Do What You Want With My Body

In late 2013 Lady Gaga released “Do What You Want” as the second single for her album ARTpop.  The song was moderately successful, debuting at #13 on the Hot 100 and making it on the top 100 pop hits of the year.  The song features R. Kelly on guest vocals, and an alternate version features Christina Aguilera, and the song was generally praised despite its immensely suggestive lyrics.  If one views the song from a charitable standpoint, Lady Gaga is answering her critics by saying that what is essentially hers remains her own despite whatever other people say about her.  Naturally, many people listening to the song focused on the surface level of the lyrics, which admittedly is fairly easy to do.  The song, after all, can easily be judged as the defiant gesture of someone who is sexually available but yet remote and frigid emotionally and intellectually, and that is certainly a level many people are comfortable in remaining without dealing with the larger issues of honor and reputation in the face of continual criticism and malicious slander and libel.

Yet as unsettling as it may be, there are at least some areas where godly believers are supposed to share something in common with Lady Gaga, as unappealing as that prospect may be to many [1].  Romans 12:1-2 tells us, after all:  “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”  Likewise, Matthew 26:39 tells us:  “He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.””

What these verses share in common with Lady Gaga’s declaration is a willingness to let someone else do whatever they want with us.  Presenting our bodies as a living sacrifice to God is to tell Him, “Do what you want with my body.”  And that is what Jesus Christ was telling His Father that night in Gethsemane as His Passover sacrifice approached.  There are, to be sure, many differences between the declarations.  There is no hint of sexual immorality or inappropriate availability for believers, and certainly not for Jesus Christ.  One cannot imagine R. Kelly or Christina Aguilera singing as a guest vocalist for “Triste Est Anima Mea Usque Ad Mortem,” for example.  And there is a moral difference as well concerning the moral quality of those we are making that address to.  Believers are saying that God, who cannot sin, can do what He wants with us, in the knowledge that nothing He does to us will be wrong.  That is in stark contrast to either a lover or to the media with their lies and slander and exploitation.  There is also a difference in the extent of what we are giving to God, as it is written in Deuteronomy 6:4-5:  ““Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.”  Clearly God wants more from us than merely our bodies.

Yet often I wonder if we really understand the difference between what is wrong and what is unpleasant.  Many people who profess to believe in God live their lives as if God is under some obligation to make life pleasant and easy for believers.  There is no such promise made in scripture, nor in the accounts of the lives of believers in history.  When Jesus Christ expressed His willingness to do what God willed, He was facing arrest, a half dozen trials, and then a horrible scourging followed by a heinous crucifixion.  The same Paul who told us to present our bodies as a living sacrifice to God also, in another place, 2 Corinthians 11:23-29, Paul told us a partial list of what he had suffered for Christ’s sake:  “Are they ministers of Christ?—I speak as a fool—I am more: in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often.  From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one.  Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep;  in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness— besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches.  Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to stumble, and I do not burn with indignation?”  When we tell God to do what He wants with our body, He may just do that, and we have no promise that we will enjoy the process.  We will, however, enjoy the destination.  Sometimes that pleasure has to be enough to put everything else in perspective.

[1] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in Bible, Biblical History, Christianity, History, Music History, Musings and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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