(1 Cor. 3 : 9–17)
“Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple are you,” says St. Paul. (1 Cor. 3:16-17). And to cast away any doubts, when he says ‘temple of God,’ St. Paul means the human body.
Therefore, how we treat His creation is a very serious matter indeed.
One of the most frequently used terms today, “freedom,” is a word that has been overused and abused. Where the human body is concerned, the abuse of this term has reached astronomical proportions. People think that they can do with their own bodies whatever pleases them, because their bodies belong to them – and, of course, they act accordingly. They subject their bodies to all kinds of physical strains, pierce their body parts and draw pictures all over them, and destroy them with drugs.
The Apostle warns us that we should not deceive ourselves: our bodies were created by the Lord and they belong to Him. He breathed life into us, and we are not our own. We belong to God. “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s (1 Cor. 6:19 – 20).
How does one destroy the temple of the Holy Spirit?
These days a lot of energy and money is spent in finding out more ways how to prolong pleasure, or in other words, how to wallow in sin for as long as possible. Many businesses capitalize on that. People try look younger than they are, or manlier than they can ever be.
A natural order of things has been violated. It is normal for young people to have their fun and their “crazy moments,” but those “crazy moments” should pass as one reaches adulthood and maturity. In the past, people would settle down after having their youthful “fling,” they became serious and responsible adults of good reputation. If there was anyone who failed to grow up, it was their own fault.
Today, however, we see that not even old men are as they once had been. Recently I read that in this country the greatest percentage of a certain type of crime against minors is perpetrated mostly by older men. An unbelievable fact! One is forced into the conclusion that today people take drugs in order that they could sin more! At a stage in life when a person is expected to slow down and become calmer and more dignified, some individuals go crazy on purpose, disturbing not only their own, inner peace, but also that of their neighbors.
All that God created was very good (Gen. 1:31). The way that He created us humans is also very good and serves its purpose. It is normal that we should take care of our bodies and our physical needs. It is abnormal and unfortunate if we focus all our energy and attention to making provisions for the flesh to fulfill its lusts, as St. Paul describes in Romans 13:14.
We should particularly strive to avoid the latter. Every one of us should analyze where we stand spiritually and avoid that which leads us into sin. “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any” (1 Cor, 6:12). We should not allow ourselves to go from master to slave. We must have the strength and integrity to say “Enough!” to everything. Enough food, enough drink – I must stay clearheaded and sober.
Our bodies are holy, just as everything that God created is holy. It is up to us to keep it holy and not to turn it into its opposite. “Foods are for the stomach and the stomach for foods, but God will destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for sexual immorality but for the Lord” (1 Cor. 6:13). We must not forget that we will be resurrected with our bodies at Christ’s Second Coming. “… And come forth to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation (Jn. 5:29). Every individual will pay and suffer in the same way as he or she sinned.
We must not abuse our bodies, God’s own creation. “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you?” asks the holy Apostle (1 Cor. 6:19). And he also says, “Do you not know that your bodies are the members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot? Certainly not! (1 Cor. 6:15).
An honest man must first of all avoid the sin of fornication. “Flee youthful lusts,” is the advice St. Paul gives to Timothy. One doesn’t even notice when a single thought leads him to certain thoughts, the thoughts lead him to desire, desire leads to the act itself, and then it is too late. “Each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings death,” says the holy Apostle James (Jam. 1:14-16).
One must be master of one’s heart and eyes. We must not let either one roam free, for sin comes through both. Christ tells us that “whoever looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Mt. 5:28).
People often let themselves be lulled into a comfortable life, ignoring the consequences. They wander around with their eyes shut. The days and years pass and the sad end of their life draws near. Not to forget that after the end, a new beginning starts, only this time the beginning of suffering and anguish. “Be happy, young man, while you are young, and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth. Follow the ways of your heart and whatever your eyes see, but know that for all these things God will bring you to judgment” (Eccl. 11:9).