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My Body, My Choice… Or Not

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February 13, 2023

There are several ideas and debates around the independence of humans as agencies over ourselves as individuals and communities. These ideas are important as they affect our will, intellect, and, ultimately, our choices. These ideas are often expressed in statements from as little as “it’s my choice/life” to debatable statements like “self-made man/woman” and even to the heavily debated and world-view orienting comments like “my body my choice.” While we may argue the truth or fallacy of some of these ideas/statements, we can all agree that these ideas have far-reaching impacts on how we govern our lives and can shape our “destinies.” In light of this importance, we would have a short discourse on perhaps the most debated idea of them all — “My Body, My Choice.”

First things first, This Body is not Yours.

In Copyright Laws on creation/creative work, it is clearly stated that he who creates a piece of work, by default, owns it — whether or not he was commissioned to create it. For example, if you pay a photographer to take your picture, said photographer owns the image they shoot or create. Unless they sign away their ownership rights, what your payment covers is merely a leasing fee so that you can use, not own, the pictures in perpetuity. Yes, you paid the photographer. Yes, you were the model; without you, said image would not exist. Regardless, the photographer owns the photos because they created them, and your payment (unless clearly stated otherwise) is merely leasing.

So here’s the question, who created you? Who created the physical body that you sometimes lay claim to?

I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb — Jeremiah 1:5a

God is the Creator and Ultimate owner of our bodies (and I daresay our souls and spirits — but that’s a conversation for another day). He has leased these bodies to us so that we may walk on this side of the divide — because without them, we have no right or place on earth. Our bodies house our Spirit, enabling us to “live” on the planet. He owns the body, so technically, it’s His Body, His Choice.

It’s often easy to confuse a lease (especially a long one) with ownership — but more on this later.

God created our bodies and has leased this body to us for free, but not without purpose. The human body has an expandable capacity to host spirits of various sizes, types, and numbers. We see from Matthew 12:43–45 that the human body can host one Spirit and seven more wicked spirits. We also see from the story of the madman across the Sea of Galilee in Mark 5 how the human body can host a legion of demons. For context, a legion consists of five to six thousand armed men. Imagine one human body containing many such spirits! But here’s the kicker; the human body can host God! Our bodies can host the expanse and the magnitude of the Creator of the Universe!

Just as photographers often have reasons for specific photoshoots (e.g. Pre-Wedding, Product Photography, Fashion Photography), there are particular reasons behind the creation of our bodies and the “free lease” to various parties. Chief of these reasons is that we host God on earth.

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is within you, whom you have [received as a gift] from God and that you are not your own [property]? — 1 Corinthians 6:19 [Amplified]

It is relatively easy for one granted power of attorney, or control over an asset, to mistake said control for ownership. The error has led to the seeming prevalence of the notion that our bodies belong to us, so we get to choose what to do and undo with them. The idea “My body, My choice” could be no further from the truth. At best, these bodies are leased to us, and the lease has an expiry date, after which we would give an account to the original owner.

And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: — Hebrews 9:27

While not a direct interpretation, the parable of the wicked husbandmen, as seen in Matthew 21:33–46, Mark 12:1–12, and Luke 20:9–19, can be used to paint an analogy of the mechanics and futility of towing these dangerous lines of reasoning.

The parable starts with the creation of a vineyard that the creator/owner loved. This vineyard creation is a lot like how God formed us in our mother’s womb (Jeremiah 1:5). The owner of the vineyard goes through the trouble, selects the seeds(like matching your parents), determines the correct location (like your being born in Nigeria 😁), and then does the actual planting (like the forming in the womb), and so much more (the hedge, the tower, the winepress, etc.). During this process, our souls/will were not involved, just like the husbandmen were not involved. It’s clear at the end of the entire process that the vineyard is fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14) — and this is further reiterated by the covetousness of the husbandmen (i.e. you won’t covet that which is not desirable/wonderful).

Shortly after creation, the vineyard is leased to husbandmen. This leasing is similar to when our consciousness kicks in, and like the husbandmen have some control over the vineyard, we then have some control over our bodies. The owner then sends an emissary to collect his portion. I would liken this emissary to a “common sense” of right and wrong, the moral right and wrong conscience instilled in every human. Erring on the path of “My Body My Choice” often results in the death of this emissary, a searing of our consciences until we become dull to them.

They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them — Romans 2:15

Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times, some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared — 1 Timothy 4:1–2

Having sent emissaries and not gaining the appropriate response from the husbandmen, the owner then sends His Son — the inheritor of the vineyard — thinking that the husbandmen would recognize the son and accord him the respect and honour he deserves. And the husbandmen, after identifying him as the son of the owner of the vineyard, then go ahead to kill him. Similarly, denying the Word of God’s truths concerning our decisions concerning our bodies and yielding our members to alternative spirits is akin to the killing of the son of the owner of the vineyard by the husbandmen.

It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age — and then have fallen away — to be restored to repentance, because they themselves are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting Him to open shame. Hebrews 6:4–6

Do you not know that when you offer yourselves as obedient slaves, you are slaves to the one you obey, whether you are slaves to sin leading to death, or to obedience leading to righteousness? — Romans 6:16

The parable ends with an interesting question: where we would end the analogy.

Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vinedressers? — Matthew 21:40

Here’s a fun fact as we begin to wrap up; beyond your body being leased to you to host the Creator of the Universe, the secondary leaseholder of your body is your husband/wife.

The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise, the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. — 1 Corinthians 7:4

The root word for authority used here is exousiazo which means to have authority, to be master, and to control a body. It implies that anyone with intentions of getting married ought to treat their bodies knowing that even on this side of eternity, they are not the only caretaker — you will yet hand it over to the “original caretaker.”

In conclusion…

Yes, he, who owns the body, gets to make the choices. The challenge is we often misallocate said ownership. Our body is owned by God and leased to us, but it is never owned by us — who walk in the body. We are merely caretakers whose condition and ability to function on this side of eternity depend on how well we care for this body. Imagine you lent your friend an expensive car you had just bought; how would you want them to treat such a car? It is with such care and intentionality that we ought to treat our bodies — both in how we take care of the body, in feeding, in exercising, in dressing, in the type and kind of activities we engage in, and in the kind of spirits we host.

Do have a Blessed Week!

Itoro Nehemiah

@_it0r0

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