Wordly vs. Pharisee

The individual’s body is liken to a house. It is an abode for the real person, the true one living inside, the inner man. We are told in the Bible that man consists of body, soul, and spirit. All three components are equally of immense importance to God which is why He made them all and deemed them “good”. There are some, often secular people that place an over emphasis on the body at times to the point that they forget altogether the “inner man”. They decorate it (speaking of the body) with stylish clothes and cosmetics, refine and sculpt it with rigorous exercise, darken its color with tanning. They are immediately drawn to others with nice looking houses. They speak to the “attractive” at the exclusion of the “less attractive”. Their whole lives seems driven by the body or the flesh — food and fun.

On the other extreme are those who disregard the flesh or body altogether, and focus solely on the spirit. The religious, Pharisee sort that spend their entire lives mechanically obeying religious rules and condemning in their hearts those “fleshly people” that do not share in their “spiritual enthusiasm”.

As the Greeks instructed us, “moderation in all things”. This is not to say that all things performed insufficiently on the one hand or excessively on the other, is rendered bad by virtue of the incorrect balance in practice. Rather, I believe what the Greeks meant when they instructed us so is the fault comes as a result of placing an impoverished or excessive interest in the wrong view of the purpose of a thing.

Here is what I mean. An obese man eats excessively and a man of poverty eats very little. Both are unhealthy. The obese man eats what is excessively bad — foods abundant in the sort of substances whose cumulative effects are of great detriment to his health — though the obese man as a byproduct also absorbs some necessary and healthy nutrients. The man of poverty equally suffers great detriment to his health by the lack of foods which provide the necessary nutrients in repairing his body. The man of good health is the man who has an excessive interest in the purpose of food. He is the one who is well read in nutrition, and understands the purposes of the various nutrients his meal consists of. His excessive interest in nutrition, not lack thereof, directs him to pick out the right balances of fat, carbs, and protein. Over his lifetime, he would have consumed a great number of meals, but they would have been meals carefully picked in light of his understanding of the purpose of food.

Likewise, the “fleshly” man and the “Pharisee” are equally spiritually unhealthy because of their lack of understanding of the purpose and intended design of the “human being”. All three components of the human — body, soul and spirit are interwoven and are intricately linked and dependent on each other. What is done in the body affects the soul and what is done in the soul affects the body. The more a house deteriorates on the outside as a result of bad elements, the less inhabitable it becomes. Similarly, a house left untidy, attracts insects, bugs, rats, and other such “niceties” that gradually eat away at the house, also leaving it less inhabitable. Whether from the outside or the inside, the end result is the same — an inhabitable house. Whether we are worldly or Pharisee, the end result is the same — an unhealthy soul.

In Matthew 12:25-26, Jesus having read the thoughts of the Pharisees, addresses them in this manner: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand. If Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand?…He that is not with me is against me!” In brief Jesus teaches us that the human has to be of a person of integrity. Integrity is derived from the word “integer”, which refers to “whole numbers”. Integrity means sticking to a side, being whole, not being divided. A Christian must either be completely Christian or not at all. To be a Christian and to live in disobedience of one’s Christian beliefs is a situation of a man divided against himself. “I would rather that thou were either cold or hot”.

Christianity encompasses the whole man. It is a religion that touches on every aspect of a person’s life. From what a person ought to do with his body, to what a person ought to do with his soul. Christianity leaves nothing out. Those who relegate Christianity to a matter of “mere spirituality” are ignorant of the fact that it has something to say about the body. Christianity gives us the right and true purpose of the “human” both bodily and spiritually. It instructs us that “bodily exercise is good, but spiritual exercise is better”. It is the true way to live and any person who becomes a Christian must be ready for it to dictate everything about their lives from what they do with their bodies to what they with their souls.  Moderation in Christianity is no good at all. Excessive interest in Christianity is like the man of good health who has an excessive interest in good nutrition. Indeed, the excessive interest in Christianity directs a man to honor the intended design and purpose of being “human”.

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