Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.
There are certain things which people crave to give them a sense of stability in life. The feeling that one belongs to a group or community can offer this stability. Something else that makes one feel stable is ownership. We see in our own society that home ownership is valued as a step toward stability. It is the idea of being able to call that place your own, to know that it belongs to you. Even more central to this idea of stability is taking ownership of oneself. We can call this the autonomy of adulthood, and it is the moment when we decide we belong to our ourselves and will determine how to direct our lives and our bodies. Left unchecked, this idea of ownership can be a great stumbling block to this great faith for many.
Adolescence is a time when many parents try to teach their children how to protect their physical selves by being wise with their bodies. Whether the specific instruction relates to substance abuse or sexual promiscuity, that guidance can be ignored because of this belief that our bodies are undoubtedly ours to direct and control, the most basic and universal form of ownership. Yet, God calls us to sacrifice these very bodies to him as our worship. He wants us to relinquish ownership to him as we have exchanged our lives for that of Christ. It is about more than our time, our energy and our affections. He wants us to give him all we are spiritually and physically as a testament to his worthiness.
The worship of God is all about giving him honor and glorifying him. To worship with the physical body is to keep from defiling it and to keep it holy for him. The crux of this worship is in understanding that ownership of the physical form, the flesh and blood which carries our souls and spirits, belongs to him and not us. These are the temples in which his Holy Spirit resides, which makes them his home. Our act of worship is nothing more than keeping holy the residence of God’s Spirit, which is an honor more than an obligation. Father, help us to keep your temples pure and set apart as a testament to others of your worthiness and our faith.