‘Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?’ 1 Corinthians 6:19a
Paul starts this passage with: ‘Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters.’ The original word that is translated with ‘urge’ means literally: to call upon someone in a very personal way. Of course this can be done to rebuke someone, but it can also be done to comfort or to encourage. The meanings are all there and it is a good thing to take them all as such.
For if we - just like Paul - are focused on God’s mercy, then we find the courage to do what He lovingly asks of us, that is, to view our bodies no longer as our private property. For that is our attitude ever so often. As long as we are young and healthy, we take this for granted. We feel a little embarrassed when we see young people suffering from physical illness or handicaps, but hardly anyone realizes that a good health is not self-evident.
Paul learned that God gave us a body to serve Him with it, as long as we live here on earth. That is no great sacrifice. No, Paul calls this ‘your true and proper worship’. In other words, it is part and parcel of everyday Christian life to present our bodies completely for God’s service. If we think that all our physical activities are a private matter in which God has no say, then we should not complain that we perceive so little of God’s intentions. For when we really devote to God not only our spiritual life, but also our physical life here on earth, we will perceive how He makes our body into a temple of His Holy Spirit, so that we come to understand His good, pleasing and perfect will.