You Are God’s Temple (1 Corinthians 3:16)
Perhaps Westerns have difficulty with the implications of a temple; we’re more accustomed to churches, cathedrals and synagogues. But in other parts of the world, adherents of various religions build temples with the belief that their gods are present in those places.
The Israelites, upon release from captivity in Egypt and during the forty years of wandering in the desert, were instructed by God through Moses on how to acknowledge and honor His Presence among them. They erected the Tabernacle per the heavenly blueprint and followed all specifications on set-up, worship, and transport (See Exodus 25-30). The ark of the Lord’s covenant, the place upon which God’s Presence rested, was kept in the Most Holy Place in the Tabernacle.
Stay with me, because we will quickly adapt the historical significance of God’s temple to your identity in Christ today.
More than four hundred years after the Israelites settled in Canaan, their third king, Solomon, built a temple for the Lord God. Again, the ark of the covenant was placed in the inner sanctuary, the Most Holy Place, and the Presence of God came in and filled the temple of the Lord. “And the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled His temple” (1 Kings 8:11).
Friend, what an amazing thing the people of Israel witnessed when Solomon dedicated the temple. Now think about it: On the day that you dedicated your life to Jesus Christ, God’s Presence came and indwelled you. You became the temple of His Holy Spirit!
This brings us to the final but most important component of the historical, God-pleasing worship of His people. In their sin, neither Israel nor her representatives could approach holy God. Yes, He was present among them, but unless proper atonement was made, there was no communion between man and God. Along with establishing the regulations for where God’s people would worship, God also revealed how they would worship. He required the sacrifice of animals, because, without the blood, there could be no forgiveness of sins.
During the time the Israelites established the tabernacle, the priests were anointed with the blood of a sacrificed ram. They put the blood on the ear lobes of Aaron and his sons. Blood was sprinkled on their garments and on the altar (See Exodus 29:19-21). In this way, God viewed the priests holy and granted them entrance into His Presence to make intercession for the sins of Israel.
Under the New Covenant, we know that Jesus offered Himself for the forgiveness of sins and while He hung on the cross He declared,
“It is finished” (John 19:30).
Child of God, the final blood sacrifice for sin was made, and God accepts nothing more; He is satisfied by the blood of His Son, who was offered as a spotless lamb. Jesus was without sin, but He took the place of our merited death and separation from God as a result of our sin. Therefore, in the same way that the priests of old entered into the Holy of Holies with the proper application of the blood of animals, you go boldly to God’s throne of grace “by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us throughout the curtain, that is, His body…” (Hebrews 10:20).
All of this to say, You are the holy, undefiled temple of God’s Presence. The blood of Jesus consecrated you and made welcome the Holy Spirit the moment you asked Jesus to be Lord of your life.
There is so much more revelation contained in the Word of God concerning your identity as His temple, but like the writer of Hebrews stated, “…we cannot discuss these things in detail now” (Hebrews 9:5). You, however, can dig more into God’s Word and make holy declarations about your position, favor and purpose in life.
Walk It Out Hear God’s Word and put it into practice (Luke 8:21)
Read Hebrews 9 and 10 to compare the earthly tabernacle and your heart’s status as a Child of God.
You Are Spiritually Enlightened (1 Corinthians 2:10-16)
“The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us” (1 Corinthians 2:10-12).
That we may understand what God has freely given us…
To where do you go for understanding? To a friend? To a clinical psychologist? To a pastor? All of these are good, but I have a strong belief that the Child of God must first seek the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, who is your source of wisdom and revelation. Trusting God for revelation should be the believer’s normal mode of operation, because, according to the 1 Corinthian passage above, God has given us insight into His heart.
So, think about it: would you choose to attain wisdom from one who reads star positioning, or from One who positioned the stars and calls them each by name? Seems like an obvious “duh.”
The reason people forsake the wisdom of God is due greatly to their lack of confidence that they hear God.
This is where being a disciple of the written Word of God comes into a place of vital importance. I’ve heard it said that by being a disciplined student of the Bible, you give the Holy Spirit a library from which to pull. That’s a great picture, isn’t it? The Holy Spirit will back His voice with scriptural truth. It happens to me every time!
