Governing the Body

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The Theology of Success Part 8- Governing the Body

Francis of Assisi spoke of his body as “Brother Ass.”  His body was like a faithful donkey who did his bidding and toted him about.

Paul however put another spin on our body

  • “the old man;” “…the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit…”
  • “the body of our humiliation;” “…dead because of sin…”
  • “the body of this death”
  • “wretched man…;” “an instrument of sin…”

Or as Jesus said, “the body is weak.”

One of the things that a successful person must do, as Paul said, is to “buffet my body and make it my slave.”

A man or woman who is successful must necessarily learn how to deal with the wild card of their body.  As God said to Cain, “Sin is crouching at your door and its desire is for you but you must master it.” (Gen. 4:7)  At any given time one’s body can undo every good thing and every good intent that one may plan.

Even Ulysses commanded his men as they passed by the island of the Sirens to plug their ears and tie him to the mast and in no way to respond to his madness.  Ulysses knew that his body could take charge and overrule his reason and will and destroy everything he had labored for.  So all men must fear their bodies.

Lust, anger, fear, a wicked tongue, sarcasm, worldliness, theft, laziness, violence, rebellion against authority, divisiveness, an independent spirit, et cetera, et cetera

Your body doesn’t care that you have quiet times, attend church or memorize scripture.  As James said “no one can tame the tongue.  It is a restless evil filled with deadly poison.”  Your flesh and its passions can undermine and destroy everything that you could hope for if you cannot subjugate it to your will.

It begins with a Christian making a resolution, a resolve of the will that says “no” where God says “no.”  It’s called “conviction.”  It means that one has no doubt about the rightness of a moral action.  It means that no matter how my flesh cries out to be satisfied or how the world may applaud and OK my sin that still I will not do so simply because God says it is wrong.  Make your decision before you have to make your decisions.  There can be no debate whenever your body cries for its freedom because it will win.

“A man whose body has leeway over his spirit is a man who walks on the edge of an abyss.”