Disciplining the Body

Are you taming your body for Christ?

Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments of unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from life to death, and your members to God as instruments of righteousness.

   - Romans 6.12, 13

He averted his side’s softness. His body’s desire, he destroyed it. He destroyed his meanness: truly the boy is a son of Conn’s offspring. He destroyed the darkness of envy, he destroyed the darkness of jealousy.

   - Dallán Forgaill, Amra Choluimb Cille, Irish, 6th century

Sanctification is a mystery. But what a wonderful mystery!

We don’t know exactly how the Word and Spirit of God bring us to higher stages of Christ-likeness. It’s not necessary that we understand all the secret workings of God in our souls. But we can plainly understand what our part is in this ongoing struggle for holiness.

We must discipline the members of our bodies to forsake all unrighteousness, and turn them to every good work of righteousness for Jesus’ sake. This requires clear understanding of what the Scriptures teach about the way of righteousness – as, for example, in the righteous Law of God (Rom. 7.12).

It also demands that we exercise continuous vigilance against the wiles and snares of the devil, who can capture our eyes, tongues, or hands and put them to sinful use almost before we know what’s happening. (Not familiar with his wiles? Order a copy of Satan Bound from our online store.)

But our sanctification also requires daily, deliberate effort on our parts to tame the members of our bodies and make them obey the way of righteousness. We must practice our tongues for grace and edification (Col. 4.6; Eph. 4.29). We must teach our eyes to discern true beauty and goodness, and to eschew all that is wicked or worthless. We must insist that our bodies make time for spiritual disciplines, and wean them away from the squalid and squandering ways of pop culture.

The taming of our bodies is our part in the work of sanctification. If we will be faithful to work out our salvation in fear and trembling, the God Who is at work within us will show us His glory and grow us in His grace in new, exciting, wondrous, and glorious ways.

Columba struggled to subdue his body all his life, and he was the holiest man of his day.

Should we strive or settle for anything less?

Psalm 25.4, 5 (Festal Song: “Revive Thy Work, O Lord”)
Make me to know Your ways, teach me Your paths, O Lord!
My Savior, all day long I wait and seek You in Your Word.

Lord, no one who is unrighteous can effectively proclaim Your Word or show Jesus to the world. Make me to know Your ways, O Lord, and lead me in Your paths! Adapted from Colmán mac Beógnai, Aipgitir Chrábaid

T. M. Moore, Principal
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[1] Clancy and Márkus, p. 111.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
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