Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
As a teen, I remember reading these verses and feeling guilty about the sexual sins I had committed. All I could think about was how I had trashed God’s temple and that He must be very ashamed of me.
But I do the same thing with God that I do with other people, I project onto Him my own feelings, which are ever changing and many times not based on the truth. But scripture makes it clear, God does not change and He cannot lie, so projecting onto Him the shame I feel is totally inaccurate.
So what exactly should I understand when I read these verses? Should I think about all the times I’ve misused God’s temple and continue to heep shame upon myself, or should I think about what it really means to be God’s temple?
The very fact that God lives inside of me is something that I struggle to comprehend. I look in the mirror and the last thing I imagine is something beautiful and pure that God would choose to live in. Many times memories of the things I’ve done flash into my mind and I look at myself and wonder why anyone would want to live inside a place where all that has gone on. I especially think of the times that even as a Christian I have failed to honor God with my body, and it’s almost more than I can bear.
My husband and I started out our marriage in a small mobile home dreaming of the day we’d build our dream home. He is multi-talented and very creative. He drew up plans on our tiny kitchen table of the house we wanted to build, and a few years later that dream became a reality. When the house was finally completed the pride we felt was overwhelming. It was beautiful and perfect in our eyes, and best of all it was ours. We wanted to show it off to everyone.
I’m amazed by the thought that God would consider me His dwelling place. That He says I’m beautiful and perfect and wants to show off His glory through me to everyone. How can that be when I’ve brought damage to His temple through sin? I’m surprised he doesn’t take one look at me and call in the demolition crew. I can almost see the strip of tape across my doorway that reads, Do not enter. Condemned.
But Jesus made it clear He didn’t come to condemn us but to save us. He came to live in us forever and not to leave us alone. He came to rescue us from the kingdom of darkness and bring us into the kingdom of light. We are no longer slaves of sin, but children of God. And He calls us His Beloved.
Of course God wants us to treat our bodies well and honor Him through them, but it’s impossible to live this out until we really understand what it means to be His temple.
The memories that haunt my mind and fill me with shame are not from Him. They are a part of a broken mind that God is healing. They are also lies that our enemies whisper to me when I’m weak and susceptible to listening. God never brings up the past to bring me shame. That would not be possible, because God says He doesn’t even remember.
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
When God looks at us He sees only His temple- washed, sanctified and justified (clean, holy, and sinless) because of Jesus’s death on the cross. The condemned tape across the door has been removed and replaced with one that says paid in full.
And now God lives inside and calls us home.
Even though we sold our first house and moved away, I don’t think there will ever be another house that we will love more than that first one. It was a dream we watched develop that my husband poured his heart, soul, and strength into. It was the place where we watched our kids grow from babies to teens. It was the place where we lived out many joys and sorrows – together. It was also the place that ceased to be a home when abuse broke in and destroyed our trust. After these events took place, I came to hate this beautiful home and even pounded in the walls begging God to let me out of the prison it had become. Even today it’s a difficult to understand how things could change so much.
But thank God when He takes up residence in our lives it is permanent. He is and will always be with us. He lives with us through all of life’s joys and sorrows. And no thief will ever steal this away. He is our forever home. And this knowledge brings me great comfort. I hope it does you, too.
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.