1 Jan 1999

Buffeting our bodies?

Submitted by theshovel
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a friend of mine went to a bible study and she told me that paul said in the bible that he buffet his flesh every day and that we should do the same (she said). i went to god with it and talked to him. i said my eyes should be on jesus not the flesh. paul was a wonderful man, but not jesus. i am in the holy of holies with jesus. i am on my way to be coming groan up. do you feel the same way as i do? linda

Hi Linda, I think we've religicised the Bible for so many, many years that we simply can't see quite a few statements as long as we keep forcing them to fit into all the sermons and Bible studies we've heard — especially one like the buffeting verse. You know in your heart that a practice of beating your body is contrary to the reality of Christ! The particular verse your friend referred to comes from 1 Corinthians 9. Considering Paul's emphatic claim...

I determined to know nothing among you except Christ and him crucified 1 Corinthians 2:2

...it's amazing that we consistently read most of the statements in his letter as denials of this demand. Here's the passage in question:

To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some. I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it. Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline (KJV, buffet) my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified. 1 Corinthians 9:22-27

Paul was using language that fit in with the training habits of Olympian runners and boxers. He did not beat his body as those in training for boxing, nor did his mention of running mean that he literally ran. It was a picture of the determination of one who is entirely focused upon the goal before him. A runner in the games ran to win; Paul said "I run in such a way, as not without aim." In other words, he had determined to view all things through Christ and would not be distracted. Aren't you glad? In the same way, he likened his determination to that of a boxer who took aim so that he wasn't beating air. As a boxer in training he disciplined his body so that it would do what he wanted it to do. If a runner or a boxer did not train his body he would not be able to compete and would become disqualified. For Paul to lose sight of his single-minded determination of recognizing the believers only according to Christ he would become as a disqualified Olympian who ran or boxed without aim.

For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.Philippians 1:21

In view of what Paul told the Philippians, this is another statement of the reality of being alive in Christ that also became his determination. Paul did not want anything that came his way to cause him to view himself or others according to anything but the new creation. It's almost funny how religion has forced figurative language to totally miss the reality of what Paul said, huh? Love, Jim

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But how do I view others according to this reality? Seriously, I am tired of hearing this and not actually living it. On a side note, there does not seem to be anything that bad about disciplining the body, only when it becomes something in itself I think.
theshovel's picture

Hello my friend! Perhaps you are also listening to that condemning voice of the world that would have you constantly examine yourself so as to prove that you are unqualified. If Christ is in you then more is going on within you than meets the eye.

There is definitely nothing wrong with disciplining the body, and I can testify that it is worthwhile on many fronts. And you are right to point out that it can easily take on a life of its own so that it becomes nothing more than bondage. :)


I get entangled in this outward examination all the time, damn it! I read a lot of books on all kinds of matters. It appears as if everyone but me is doing significant things that matter. Seriously, I cannot sincerely say I am good at anything, or doing anything good. Especially when it comes to 'spiritual' matters that are supposed to make me happy and successful (whatever that means). I am asocial, and depressed most of the time.

theshovel's picture

My friend Georgi, I do understand what it is to judge myself by outward examination, and I can tell you that such examination is what convinces you that everyone else is doing something worthwhile but you are not. Happy and successful? Yes, it's all a matter of perspective, and it can come crashing down at a moment's notice. The God who judges you does not do so by outward appearance. He never has and never will. He knows you by the heart, the reality within you ... and that reality is Christ.

I know that you struggle because of a lot of introspection, my friend, but I will tell you that from the amazing things I've heard you speak of, you are seriously blessed in knowing that your old fleshly reasoning is not of God. But you are alive, you are free!


Oftentimes I foolishly try to reconcile things that are by nature at war with each other and then attempt to draw conclusions on the basis of the con-fusion that occurs.

theshovel's picture

Trying to reconcile the irreconcilable?  boom I know I've told you this before, but you remind me a lot of my own foolish thinking. lol

Ehem…and ME TOO!!! Love, Adam PS: Sorry to barge in!
theshovel's picture

Adam, please feel free to barge in!  big smile

Ah YES “con-fusion”. Emphasis on the CON. We are being conned into many outward matters on these things that is for sure. Adam

I was listening to a preacher on the radio the other day….It was refreshing to hear him admit that he struggles with workaholism and his wife is so insecure that if something bad happens in far away India that in a few hours she can convince herself that what happened in India was all her fault…LOL…..

The word actually used is subjection. This means making the body subject to the things of the God, therefore letting the Holy Spirit lead as opposed to the flesh.

it would be so wonderful to be a room together discussing these things, yet … theshovel.net is a wonderful 'room' to be in together all the same. i am very thankful to have access to it!!  heart

pardon any digression on my part, as usual.  i get caught up in bunny trails.  for instance, i was just thinking about how “…being subject to the things of GOD…” - that statement all alone could be and has been a real BOMB of destruction and damage within the BODY of Christ. broken heartcrying    yet, for us to have and to know that we share in the very Nature, Mind and Heart of GOD in Christ Jesus is a wonderful, freeing and all consuming LOVEheart to realize that we have been made NEW … a New Creation … and that we have been united with the GOD of that New Creation in HIS very Son Who made the impossible POSSIBLEWOW! bouncy  HE is WHO we are subject to!  the New Creation is subject to its Creator, as it can not NOT be.  smiley also keeping in mind about being subject to the things of GODwe are the 'things' of GOD and make up the Body of Christ … the Church … being subject to that Body … being subject to one another in LOVE … it is a pretty BIG thing!  heart

i will back up a bit … the reason it has been a bomb all by itself (that phrase and its being taken out of context, its consequent abuse and misuse) is because of the many mis-interpretations of what 'the things of GOD' even means.  it has been quite relative according to whatever individual or individuals are teaching, preaching, lecturing, writing or perpetuating according to the wisdom of the world.  sad

georgi, i found your vulnerable and honest 'confession' to be quite refreshing! “I get entangled in this outward examination all the time, damn it!”   <~georgi  smiley  you are sooo NOT alone in that!  we can encourage one another in the reality that we have been made qualified and worthy and of immeasurable value by our FATHER and in HIS Son Jesus Christ.  THIS is our endless GOOD NEWS and the most important way we can support and encourage one another.  heart

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