Best of Daily Reflections: Beware of Enslaving Pleasures
‘All things are lawful for me’, but not all things are beneficial. ‘All things are lawful for me’, but I will not be dominated by anything.
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body.
1 Corinthians 6:12 & 1 Corinthians 19-20
God wants you to think of your body as a temple. Not a supermarket, gymnasium, tavern, department store, office building, or school house — but a temple. By definition, the temple we inhabit belongs to God, but God entrusts us with total freedom to do with it as we please. One of our sacred duties is to choose what’s best for maintaining our temple.
Paul lays out the challenge. He says that it is within our power to do anything with our temple, but we must be careful not to choose anything that will take control of it. The challenge of this cannot be overstated. Everything that gives our body pleasure also has the power to enslave us.
That’s why it is so important to be watchful of everything in your life that gives you pleasure. Of course, I am not advocating a pleasureless life. After all, it is God who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment (1 Timothy 6:17). It’s just that the more we are mindful of our pleasures, the more we are able to truly enjoy them. Remember, there are few things more devastating than an out-of-control pleasure.
When Paul says, therefore, glorify God in your body, he means to say give God authority to be the architect, contractor, superintendent, and night watchman in the temple of your body. In so doing, your temple will become a place of worship and beauty and not a house of horrors.
Questions for Reflection:
Make a list of the things that give you pleasure in life. Give thanks to God for each of them. Consider whether there are pleasures you enjoy that hold special power over you and that tend to influence the way you live your life.
Most generous and loving God, when I pause to consider the many pleasures of my life, I am grateful. Thank you for allowing life to contain such variety of delights for the senses. Please help me to identify pleasures that may be secretly distorting the way I live and especially those that are compromising my daily walk with you. Amen.
1 Corinthians 6:12-20
“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are beneficial. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything. “Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food,” and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is meant not for fornication but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And God raised the Lord and will also raise us by his power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Should I therefore take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! Do you not know that whoever is united to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For it is said, “The two shall be one flesh.” But anyone united to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. Shun fornication! Every sin that a person commits is outside the body; but the fornicator sins against the body itself. Or do you not know that your body is a temple[f] of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body.