I recently endured a season of prolonged pain deep in the calf muscle. I assumed it was an injury and waited for it to heal; however, the relentless discomfort began to plague my thoughts with the threat of a recurrent blood clot. I remember the day I went bike riding and realized I should be running if not for the physical limitation. I asked the Father in heaven for wisdom. If I needed to go to the hospital and have a doppler test done on the vein, then I would go; but if such a test would be a waste of time, make it clear to me, I said.
This is an example of the point made above: go first to the Counselor who knows all things.
On the same day that I asked God for wisdom, I happened to be at the same spot where I prayed earlier, and I was flipping through some scripture cards I kept in my purse. (These were “weapons” that focused my mind and heart in the fight to keep the faith during an intense battle.) When I got to the card that listed Psalm 16:9, I knew I received the answer to my prayer earlier that day.
“Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure…”
At that moment I told the Lord, “Okay. I’m going with Your Word! You are speaking peace to me about the pain, and I’m not going to the hospital to get a test.”
You have the mind of Christ.
Child of God, God clearly identifies you as being spiritually enlightened. In fact, you have the mind of Christ (See 1 Corinthians 2:16)! When you study the Gospels, you see Christ in perfect confidence that He was where He was supposed to be; He was doing what He was supposed to be doing, and He spoke what He was supposed to speak. Through His communion with the Father in prayer, Jesus lived everyday in the flow of heavenly wisdom, and you can too!
Walk It Out Hear God’s Word and put it into practice (Luke 8:21).
Make a decision today to prioritize the wisdom of God in every matter that concerns you. Through the avenue of prayer, commune with God the Father and make known that you intend to abide in the perfect peace of the mind of Christ.
You Are Strong (1 Corinthians 1:8)
You caved to pressure.
You gave in to your cravings.
You let addiction win.
You passed by an opportunity to witness.
Perhaps you respond with greater motivation to be strong the next time, or maybe you respond with a sense of hopelessness.
Be encouraged! The strength you need is not based on personal merit. God puts it all on Himself!
“He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God, who has called you into fellowship with His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful” (1 Corinthians 1:8-9).
Oh, how I could have benefited from this truth that time I chose to put confidence in self! Not even twenty-four hours passed before I was humbled and confessing my need of His strength! That’s what a vow to not take offense and a bag of bagels will do to you…
I stopped at the grocery on my way home from an evening church service. Mind you, I had just participated in a corporate vow to not get offended. With all the other attendees, I raised my right hand and repeated the words of the guest speaker. Honestly, I thought to myself how easy it was going to be to keep the vow for the next thirty days. I’m a hard one to anger.
I saw the cashier rip the bag of bagels as she moved them from the grocery cart to the scanner. She then asked innocently, “Do you want to go get a new bag? These are ripped open.” For some reason (actually, a known reason- I had just taken a vow!!!), I found myself instantly upset and murmuring the whole way to the bread department and back. I wrestled between thoughts of “It’s no big deal” and “Why am I the one to replace the bag of bagels?” My final moments with the cashier were not pleasant. Sure, I tried to hide my anger, but did I succeed?
The next morning I could not focus during my devotional time. I kept hearing taunts of failure. The enemy was mocking me, and I was beating myself up over it. I finally wised up to the scheme and made an audible confession: I did fail to keep the vow, but my God will never fail me!
You know what happened in that moment? I exited the past and stepped into the future. Lesson learned. I don’t have the innate faithfulness to be strong. I must rely on the One who makes me strong and who promises to be faithful.
Why does God keep you strong? So you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. If you, like me, have knowledge of a long list of personal failures, know that God erases them from His record when we put our faith in the sin-cleansing blood of Jesus. That was the past. What is before you now is your focus. Child of God, He declares you strong! So when you’re pressured to compromise your conviction, God will keep you strong! When you want to cave to unhealthy cravings, God reminds you He is your strength! When the addiction threatens to overcome you, know that God does not fail you! When fear threatens to hold you hostage, God will make rise a holy boldness within you!
Walk It Out Hear God’s Word and put it into practice (Luke 8:21).
Exit your past and step into your future by bringing your record of failure to the knowledge of Christ and the forgiveness He offers. Declare that you will trust in God’s faithfulness to keep you strong so that you will be blameless on the day of the Lord’s return.
