It’s Time To Clean The Temple
All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. Foods for the stomach and the stomach for foods, but God will destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And God both raised up the Lord and will also raise us up by His power.
(1 Corinthians 6:12-14)
Paul had a big job on his hands. He had to go to the church in Corinth and set them straight. It was reported to him that the believers in the church were committing immorality and taking advantage of their freedom they received from Christ. Their view was distorted and because of it, they were deep in the sin of immoral behavior, especially sexual immorality.
This doesn’t seem too different from today. We are allowed freedom and tend to take advantage of that freedom, pushing the boundary line to where we want it. It may not be something as heavy as sexual immorality, but we push the boundary lines in other ways as well. The speed limit is 55, we go 60. The line at the checkout says 20 items or less, we throw on 25 items. We know the food we love so much isn’t good for us but we eat more of it because it tastes so good. We have the freedom of speech but we use it to destroy others. We are given a management position yet we fail to be obedient to our authority figures. God sets boundaries for our own safety, but we always seem to want to push the boundary lines just a little further to please our flesh. Why is it so hard for us to stay within the lines? I remember when I was a child and I used to color in coloring books. I would try hard to stay within the lines so my picture would look good, but soon my flesh took over and I became impatient and would color faster just to get the coloring done sooner. The end result? A messy picture that had different colors outside the lines. I lacked the self-control to continue being patient so I could stay within the lines and produce a well colored picture.
When we lack self-control, we allow impatience and the lack of respect for ourselves and sometimes others, to give way to our fleshly desires. Soon we push the boundary lines God has set for us and we wind up in disobedience and sin. In 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 we are told that our bodies are a temple of the Lord:
“Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
If you were to walk into a church to worship God, but when you walked it you saw it desecrated, dirty and in disarray, would you want to stay there? If you walked into someone’s house and saw it a complete disaster with scratches on the walls, food and trash everywhere, dishes still in the sink and on the table from the night before, would you want to visit there? Would you enjoy being in your own home if it were a mess on a daily basis and there was fighting constantly going on? I’m pretty sure the answer is no. The same goes for our bodies. Our body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is within us yet we desecrate ourselves every day, making it an uninhabitable place to live in. So much so that we don’t even like ourselves at times. We commit sexual immorality, we entertain poisonous thoughts that allow in anger, bitterness and cursing, we allow ourselves to regularly indulge in foods and drinks that ruin the inside of our bodies and more. Some even make a habit of cutting the outside of themselves because they feel they deserve it. The problem is we not only fail to see the value of the Holy Spirit living within us, but we fail to see the value of ourselves…the very people Christ died for. We lack respect for God and for ourselves.
We may be free to do many things, but not all those things are good for us. Many of those choices lead to consequences. A promiscuous lifestyle may lead to a sexually transmitted disease or AIDS. Addiction to drugs and alcohol may lead to the loss of one’s family and home, jail or an early death. Abusing food may lead to an unhealthy weight gain and a number of health issues. An anger problem can lead to many unhealthy and dangerous explosions causing both verbal and physical abuse. All of these things stem from emotional issues, past situations or current situations we find difficult to face and get past. It is from a lack of self-control. Instead, we turn to things that soothe our flesh temporarily, making us feel better for the moment, only to have those thoughts and emotions return shortly after and send us through the cycle again.
If Christ died for us so we can be saved, that means He found value in us. His dying for us on the cross is the truest form of love we will ever experience. No other form of love can compare to it. It’s an unconditional love. So, if He loved us that much and found value in us, then we must value ourselves in the same respect. This means we must apply Romans 12:2 in renewing our minds and change our way of thinking about ourselves. We must work on cleaning up the inside of ourselves first and then the outside will be clean:
“Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also.” (Matthew 23:26)
“But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.” (Matthew 15:18-20)
In this world, people may not value you, But Jesus does. You would not have been created if you were not wanted. It’s time to see your value and make a habitable home within yourself for the Holy Spirit to dwell and for you to enjoy. It’s time to recognize how powerful and glorious God is and turn to Him for help in cleaning up the temple within. It may seem impossible to do after all you’ve been through, but remember what Jesus says in Matthew 19:26:
But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
There isn’t any chain Jesus can’t break. There isn’t any wound He can’t heal. It states in Isaiah 61:1:
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound”
Also in Psalm 147:3 it states:
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
We all need help when it comes to cleaning up. When my daughter was small and her room was a mess, it was overwhelming for her to deal with. She would ask me for help and I would simply sit there and guide her through it telling her that if she looks at the mess as a whole, it will become overwhelming. But when she works at it piece by piece, it won’t be so overwhelming and soon the mess will be gone. She had to learn that if she made the mess, she had to be responsible to clean it up, but that didn’t mean that she couldn’t have support during the cleaning process. Many times, all we need is someone to sit with us and guide us through the process, while we work at it one piece at a time until we are cleaned up. We need someone to encourage us along the way, giving us support. Though it’s important to find someone who can help you along the way, Jesus must be your number one support to go to. Though others may fail us, He never will.
Don’t let another day go by allowing the temple within you to remain dirty. Ask Jesus to help you clean it up one piece at a time and watch the transformation begin!