The Temple of the Living God
Open Your Bible
1 Corinthians 3:9-17, 2 Corinthians 6:16-18, John 4:20-24, 1 Chronicles 29:2, 1 Peter 2:4-5, Ephesians 2:19-22
The people of God are the temple of God; His presence is active in the Church.
I daydream about real estate. While others might be prone to scroll Instagram, “window-shop” online, or have wanderlust—I find myself pulling up Zillow, just for fun. I search for real estate in remote parts of the country as well as on my own street. I slide through listing photos, imagining life within four different walls, as if somewhere out there, there’s a better place for me, some home where I’ll finally have real peace. And of course, a view. But in my soul, I know I’ll never find what I’m looking for out there. The building where I live is far less important than what’s being built inside of me.
God dwells in holy places. From the ark of the covenant, too precious for human hands to touch, to Solomon’s temple in all of its splendor, God chooses spectacular places to display His glory. But when Jesus came to earth, He did so to change the zip code of God’s powerful Spirit. No longer would we have to go somewhere else to find God. Thanks to Jesus’s work on the cross, God can now build something beautiful, holy and sacred right within me.
In 1 Corinthians 3, Paul begs Christians to remember this truth: “Don’t you yourselves know you are God’s temple and the Spirit of God lives in you?” (v.16). Unfortunately, when I was a child, these verses in Scripture were all too often weaponized as a message of shame, intended to wag a finger in my face and remind me to remain sexually abstinent. At the very heart, this message from Paul isn’t about rules, but about a powerful, holy relationship. Being a temple of the Lord isn’t about what I do, but about what God is already doing in me.
PAUSE FOR A MOMENT, and think about that. God could have chosen any house, and He chose to live with me, in me, and through me. In a way, it’s as if God looked through all of Zillow, through all time, found my listing—with my broken spirit and my jealous impulses and my numb, unfeeling heart—and said, “I’ll take that house, thank you very much.”
The good news is that God is a master renovator. He refuses to leave my heart the way He found it. Just like any good house, it only feels like home once you’ve put your personal touch on every wall. The Architect of the Universe knows what walls to tear down. He paints the walls of my soul with His peace, compassion, tenderness, and kindness. When I embrace the power that lives inside me, I can live in response to the Spirit’s heartbeat rather than my own impulses.
Construction is messy and we are all unfinished. But the good news—perhaps the best news—is that God promises to finish everything He starts (Philippians 1:6). And He’ll live here with me, in the mess, at work until that day comes.