Darrow Miller and Friends

Body, Mind, Spirit: Which Matters?

body builderThe Bible has a lot to say about the human body. The body matters to Christ. Christianity is a religion of the body, as well as the mind and the spirit; all three are the creation of God.

So, for example, the apostle Paul appealed to the Christians in Rome, “by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship” (Romans 12:1 ESV).

Your body as a sacrifice. Something given up to God. There’s a thought for 21st century citizens. The purpose of your body is not to be a specimen of beauty or strength. Not an object of admiration. Your body is to be a sacrifice offered to God.

The very next verse exhorts the Christian’s mental development, transformation in fact. “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2 ESV).

The purpose of your body is not to be a specimen of beauty

We need a biblical balance of mind, body, and spirit. Lydia Sigourney recognized that already 175 years ago when she wrote Letters to Young Ladies.

Is it fair … that what relates to the body, and the organs of the body, I mean those accomplishments which address themselves to the eye and to the ear, should occupy almost the whole thoughts; while the intellectual part is robbed of its due proportion, and the spiritual part has almost no proportion at all? Is not this preparing the young for an awful disappointment, in the tremendous day, when they must be stripped of that body, of those senses and organs which have been made almost the sole objects of their attention, and shall feel themselves in possession of nothing but that spiritual part, which in education was scarcely taken into the account of their existence? 110

What would she think if she saw the West today? Surely she would be dismayed over our obsession with physical beauty, our erosion of intellectual development, and our growing spiritual vacancy?

Our friend, Nicole Curiel, reflects on a wonderful legacy with reference to this very point.

I was homeschooled throughout my entire life. I can say that my homeschooling experience was very complete. I had all the necessary intellectual aspects covered in my schooling. As a result, I am now studying to be a teacher, speak, read and write two languages perfectly and know a third (but not as well).  I will always remember this though: when I was young we had mornings where we would do no school at all. Instead my mom would tell us that we needed to have a time with the Lord. Sometimes this would take up the whole morning. But seeking the Lord and His presence was always a priority for both my mom and dad.

It’s funny to think back now. I remember having problems with learning the b and the d. That morning was a frustrating morning. Finally, my mom got up and told me, “Ask the Lord to reveal to you which one is the b and which one is the d.” She prayed for me and left the room. I remember sitting there waiting for the Lord to reveal the difference of these letters. He did! He showed me a pick screen where one letter would appear and then the next. From that day on I have never had a problem with either letter.

I share this experience because I understand now that if I am ever in need of anything I can go to Him. He is the priority in my life even above my studies. I learned that since I was very young.

As clearly indicated by the title of her book, Lydia Sigourney wrote to young women. We have been posting about her with a view to exposing her powerful writing to today’s generation. Most of those posts, and most of her writing, is particularly appropriate to young women. This one applies equally to us all.

–          Gary Brumbelow

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Gary is the Disciple Nations Alliance editorial manager. He manages Darrow Miller and Friends and serves as editor and co-writer on various book projects. For eight years Gary served as a cross-cultural church planting missionary among First Nations people of Canada. His career also includes 14 years as executive director of InterAct Ministries, an Oregon-based church-planting organization in Canada, Alaska, and Siberia. Gary is a graduate of Grace University, earned an MA from Wheaton College and a Graduate Studies Diploma from Western Seminary. He lives near Portland, Oregon with his wife, Valerie. They have two married sons and twelve grandchildren. In addition to his work with the DNA, Gary serves as the pastor of Troutdale Community Church.