Tuesday, February 11, 2014

He Lives in Us

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20 TNIV)

"My body is a temple."  I've heard that phrase many times throughout my life.  Often times the phrase came from someone who was buff - obviously working out on a regular basis with the sculpted muscles to show for it.  Often the discussion includes ways I should eat right, exercise, and perhaps drink protein shakes.  I'm usually looked down upon in such discussions because I drink Mountain Dew or enjoy a good cheeseburger.  As a Christian, they will say, I should know better how to "honor God with my body."

I guess they're right.  I could watch my diet closer and even exercise more than I do.  Physical exercise does have value, to be sure.  I just wish this passage of Scripture wasn't used to make their point.  You see, the point being made here by Paul as he writes to the Corinthian church is far different than the one being made by my health-conscious friends today.

Paul is reminding us (like I discussed yesterday) of the gift that God gives us - the gift of Himself...His Spirit.  This was a big deal for the apostle Paul.  It is was a big deal for all Christians back then.  It's a big deal for us today.

You see, God hadn't had close encounters with His people since He walked in the Garden with Adam and Eve.  Once they were kicked out of Eden for their sin, the relationship with God has always been from a distance.  Abraham encountered God when he was tested with Isaac, but communications took place through angels.  Jacob wrestled with God at night, but did not really see Him.  Moses encountered burning bushes, mountaintop fires, and a pillar of smoke/fire.

The Israelites encountered God in His tabernacle (tent), then later in His temple (building).  God was always "out there," separate, at a distance.  He honored their request to keep it that way because they were afraid to come in contact with Him.  No one can see the face of God and live.

After Jesus left, though, he promised to send back His Spirit.  When he did, the distance between us and God completely vanished.  You don't go to an ornate church building or temple to meet with God anymore.  He comes to your place - your body - to meet with you.  Since the temple was the place we used to meet with Him, Paul now refers to your body as His Temple.  God dwells there now.  He's not here just for a short visit.  He's here to stay.

Everything changes when I start thinking about God being inside me...seeing what I see...doing what I do.  I start to realize that when I looked at that thing I shouldn't have, I was making God look at with me.  When I said that stuff I wish I hadn't, I was making God say that with me.  When I did those things I am ashamed that I did, I was making God do them too.

That's the point Paul was making.  God is in you.  Don't say something God wouldn't say.  Don't do something God wouldn't do. The question we should be asking ourselves is this:  "Would God do that?"  If not, then why are you?  You are making Him participate in that every time you do it, because God now dwells in you.