“I appeal to you, therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” – Romans 12:1
When we think about temples, we often think of grand and ornate structures made of sparkling stone or polished marble. Although every temple may have different designs and patterns, they are all beautiful and built for the same purpose. Throughout the Old Testament, the temple served as a place of worship for the Israelites. It was also where they offered sacrifices, worshiped, and prayed to God.
However, Jesus eliminated the need for a single-location temple when He came. And so, in this dispensation, temples are no longer physical structures in a particular geographic location. Yes! God no longer dwells in a place, building, tent, etc. He does not reside in a house built with bricks and cement. But He lives in a temple made with blood and water, and you are that temple. What’s more, just as each physical temple is different, you are different from everyone else, and you are a dwelling place for the Spirit of God – the Holy Ghost.
In 1 Corinthians 3:16-17, the Apostle Paul writes, “Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are.” What a hard-hitting statement! We are not just any temple but the temple of God. This is a striking reminder that apart from being physical beings, we are also spiritual beings. So, it is either your entire being – body, soul, and spirit – belongs to God or doesn’t. You can’t sit on the fence regarding matters of the Kingdom.
One might question: Why would God care about my body? It’s sinful, unappealing, obese or underweight, saggy, diseased, restless, insecure, and fatigued. What kind of temple is that? I’m not up to God’s standard. In God’s word, the body is not significant because of how it looks but because of how it acts (1 Samuel 16:10).
Sculptured for God’s glory
God doesn’t want our bodies because He wants models for Vogue or GQ. He requires our bodies because He wants models for His glory (Isaiah 43:7). In his book Cleansing the Holy Place, Francis Frangipane stated, “Within every Christian, there’s a sanctuary that we must prepare for the Lord. You are that Sanctuary… Not until this place is clean will the Lord dwell in us in the fullness of His Spirit.” Unfortunately, the devil wants to keep God’s people tethered to sin, and if we remain in this bondage, God cannot dwell within us.
Many people find themselves high and dry, stuck in a cycle of self-destructive behaviors. These are behaviors that pose a threat to us. According to research, self-destructive behaviors frequently occur in those with and without a mental health diagnosis. Anybody, regardless of age, can experience it. Likewise, one self-destructive behavior can increase the likelihood of developing another. Obvious forms of self-destructive behavior include alcohol, drug/substance use, suicidal attempts, and sexual sins such as fornication, adultery, homosexuality, pornography, and masturbation.
Would you be comfortable staying in a damp, messy, polluted environment with pests and rodents crawling around? No one would! So it is with God. The various sinful activities we engage in make our temple an eyesore, and He cannot dwell in such a neglected and unkempt environment.
Moreover, neglecting our bodies can have negative consequences not only for our physical health but also for our spiritual well-being. Besides, when we neglect our bodies or engage in sinful and destructive behaviors, we are not only harming ourselves but also destroying the temple of God. And as 1 Corinthians 3:17 states, if we destroy the temple of God, we will be held accountable. It is our responsibility to keep our temple clean and presentable for God’s presence to comfortably dwell in us. Therefore, just as we would treat a physical temple with honor and respect, we should also treat our bodies in high regard and present them as holy.
When it comes to holding God’s temple in high regard, here are a few things to consider:
- See Your Body as a Gift
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”
– Psalm 139:14
The enemy of our souls, the devil, is always looking for ways to distract us from our God-given purpose. But we mustn’t let him succeed! One of his favorite tactics is to use the pleasures of the world and sinful desires to keep us from using our bodies to glorify God. For this reason, most people use their bodies for all sorts of immoral acts. Yet, most of them fail to realize that those pleasures are temporary and are one of the devil’s tricks to dominate their bodies.
But we can overcome these distractions! We can stand firm in our calling and boldly proclaim the truth of God’s Word, no matter what the devil throws our way. Do not be swayed by the lies of the enemy. Let us instead choose to see ourselves as God sees us – valuable, cherished, and beautiful in His sight. And let us use our bodies as instruments of righteousness, spreading God’s love and grace to all we encounter.
- You Have a Stewardship Role to Play
“Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot? Certainly not!”
– 1 Corinthians 6:15
In Romans 12:1-2, Paul urges us to present our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God. This means we should use our bodies to serve God by serving others, sharing the gospel, and doing good works. When we honor God with our bodies, we demonstrate the value of the temple of God, please Him, and set an example for others to tag along.
- Guard your Heart and Mind
“Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.”
– Proverbs 4:23
Our minds and hearts are also part of our body which is God’s temple. The thoughts we think and the things we dwell on can either build up or tear down our spiritual health.
Guarding our hearts can be done by studying God’s word, spending time in prayer, and surrounding ourselves with positive influences.
- Remember the Importance of Community
“Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all.”
– 1 Thessalonians 5:14
We were not meant to trudge the Christian journey alone. God has given us the gift of community among the household of faith so that we can encourage and build each other up. When we surround ourselves with other believers, we’re better able to hold each other accountable and remind each other of the importance of keeping God’s temple holy. We can also support one another through the struggles and challenges that come with it.
Holding God’s temple in high regard is not just a physical practice but a spiritual one as well. When we honor God with our bodies, guard our hearts and minds, treat others with love and respect, seek forgiveness and restoration, and remember the importance of community, we build up the spiritual temple God entrusted us with. Thus, let us all strive to be good stewards of God’s temple so that we would be pleasing and acceptable to Him.