Transforming the body
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; you were bought with a price.
Therefore honour God with your body.
(1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
from Renovation of the Heart by Dallas Willard
Spiritual formation into Christlikeness is the process of forming the inner world of the person in such a way that it takes on the character of Jesus himself. The result is that the outer life of the individual increasingly becomes a natural expression of the reality of Jesus and his teachings. Doing what he said and did increasingly becomes a part of who we are.
But for this to happen our body must increasingly be prepared to do good and to refrain from evil. The inclinations to wrongdoing must be eliminated. The body must come to serve us as a primary ally in Christlikeness.
For good or for evil, the body is crucial to our spiritual life. Some will find this a strange notion, but it remains a fact. We can see wherever we look that the human body is a major barrier to renovation of the heart in Christ, perhaps even the most significant barrier. This certainly is not God’s intention for the body. It is not in the nature of the body as such; the body is not inherently evil. Nor is it even caused by the body. The body is a good thing; God made it for good. That is why the way of
Jesus Christ is so specifically incarnational. The body must be cherished and properly cared for, not as a master, but as a servant of God.