You Are Clothed With Christ (Romans 13:14)
“So let us put aside the deeds of darkness… Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealously” (Romans 13:12-13).
And what exactly do you put on? The armor of light.
Your walking out faith requires you to put off the old and put on the new. The old self, according to Ephesians 4, “is being corrupted by its deceitful desires.” So Paul writes that there should be no more lying, acting out in anger, stealing, crude joking, ignoring the Holy Spirit, bitterness, rage, brawling and slander (See Ephesians 4:22- 31).
When you choose to depart from the old, God begins a work that involves the renewing of your mind. Understanding you are not who you used to be, you realize “the clothes” you once wore are no longer a suitable fit. You “put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:24).
“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord” (Ephesians 5:8-10).
Child of God, because you are clothed with Christ, you are gloriously arrayed! You “have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator… Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity” (Colossians 3:10, 12-14).
Walk It Out Hear God’s Word and put it into practice (Luke 8:21).
Say to yourself, “I have been given fullness in Christ (Colossians 2:10), and I am clothed with Christ.” Identify an attitude or behavior that you put off but continue to struggle with weakness in that area. For ten days, keep a written record of progress you make as you face each day with the knowledge that you are clothed with Christ.
What if you had been in the midst of the chaos that reigned throughout Paris Friday night? Do you think about that? What would you have done? What would have been your thoughts?
In the unpredictable world that we live in, I believe we are wise to consider the core of our beliefs. We need to have a personal understanding of the essence of life. Some look for it and discover truth in a crisis. I’m asking that you think ahead. Know in advance who you are, where you came from and where you’re going. Times of crisis demand total focus and life ambitions quickly narrow to one pursuit: survival.
I discovered a pattern in scripture with a pinnacle truth to help you. Recorded in the Old Testament is a detailed story of a father and his beloved Son, Joseph. The father, Jacob, was prepared to live out his remaining days in deep grief. You see, he believed for years that Joseph had been killed by a wild animal. The actual account of Joseph’s disappearance reveals the twisted hearts of his jealous siblings: they sold him into slavery and fabricated the story of having found a bloodied remnant of his cloak.
Crisis brought Joseph’s brothers to Egypt where, unbeknownst to them, their sold sibling ruled as second-in-command to Pharaoh. The brothers bowed before the man they believed to be an Egyptian and the source of grain that they desperately needed to purchase. Joseph eventually revealed himself to his brothers and they were asked to go back to Canaan and retrieve their father.
“Jacob was stunned; he did not believe them. But when they told him everything Joseph had said to them, and when he saw the carts Joseph had sent to carry him back, the spirit of their father Jacob revived. And Israel [Jacob] said, ‘I am convinced! My son Joseph is still alive'” (Genesis 45:26-28, emphasis added).
Let’s relate this scenario to crises that we face: when death and sorrow are before us, may we also have cause for a revival of the spirit.
The apostle Paul penned beautiful words of hope that seem to parallel the Old Testament highlights above. He said, “If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all- how will he not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things… Jesus Christ who died- more than that, who was raised to life– is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us” (Romans 8:31, 34).
In the same way that Jacob was revived by the news of his son’s “resurrection,” so we are blessed by the resurrection of Jesus! Allow the quickening of your spirit to stir you because this is revival truth: Jesus died for you so that you may have life. Now get this: Jesus is alive again and is talking to God about you and me. He is interceding for us. In the same way that Joseph stood in the gap and spared his family from death caused by famine, Jesus stands in the gap and spares us from eternal death- separation from God because of our sin. In essence, Jesus tells the Father, “My blood made payment for the sin of Renee. Her debt in paid in full.”
Where is your heart in response to this good news? Like Jacob who was revived in spirit, may you also proclaim, “I am convinced!”
I am convinced. Friend, it is my desire that when you face a crisis, deep in your heart you will have an “I am convinced” belief. Although hell unleashes its fury before your eyes, you remain steadfast. Sound impossible?
Soak in Paul’s “I am convinced” declaration that concludes his words about Jesus’ death and resurrection.
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us front the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).
Does that really work, you ask? Yes! Being rooted by the love of God that is in Christ Jesus is the assurance needed when facing a crisis. Tested and proven over and over throughout the millennia- the unshakeable love of God that is in Christ Jesus.
I am convinced.