The Apostle John gave some spiritually sage advice to a group of his disciples who were being influenced by false believers: “Dear friends, don’t believe everyone who claims to have the Spirit of God. Test them all to find out if they really do come from God.” Lots of people make claims, but the real muster of a Christian is in embracing an embodied spirituality that truly meets the holistic needs of others.
For John, there was no room for the Platonic Greek dualism of body and spirit. Jesus was a real man with a very real body. To deny this was to deny the faith. Ethereal musings about the insignificance of the body were flatly rejected by John. The apostle was concerned that the supreme Christian ethic of love be practiced through attention to both body and soul. This means words are not enough; actual demonstrations of love are needed in order to communicate Christ to others.
I’ll be the first guy to insist on some deep theological reflection on the great spiritual, cultural, and social issues of our day. But if it does not lead to the end of some very real tangible acts of love based on that reflection, then we have not yet been called God’s friend. Correct doctrine will always lead to loving actions of faith. We are to glorify God with both speech and service, and never just one without the other.
Loving God, since you cared for us by sending your Son, the Lord Jesus, to this earth as a real human being, so let my very real body and soul glorify you with words and ways of love through the power of your Holy Spirit. Amen.