Secular and Sacred

Romans 12:1

This call to present to God our bodies refers, primarily, to this body by means of which I have my being and earn my living—which is another way of saying that divine service is not limited to a particular hour on a Sunday, but covers all that takes place both in my work week as well as in my hours of leisure.

The purpose of the Christian faith is needlessly curtailed if its application is limited to special times and special areas of life. The redemptive purpose of God is as concerned with the way in which a man uses his time and spends his money as the way in which he says his prayers.

We all know that there is a plain difference between a place of worship and an industrial plant, though the balance of life requires our attendance at both. But to suppose that what goes on in the one—but not the other—is of interest to God, is to deprive man of his only hope of a salvation which can redeem the whole of his life.

The shoe repairer who helps to keep people’s feet dry, the shopkeeper who serves wholesome food over his counter, the garage mechanic whose repair job is utterly dependable—and all others like them—can present their bodies, that is to say, what they do, to God as their acceptable service.

In the second place, we are to present to God not only what the body does but what the body is. We would miss an important part of the meaning of this command if we limited it to our physical and mental activities.

For what is the body intended to be? “The temple of the Holy Spirit” is the Christian answer. The body is more than a structure of flesh and bones. In this sense the body means the whole personality. “Your very selves,” translates the New English Bible. This self or personality, presented to God, can be the temple or home of His Spirit, thus becoming yet another human instrument which God can use to accomplish His will on earth.

This is what holy living means—the dedication of as much as I possess to as much as I know of the will of God for me. And far from this total response cramping any man’s style, it ennobles him who makes it and glorifies the God whose service is always perfect freedom.

Frederick Coutts, Essentials of Christian Experience

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