Your Body - God's Temple
In the Old Testament times, God lived among His people by means of the Tabernacle. This is covered in the study on the sacrificial system. (Also see Exodus 25)
According to 1 Corinthians 6:19,20 and 2 Corinthians 6:16 it is now God's desire to live in us by means of His Holy Spirit. In other words, we are now the temples of God on this earth:
Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you? 1 Corinthians 3:16
Of course this will only take place if we let Him into our lives by accepting Jesus as our Saviour. Paul urges us to do this in Romans 12:1 where he says that we should offer our bodies to God as living sacrifices.
If we take this seriously then it means that we should keep our bodies in as near perfect condition as possible, just as the sacrificial lamb in the old testament was to be perfect and unblemished.
Paul likens the Christian life to a race and says that just as to succeed in a literal race you need to be fit, so we should train and keep fit in the Christian life. (1 Corinthians 9:24-27)
A word we can use to sum up how we should look after our bodies is
Temperance. Believing that we are God's temple we should not contaminate our bodies with harmful substances like alcohol (see 1 Corinthians 6:10), tobacco, drugs, and even certain types of food.
Note that the original diet of man was fruits, nuts and grains. (Genesis 1:29) When man sinned vegetables were added to the things he could eat (Genesis 3:18), and it was not until the time of Noah that meat was included (Genesis 9:3). Therefore it is reasonable to assume that the best diet for man today is a vegetarian diet, a fact that is emphasised by most dieticians today.
For those that choose to eat meat anyway, God has made certain guidelines as to which are the best meats to eat. (See Leviticus 11:1-30 for a list of clean and unclean foods.) Again these have been shown by dieticians to be very sensible guidelines indeed.
In Jesus day the Pharisees had taken all God's health laws to ridiculous extremes, thinking that the things which you ate contaminated you with sin if they were unclean. This led to a talk by Jesus on clean and unclean
foods (Matthew 15:1-20 and Mark 7:1-23) in which he declares that it isn't what you eat that makes you sinful or not, but what you do! Paul also emphasises this in 1 Corinthians 10:23-33.
While this is true, we still need to exercise temperance in our lives in order to keep ourselves as healthy as possible so that we can serve God as best we can.