I AM A TEMPLE

 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; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”        

  – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

When you read this verse, what does it make you feel?

I know when I read this verse, up until probably a few months ago or so, it always made me feel like I wasn’t doing good enough. Like I wasn’t keeping my “temple” clean enough for God. I always read it and pictured a big, marble room with huge pillars that was spotlessly clean,and thought, “that’s not how my body is! I’m filthy! I need to do better!”

And then I realized that temple in my head was empty. And I realized God’s temple is never empty.

This post is a warning. It’s a challenge for you to ask yourself what these verses that we quote so often in Christianity (and often for the wrong reasons), make you feel. Do they make you feel shame? Guilt? Do they make you feel like you need to work harder to clean out your temple for God?

Or do they make you realize that the God who has created the earth and everything in it has taken up residence with YOU. Do you read these verses in the context with which you have likely heard them? Or do you read these verses and really READ them.

“Your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit” = God lives in you. And because He’s in you, you can do everything He asks of you through Him. One of the best parts of being a Christian is living with God in control. It should be comforting to know that the Designer is the one leading and guiding His design. Life before Christ is like getting into an Abrams tank because you drove one in Call of Duty. You might have some fun, and there might be some explosions, but in the end all you’re going to do is wreck stuff. He knows you better than you do. He knows what you’re capable of, and He wants to teach you how to use every part of His design. Listen to Him and let Him teach you.

“You were bought at a price.” = You’re worth something. And in this case, something is EVERYTHING. Something is a live lived in perfection. The Designer loves His design so much that He decided He’d pay with His own blood in order to get it back for eternity. He already knows you, and He wants you to get to know Him. He doesn’t want you to say, “He bought me, I better be a good person and follow the ten commandments and do stuff for Him like go on a short-term mission trip.” He wants you to say, “THAT’S what I’m worth?!” He wants you to realize how highly He thinks of you. He wants you to realize that He paid the ultimate price for something incredibly broken, and He wants you to realize that He sees what you can look like when you’re fixed. He didn’t buy you so He could have another worker. He bought you so He could work.

“You are not your own.” The context of this verse is Paul talking about sexual immorality. I think that’s why people tend to get legalistic with this verse. But look at verse 15. Paul calls our bodies “members of Christ.” He isn’t telling us to not sin. He’s telling us to let Christ have control, because there is no sin in Christ. With Christ in control, sexual immorality, or any other sin, isn’t even a consideration. Remember, condemnation says, “You lied, you’re a liar.” Conviction says, “You’re way too awesome to be doing that.” Condemnation calls out our brokenness. Conviction reminds us of His repair.

“But whoever is united in the Lord is one with Him in spirit.”   – 1 Corinthians 6:17

IF YOU LOVE GOD. . . (The dangers of an ultimatum)

“If I speak in tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.”  – 1 Corinthians 13:1-2

“Love is not premeditated – it is spontaneous.” – Oswald Chambers

We often find ourselves preaching about discipline, or denial, or tasks. We often find ourselves using the phrase “we should be doing these things out of our love for God,” yet often find ourselves condemning those unwilling to complete those tasks.

My question is what if those tasks aren’t completed because the person tasked with them knows they aren’t doing them out of love? What if the one tasked is simply  listening to what we’re saying? Do we give them an ultimatum to “do better or else?” Or do we tell them to seek God first?

I fear the answer is too often an ultimatum. I fear too often we give a “do it or lose us’ response. I fear we often respond with the guilt trip, rather than giving them a reason to love God to the point of obedience. I fear we aren’t really  listening to our own advice.

In our inconsistency and the inconsistency of others, especially in those we disciple, we should be avoiding the ultamatum at all costs, and should begin recognizing the problem at it’s heart. We must recognize the lack of love.

In our failed goals and failed attempts at showing our godliness and love for God out of task completion, we must examine ourselves and our peers, and ask ourselves: are we completing these tasks out of a longing to love God, and know Him better because of that love? Or are we completing these tasks because we’ve been told that if we don’t, we don’t love God?

“If you love me, keep my commands.” – John 14:15

This verse can sound very legalistic to us. It brings with it a tone of salvation to be earned. Yet to truly understand, we must change the language. What if the “if” in this verse was a “because?”

This verse is not about legalism, but rather the end result. It is about the fruit that pours out when we love our God, not the things we do to prove that we love Him. It is about what happens when we embrace Him and deny us – which is true love! And through that true love, we long to serve the one we love. It is not “if” we love Him, but “because” we love Him that we will do His will and obey His commands. It is not task completion that earns His love, but rather His love that leads to our obedience.

As Romans 6:11 says, we shall consider ourselves dead to sin and alive to Him, and in Him there is no legalism – only love.

Obedience is rooted in love. Love is not rooted in obedience.