John Gavazzoni
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The Gavazzonis'

Body and Spirit
By John Gavazzoni

There's a great emphasis abroad today among believers seeking the frontier of truth re: our true identity. From somewhat varying perspectives, it is being heralded that we are spirits. This soulically over-heated quest has at times become grossly perverse in insisting that, as spirits, we need to lay aside our identity as humans (seemingly implying that our bodily existence is not integral to ourselves as spirits). Now I'm quick to admit that the limitations that my body suffers from the entropy native to it being made subject to futility are not to my liking. I'd like it to be able to leap over tall buildings with a single bound and fly through space like a speeding bullet. I'd even, at my age, appreciate that when I break into a little sprint on my walks, that my knees would still have some bounce left in them. Not so, I run---if you can call it that---with that  no-bounce, feet-never-much-above-ground-level so typical of us more-than-youngsters.


So OK, I'm really a spirit. I have no argument with that if it's RIGHTLY UNDERSTOOD. For if we are the children of God, we are born of the Spirit, and "that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." But, may I---since none of us are completely free of needing some kind of conceptual model to work from as we seek understanding--offer a model that, by comparison with a lot of stuff being passed around as "present truth," just might be a little more user-friendly for our quest.  Let's begin with the questions, "Was there ever a time when we, as spirits, did not have a body? And, "are we to think of spirit-existence being non-body existence?"


By the following statements, I offer what I'm confident is the beginning structure of a fresh conceptual-model: Spirit and body cannot be intrinsically separated. All spirit has body. All spirit embodies itself out from within its own essence. The very existence of a body means that there is spirit intrinsic to that body. The body can be apart from the spirit, and thus dead, as James affirms ("As the body, apart from the spirit is dead...."), but "apart from" in the sense of a disconnect; in the sense of being unplugged from its inner reality; in the sense of spirit by self-denial, suffering the necessity of being alienated from itself in death, for the sake of life more abundant by resurrection. In a word, the cross is at the center of this article.


Being born of God is an eternal identity reality. We are eternal spirits, born of the Spirit of our Eternal Father, out from within Him through His Firstborn Son, and as such, we have always had embodied form. All spirit has form, i.e., all spirit out-forms itself in embodiment. That very spirit-embodiment was what became, by God's creativity in the space-time continuum, the formation of Adam ("And the Lord God FORMED man of the soil of the ground...")  (emphasis mine) The very substance of Eternal Spirit is the material from which the universe was created, and from the soil of one very unique planet, man was created/formed, and his inner essence of spirit has always been within him. To deny this essential mutually complementary relationship of spirit and body, in the search for true identity, is to leave oneself open to a most fundamental deception.


All life in energized by spirit, and all living things realize their identity in the physical form they take. Plant a flower seed in the ground, water it, and allow it plenty of sunshine, and the life within that seed, will BECOME the body of a flower out from within its life-essence. The fact that life in its eternal form has, in the purpose of God, been assigned an eonian experience of suffering alienation from its inner Reality, in no way means that in its present, temporary condition, that the essential relationship of spirit and body has ceased to be. Keep in mind the difference, for instance, in Paul's use of the term "flesh," as opposed to "body." They do not convey the same thing at all. "Body" has an exalted place in the New Testament scriptures. Ponder that Christ is actually described as being a body in 1 Cor. 12:12. He is both the Head of the body, and the body itself. We "eat" the body and "drink" the blood of His Sacred Humanity glorified in the Spirit. That something foreign to Him can exist with Him, in no way, of course, could ever alter His essential Sacredness.


When the body suffers death-alienation from its inner life/identity source, the realm of "the flesh" arises, so that what is external becomes divorced from its Reality. The complex of our physical senses and the externals of religious worship particularly make up the realm of what the apostolic writers call "the flesh" in its negative connotation. I say religious worship particularly, because that lies at the heart of the realm of the flesh, but it includes by extension the whole of what makes up this present evil world-system. It is all fleshly, sensual, as in out of touch with "One God and Father, who is above all, and through all, and in all."


How do you think Jesus felt about His body when He walked the earth? Did He find it repugnant? Did He think of it as foreign to HIS true identity as the Christ? Think about the fact that "He bore our sins IN HIS OWN BODY." (emphasis mine) Think about the fact that Paul desired to have the life of Christ manifested in his mortal body. Think about the fact that we are exhorted to "present (our) bodies as living sacrifices to God...." and that we are to yield those members to God as instruments of righteousness. How can we yield something to God as an instrument of righteousness, if it is not an instrument of righteousness?


Hey, I have a practical exhortation: Hug yourself. Yeah, every now and then, give yourself a big hug, just as a reminder that you are the temple of God, which temple (all of it) is holy. 

John GavazzoniJohn Gavazzoni
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