The Temple of the Holy Spirit

In Christian circles, especially Baptist ones, we often like to point out the flaws of someone harming the Temple of the Holy Spirit (I Corinthians 6:19-20). We will point to things such as smoking cigarettes. I don’t think anyone can argue with the fact that smoking cigarettes does harmful things to one’s lungs. Just ask all the people with COPD or emphysema. Yet Baptists also laud themselves as the group that likes to eat the most with pot lucks and such.

Christians also point to alcohol as an agent that can harm the body. The Bible doesn’t prohibit the use of alcohol but does prohibit drunkenness which can lead to damage to the Temple of the Holy Spirit. Basically it suggests moderation in this way. Many people place alcohol and drugs in the same category. Whether you do or don’t is not really the question here. We know that drugs can do incredible harm to someone when especially used in excess (the discussion of medicinal uses for marijuana is one that could be entered here). Alcohol and drug use together are a lethal combination. Not only can it harm one physically but many times it harms families and communities and society in general.

All that said if we placed, in front of many congregations, the question…What damages the Temple of the Holy Spirit (our bodies)? We would probably get answers such as alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs. I would like to submit that we need to look at the problem of gluttony as being harmful to the temple as well.

Let us look at it in terms of the other items that have been suggested as being harmful. How is food like cigarettes? Food is an obvious need for us to survive. Nutritionists talk about needing 3 good meals a day with maybe a healthy snack or two mixed in. The problem is that in America especially we take those 3 meals and mound them up with unhealthy items. We have too much fat, sodium, preservatives, and other harmful items in much of the food we eat. I am not suggesting that we go granola, vegetarian, or any other radical dietary move but we need to look at the harmful items in some of our foods. Some foods like what are made at fast food restaurants are downright harmful to us. The grease, fat, and quality of food lend themselves to unhealthy eating. You can feel this physically. For example, when we go on youth trips where we may travel 3-4 days and eat at fast food place after fast food place I start feeling nauseous because it simply is not healthy. Have you ever watched the documentary super-size me? We should be eating healthier. Maybe some of our foods are actually killing us slowly, just like smoking cigarettes is harmful and slowly killing those who smoke them.

How is food like alcohol? Certainly we need food. The Bible doesn’t tell us much about food except in the Old Testament laws. However we do see that doing anything not in moderation can lead to damaging effects. We eat a lot of food. Being on this P90X diet has made me realize how many calories and fat I was plunging into my body every day. It wasn’t just the quantity of food but the type of food. I would suggest that we over eat in many of our meals in America. Our portions at restaurants are huge. We often talk about how the big portions make us happy. We go to potluck dinners and mound our plates to the max. I LOVE to eat good food, but is eating in excess any different then drinking alcohol in excess. Certainly there is not the drunk effect but the slow results are lethargy, obesity, and an overall unhealthy life. It is just so easy to go and get a Big Mac, fries, and a Coke rather then cook. By the way that meal is 1500 calories, 54 grams of fat, and 1500 mg of sodium.

I believe that we are doing a disservice to our Lord when we over eat in excess and when we eat foods that are harmful to us. The reason I say that is that it leads us to not being as effective in our evangelism and mission as God’s people. My hope is that we will at least begin to question some of our food choices to see if it is helping us fulfill the will of God in our lives or keeping us from it. Just something to think about…