Today as I was doing my regular Wednesday workout, I suddenly found myself pondering Paul’s words to the Galatians: “For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please” (Galatians 5:17). I certainly agree with this. I find that my “flesh,” my humanity, wants to do all sorts of sinful things which fall into the seven categories of “deadly:” pride, envy, gluttony, lust, anger, greed and sloth. On the other hand, Spirit encourages the cultivation of the seven virtues of humility, kindness, moderation, chastity, forgiveness, generosity and zeal.
However, my workout reminded me how important it is for us to take care of our bodies, our flesh. The body is given to us by God and we have a responsibility to keep it physically fit, to feed it nourishing food and to give it proper rest. Why? Because the body is our vehicle for doing the physical and spiritual work we are on this earth to do.
Paul tells the Corinthians: “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own” (1 Corinthians 6:19). To me, this means in order to honor the Spirit that resides within our bodily temple, we must also care for the physical needs of the body.
Sure, the flesh and the Spirit war with each other – but they each have their place. The Spirit needs the flesh to be strong and healthy enough to further spiritual growth. God is pure Spirit but He chose to create and dwell within physical forms - and He brings all of creation to fulfillment through physicality.
May we voluntarily play our role (physically and spiritually) in God’s creation!