Sunday, August 14, 2011

Battle For The Body: Part Two

It's been a week since we started the latest re-monk cycle (going vegan for thirty days) as i mentioned in the last post "Gaining Ground".  And although i'm really craving a Big Mac, a large fry with about 8 barbecue dipping sauces, and a triple-thick strawberry milkshake, i'm 12 pounds lighter and one inch tighter in my waist in just 7 days!  My energy levels have soared, and my mind is clearer and sharper than i can ever remember it being.  So, i have reasoned that i can deal with these momentary cravings while my appetite adjusts, in exchange for feeling great!  Plus, it's good practice for "dying daily", you know that thing we are all supposed to do when we follow Jesus.

As i was preparing myself for this re-monk cycle, i came across the verse in Luke 17:21 when Jesus makes the profound statement: "The Kingdom of God is within you!"  And then it struck me...If God, who does not dwell in temples made with human hands, but rather dwells in the physical bodies of Christian believers, would it not make sense to keep the temple clean for our most Holy roommate?

I thought to myself, "If our bodies truly are the temple of the the Lord, then why do we trash them and abuse them so much?"  Can you imagine walking into a church building, a monastery, or cathedral and seeing trash strewn all over the place?  Just think if you walked into your place of worship next Sunday and the carpet was mildewed, the ceiling was leaking, the sewage had backed up and spilled over into the aisle, and the pews were sticky and stained with chewing gum and human material.  How well could we really focus on ministering to the Lord?

This is the very living environment in which many of us have given the Holy Spirit of God to dwell.  By His sweet grace and mercy, He has not moved out!  When we fill our bodies with garbage, we clutter God's living space. 

I didn't understand why God commanded the Jews not to eat pork until i visited a pig farm in the Philippines.  When i saw the swine lining up at each other's rear-ends to feast on their neighbor's fecal matter, i understood what God meant by "unclean animal."  i understand that Jesus said that it is not what goes into a man that makes him unclean, but He was talking about the soul of a man.  You see, the Jews had believed that keeping dietary laws was what made one righteous, when in fact, the law of eating unclean animals was originally given to Israel to benefit their health, but they had perverted the law by thinking their diets and traditions could make them righteous.  The Levitical dietary code has been proven over and over by science to be an optimum diet for good health.  There is a reason why we shouldn't consume pork, fish without scales (catfish), and crustaceans: it's because they eat crap and give gout! And God doesn't want His home to be filled with it.

Please don't misunderstand me, Jesus made all things "clean" when he died and rose.  In other words, it is no longer our efforts to fulfill the law that make us holy, but rather the finished work of the cross of Christ that makes us presentable to God.  However, the finished work of Christ does not negate the fact that we should not feed on bottom-feeders.  The finished work of the cross does not magically make a Big Mac good for you (although i wish it did!).  Poor food choices still have consequences!


Next week, in part three of "Battle For The Body", we will look at the human and environmental impact (no i'm not a tree-hugger) that our American diets have had on our world and the poor.  We will also explore the diets that some of our Biblical heroes had and look at some practical steps we can begin to take in order to create more sacred space for God and our fellow man. 


In the Lion, In the Lamb,

mark



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