend to be perfect, who act overly spiritual. We like spiritual people who are comfortable in their own skin. We like godly people who are comfortable with their own imperfections.

I was walking on a sidewalk recently and stepped just off, half my foot on the walk, half on the grass, boom! Down. I laughed. We are top heavy: it is amazing we stay upright so much.

When we were finishing our oak floors last year, I came to the room and kicked over a whole gallon of polyurethane. We laughed. And had fun spreading it around. It gave us a quicker way to do the floors.

We spill, we fall, we get tired. Hungry. Sleepy. These things aren’t bad; they are just — human.

All the Bible heroes were human, weak and fallen.

Noah got drunk. Abraham said his wife was his sister. Jacob schemed. Moses was afraid. Jonah ran away. King David didn’t. He should have. Jeremiah raved. Peter was impulsive. Paul bragged.

Let’s face it. We humans aren’t perfect.

How should we Christians think about our bodies?

1Corinthians 6:19-20 says, “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.”

Bodies are good; bodies house God. God values bodies. He paid a great price for then. He created them as precious containers for the glory of God.

Last week I fed my body talapia, summer squash, yams, spinach, steel cut oats, almond milk. I gave it about eight hours of sleep each night. I worked out at the gym three times with weights and an elliptical machine. These activities were to me, deeply spiritual. I was honoring the house of God.

Last night I ate dark chocolate. I was deeply honoring my taste buds.

I love being human. I love my body. But I’ve never heard anyone say that in church. In church we talk a lot about the value of our spirituality. We don’t talk enough about the value of our humanity.

In fact, historically, Christians have too often had a negative and neglectful attitude toward their bodies. One of the early heresies of Christianity was Gnosticism.

To the Gnostic Christians God was transcendent, high, far removed from his creation. They did not believe a perfect God could create the imperfect material universe.

So they invented the idea that the material world was created by an evil, lesser God, sometimes called a “demiurge”.

The Gnostics put forward the idea that matter, whether it be the physical universe or the humanly body, was evil and the spirit was good. That is an error. This is the error of dualism.

Some even claimed you could sin in the body and it wouldn’t effect the spirit

The Bible doesn’t support this view. True Christianity rejected Gnosticism.

Bodies are not evil. God, the one, true God made bodies, took on a body, and will give us new bodies in the new creation.

The idea of a disembodied spirit, a ghost, is actually very spooky to us. It is unnatural. It is false.

But we moderns repeat the Gnostic error when we hate our bodies. We repeat this error when we neglect our bodies. We repeat this error again when we separate spirituality from our bodies.

Everyday I take a hot shower. This is part of my morning devotions. It ministers to the ache in my neck. Yesterday I ate a Popsicle in the shower.

Hot and cold — at the same time — it is the epitome of holy, sacred, devoted spirituality. This truly honors my God-given senses!

Bodies are good. They are made for honoring. Never hate your body. Feed it, Popsicles.

Jesus had a body.

John 1:14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory.

Look closely at this verse. When God became flesh, then we saw his glory. the glory of God was revealed in the flesh of Jesus.

The creed upholds this: Jesus was fully man, fully God!

I love the humanity of Christ. He cried. He hugged children. He got mad. He allowed his followers to eat on the Sabbath.

True wisdom is gentle with human.

A Christian friend told me recently that the church leaders she grew up with were very “aloof, cold, inhuman. You wouldn’t want to talk to them; they were always wagging a finger and telling people what they were doing wrong.”

They weren’t very human.

Being overly-spiritual is the same sin as being overly-physical. Both are an “overly.” Coldness does the same damage as lust. Both abuse.

Jesus wasn’t like that. He identified with weakness. He would talk to anyone. The only people he judged were the super-spiritual leaders who acted better than ordinary people.

To the Christian who told me the leaders in her church were cold, I told her, “As a leader yourself, do the opposite of what you grew up with — be approachable, friendly, non-judgmental — and then you’ll be a good leader .”

There is so much to value, to cherish, to love about being human.

In Psalm 139 David gushes, “Body and soul, I am marvelously made!”

Bodies are a great gift. Bodies are marvelous!

Our noses can remember 50,000 different scents.

There are 100,000 miles of blood vessels in our bodies

If uncoiled, the DNA in all the cells in your body would stretch 10 billion miles, from here to Pluto and back.

Our bodies contains approximately 100 trillion cells.

We are freakishly complex! God did this. He gave us this.

Did you know that most of us have tiny mites living in our eye lashes. We are never alone.

We have more bacteria in our mouths than there are people in the world!

We are cities. We are thrilling. We are frighteningly marvelous!

1 Corinthians 9:24-27-25 (The Message) gets it right, “You’ve all been to the stadium and seen the athletes race. Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win. All good athletes train hard. They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You’re after one that’s gold eternally.

I don’t know about you, but I’m running hard for the finish line. I’m giving it everything I’ve got. No sloppy living for me! I’m staying alert and in top condition. I’m not going to get caught napping, telling everyone else all about it and then missing out myself.”

Paul is the model of the fully awake and alive human who takes spiritual responsibility for his body.

Being human doesn’t mean doing whatever feels good. What separates us from the animals is the power to rise above our instincts, our cravings, and to make good choices.

Paul is no animal; he is a fully focused, empowered, self-controlled human being. As such:

He runs to win.

He trains hard.

He avoids sloppy living.

He stays in top condition, for God, for Christ, to honor Christ in his body.

To care for our bodies, to love them, train them, control them, push them, discipline them — this is part of true spirituality.

What if you want to change in this area?

Change begins with knowledge, and awareness, and desire to honor God in the physical areas as well as the spiritual.

And change begins with the Holy Spirit’s conviction and help.

If we have been overly spiritual, perhaps even religiously addicted, then our challenge is to again embrace our human side. Lets not cover up human with religious.

If we have neglected our bodies we must begin to love them again. When our bodies tell us they are tired, we should put them to bed. The most recent research on sleep indicates that getting less than eight hours of sleep per night, may shorten your life.

When our bodies are hungry we should feed them. Veggies and whole grains — not french fries and sodas — power us best to honor God.

When our bodies are inactive we should exercise them

When broken we should have them fixed.

What if we have abused are bodies and are paying for it now? What if in the past, we overate, we over-drank, we smoked, we used illegal drugs? What if we still do?

Then we should do this. We should forgive ourselves, get help, fight for health, and move on. We can, with God’s help, honor what is left.

To some degree our influence on others, the amount of good we will do, the number of people we might point toward God, the creativity we may offer the world … all this may depend in part on how well we take care of our bodies.

Human — it’s spiritual!

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