Last week, I talked about the first “R” of restful living—remaining with Jesus. This week, I’m talking about the second “R” of restful living: remember your frame–body, soul and spirit.
One of the songs, popular when I was teenager, was “This Old House.” The lyrics describe what it’s like to age— live in a body that like an old house is falling apart. As a teen, I was clueless about the meaning of phrases in the song such as, “getting feeble” or being “tuckered out.” Now, I have a better understanding.
According to my doctor, my body is not yet in the “falling apart” category; still, like an old house with creaky floors, some parts of it groan and complain.
The lyrics of “This Old House” are based on the twelfth chapter of Ecclesiastes . The song (but not the Bible passage) implies that it’s okay to neglect physical pain because someday, in heaven, we will exchange our bodies for better ones. That was my viewpoint for quite a few years.
I’ve learned that neglecting the needs of our physical bodies—abusing them in any way—is not a Christian virtue. They are God’s gift to us through which we serve others, in ways that honor him.
Jesus, perfect in every way, had a human body. Just like us, he felt thirst and hunger. Just like us, he became tired and felt physical pain. Just like us, he had emotions—felt anger, sadness, and joy.
He took care of his body by sleeping, eating and drinking, walking, and taking time off—enjoying a Sabbath rest. He paid attention to his emotions and expressed them in appropriate ways.
Jesus remembered his “frame.” Frame is one of the words used in Scripture to refer to our bodies. The psalmist says that God “knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust” (Psalm 103:14).
Thinking about this makes me feel humble and honored—humbled, because dust isn’t much; yet, honored, because God so deeply loves me.
God took a simple speck of dust
And with his breath fashioned us;
With joy, he viewed his finished task—
Created beauty—pure, unmasked.
Though we’ve fallen from that place
God remolds us with saving grace.
In hope, our wounded spirits rise
As he, with faith, anoints our eyes.
Calling my frame “beautiful and pure” is for me, an act of faith—especially, as I’ve become older. It’s so easy to get distracted by messages in the media that focus on things such as, covering up wrinkles, forever staying at that impossible-to-attain, Barbie shape, and conforming to current hair or clothing styles.
It’s easier to stay focused on truth when I think about the marvelous complexity of my frame. This word refers to more than my body. It refers to my whole self, which, according to Scripture, is designed in the image of God.
God is a three-in-one Trinity—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Part of what it means to be designed in God’s image is to understand that we, also, have a three-in-one nature—body, soul, and spirit.
I’m not going to try to explain all of this. Instead, if you want some very good teaching on it, I recommend Jack Hayford’s book, Rebuilding the Real You .
In this book, based on the book of Nehemiah, he uses the symbol of a three-part temple to represent our three-part nature–body, soul, and spirit. He says,
“At the core, we have a spirit. It is the relational worshipful, living center of the human personality.
Surrounding the spirit, we have a soul. It is the command center of the human personality, which includes intellect, emotions, and will.
Supporting and supported by both spirit and soul, each of us has a body; the body is usually the only part we are familiar with.” (p. 36)
God cares about our entire selves–body, soul, and spirit. Listen to this wonderful Scriptural blessing: “May the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again” (1 Thessalonians 5:23 NLT).
I hope that this blessing motivates you, as it does me, to do your part in caring for your whole self-body, soul, and spirit–because in these falling-apart frames of ours (these temples)–the Holy Spirit lives.