I couldn’t help it, but in preparing this blog for you, I “googled” the annual revenue of the cosmetic industry which was $49 billion U.S. dollars. Next question—and I am not trying to get personal—but I checked how much money is spent on diets each year in the United States? Answer: $66 billion U. S. dollars. Wow! Then for kicks, literally, I decided to look at how much we spend on footwear. I hope this includes both men and women. The answer: $100 billion.
If you are still reading, you might wonder what is my point. I’m not against staying healthy, or good looks, or even trying to put our best foot forward. But we do spend a great deal of money on our body. And I didn’t even look up dollar figures on jewelry, clothing, tattoos, or anything you might think of relating to the body. You can take the time and google it.
Here is my point. Paul puts to us another one of those eternal questions. This question was directed at those in Corinth but it could easily be a question for us. You may know, Corinth was the home of the goddess Aphrodite. Let’s just say back then, people worshipped sex. Now, think about today. Paul was not a prude but he was concerned about defiling the body and desecrating our relationship with God as made evident through the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit uses our body, our physical, mortal, humanity to enter our lives. It does not mean as soon as the Holy Spirit enters, we are somehow made clean as a whistle. Nor does it mean our bodies are a temple. The Holy Spirit is not about washboard abs, rippling biceps, a low cholesterol count all covered with Calvin Klein jeans.
No, it is not that the Holy Spirit denies the physical in life but the Holy Spirit gives us and provides for us another life. By entering our physicality—we become aware and attentive to the life within. The body is a structure that houses the Temple where the Holy Spirit resides—sets up shop and begins doing a work in us—so that we are now capable of doing the work of God. For example, the Holy Spirit penetrates our heart.
The heart is not simply a physical heart pumping blood to keep us going. Consider the spiritual heart who transmits, conveys and communicates our feelings of joy, peace, hope and love all at the center of our being which through the Holy Spirit is now related and united to the will of God.
The same is true with our mind. The mind is not the brain. The brain is physical, material, and limited in nature while the mind is spiritual and again, taps into the supernatural. It is here the Holy Spirit forms and shapes our ideas, thoughts, and images that allow us and encourages us to think about God and become attentive and aware of Jesus who is present on earth.
There is more to our inner life and as the Holy Spirit comes alive, we recognize good and bad, right and wrong, and the forces of evil that scurry into darkness as a result of the light. The season of Pentecost provides us with time—God’s time—to enter the Temple of the Holy Spirit where our character and body are formed and shaped into the Body of Christ.