I am making a new rule in our house! We are actually kind of skimpy on the house rules. I try very hard to keep things simple: love God, love others, be joyful. It’s not complicated to avoid discipline here. But I have found myself repeating this new rule over and over again: honor God with your body. I suppose it falls right under the rule to love God, but when I phrase it this way it keeps our correction short and easy and obvious.
No spitting at your sister!
Why did God give you a tongue?
Answer: To taste delicious food.
Honor God with your tongue. Honor God with your body.
No hitting your sister!
Why did God give you hands?
Answer: To help others.
Honor God with your hands. Honor God with your body
No stomping your feet!
Why did God give you feet?
Answer: To walk and run and dance
Honor God with your feet
Why did God give you a voice?
Answer: To sing and praise Him
Honor God with your voice.
It’s really all the same rule. Isn’t that the way rules should be? We are just using them to maintain a certain standard, the standard of serving Christ. I want my children to think of their bodies as gifts, as temples of the Holy Spirit, that they have been given responsibility for, to use to honor God. At their age, honoring God with their body means things like no spitting, no yelling, no fits, no hitting, no pulling hair, no sitting on each other. I want them to make the connection (and it is an easy one) that their bodies are given to them for a purpose and it is very possible and very easy to misuse our bodies.
Of course the best way for them to learn this is for them to see me using my body to honor God, using my hands to serve instead of take, my energy to give instead of for my own hobbies, my voice to encourage and sing and tell stories instead of criticize, my imagination to create things for them instead of worrying about them.
Why did God give me a body? What does He want me to do with it? Why a brain and an imagination and a back and a stomach and teeth and a tongue and feet and hands and hips and why are my arms so strangely long? It doesn’t take much work to think of all the ways I can honor God with those things, instead of thinking of those things as ways to serve myself or of trying to preserve my body like a porcelain doll. God gave it to me to use and to use up until it is gone. This new rule is just as much for me as it is for the children. We are all learning to honor God with our bodies.
Lindsey Tollefson is a homemaker and mother in Louisville, Kentucky.
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