Does Your Body Language Honor God?Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
The Lord GOD has given me the tongue of a teacher … The Lord GOD has opened my ear … The Lord GOD helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like flint …
I ran track in high school, but fell out of the habit for many years. Then I noticed several of my Facebook friends posting about running 5K races and half-marathons. I thought to myself, if they can do it, so can I. So I started a “Couch to 5K” running plan to get myself back in shape.
And I found myself feeling better overall, not just physically, but mentally and emotionally. I had more energy, I was sleeping better, and I felt happier. The physical exercise affected every dimension of my life.
Like it or not, we can’t escape our bodies. They go with us wherever we go, and we use our bodies to engage the world around us. A physical injury or weakness affects our whole life. We are embodied people.
In Isaiah 50, the speaker describes his ministry in terms of his body. Verse 4 focuses on the speaker’s tongue, how it symbolizes his identity as a teacher and his ministry of counsel to others. It also mentions his ear, a physical representation of his willingness to listen to others. Verse 5 says that his open ear is a sign of his obedience and receptivity. In verse 6, he gives his back to those who struck him. He turns his cheeks, his beard is pulled out, his face is not hidden from insult. His whole body is given in service to God, even though it is costly and painful.
And God honors this commitment. Indeed, God gave him his teacher’s tongue; God opened his listening ear. Isaiah knows that he belongs to God, in his flesh and bone. Therefore he is able to set his face like flint (v. 7), with confidence that God will uphold him throughout the challenges he faces. It is the Lord God who helps him (v. 9).
We live out our faith through our bodies. The Christian life is not some spiritual abstraction of private piety. No, the Christian life is lived out in our words and deeds, in our physical actions and behavior. The spiritual life is a physical life, and we follow God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.
And what is the purpose of such an embodied faith? It is so we can stand up together (v. 8). God vindicates his people when we are willing to embody our faith holistically in every sphere of our physical lives, in our actions, in our witness, in our stewardship of our resources, in how we inhabit the world.
May we have teaching tongues, listening ears, yielding backs, and confident faces. And let us stand upright in all that God calls us to do.
FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: "The spiritual life is a physical life." Do you agree with that statement? Do you find it easiest to love God with your heart, soul, mind, or strength? Where might God be calling you to live out your faith in your body?
PRAYER: God of all creation, you made us in your image as embodied beings to worship you and represent you. May our bodies be visible to others as physical reminders of the grace of Jesus Christ, our Savior. Amen.
READ THE SCRIPTURE IN CONTEXT:
The Lord GOD has given me the tongue of a teacher,
that I may know how to sustain the weary with a word.
Morning by morning he wakens
my ear to listen as those who are taught.
The Lord GOD has opened my ear,
and I was not rebellious,
I did not turn backward.
I gave my back to those who struck me,
and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard;
I did not hide my face from insult and spitting.
The Lord GOD helps me;
therefore I have not been disgraced;
therefore I have set my face like flint,
and I know that I shall not be put to shame;
he who vindicates me is near.
Who will contend with me?
Let us stand up together.
Who are my adversaries?
Let them confront me.
It is the Lord GOD who helps me;
who will declare me guilty?