Renewal of Mind AND Body

by Sabrina T. Cherry 

My church is doing a series using Romans 12:1-2 as one of the foundational passages. The series is focused on remembrance and has blossomed into a conversation about forgiveness and surrender. I submitted a writing entry on love in opposition to hatred, and also used Romans 12:1-2. But today I use Romans 12:1-2 to invite you to consider how it relates to health. 

How do we define health? In my primary field of work, health is often referred to as more than the absence of disease. Health encompasses physical wellbeing, but also mental and social wellbeing. Health can look like wholeness. Health can look like peace. Health can look like offering our bodies as a living sacrifice. 

What do we consider as parts of our bodies?  In conversations intentionally focused on faith, I most often hear bodies in reference to our spiritual exclusively. We are encouraged to offer our minds, our spirits, or our souls to Christ. Romans 12:1-2 is often referenced to emphasize and encourage a necessary and continual renewing of our minds. But I believe there is more. 

When I consider faith and health, I know that offering my body as a living sacrifice – a temple for the Holy Spirit – includes stewarding my entire body. This looks like rest. This looks like choosing food that nourishes and enriches my physical body. This looks like seeking resources, such as therapy, as places to consider life’s complexities with competent and professional counsel. This looks like getting my body moving through walking or cycling and taking a dance or spin class (during pre-pandemic times). 

When we talk about, read about, preach about, or teach about Romans 12:1-2 there is ample room and examples of how these verses remind us to renew our minds but I believe there is also space to consider what it means to view our physical bodies with comparable focused attention of nurturing our spiritual body. At the intersection of faith and health, we can understand, interpret, present, and guide others to say yes, I will renew my mind. And yes, I will guard my body – my health, my wholeness – as a sacrifice to Christ, something to be protected and stewarded well.