ONE SPIRIT, JOINED WITH HIM
Today's Scripture: “Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him. For God's temple is holy, and you are that temple.” 1 Corinthians 3:16-17, ESV
Theme: Individually, we are God’s temple, holy and sanctified; God dwells with us. Honor and care for your mind, heart, soul, and body.
Sending my kids off to college was the most difficult parenting phase I’ve faced so far. The worry about not having them under my roof where I can lay my eyes on them to confirm they are okay…physically, emotionally, and spiritually…is still sometimes consuming. I distinctly remember a conversation I had with my daughter as a college sophomore, her independence settling in and the journey of becoming her own person well underway. I told her how much I worried about the outside influences of college life: the prevalent availability of drugs, alcohol, and other temptations that I could shield her from at home. Her response to me was more mature and introspective than I could have imagined, and I’ve never forgotten it. She told me it’s always easy to spot the “biggies” -those things you know are not good, healthy, or safe. You can see them coming from a mile away and shut the door to your mind and heart.
The real concern should be for the things that are less obvious or, even worse, disguised as good. Destruction and temptation can come from things like unhealthy relationships, overwhelming anxiety and depression, self-image issues, eating disorders, or habits that cause you to slowly drift away from God. Rather than seeing them clearly, we may unknowingly leave the door cracked, allowing them to slowly seep in, where they then gain a stronghold in our lives before we even know they’re there.
Today’s scripture reminds us we are God’s temple…holy, sacred and set apart to be used by God. Therefore, we need to be protective of what we allow in. If I am charged with protecting a physical space or dwelling (my home, for example), I take habitual precautions to ensure that only the people and things I welcome can come in. I am on guard. I cover the basics like locking doors, arming the security system, or watching for unusual activity in the area. In the event of an imminent threat to who or what I am protecting, you bet I would go on the offensive, actively and fiercely opposing the threat, in defense of what is important to me. In the same way, I should protect my mind, heart and body because God dwells in me, and He has made me worthy. My best defenses must be habitual: prayer, worship, reading the Word, and fellowship with other believers, which all help me stay strong in my faith.
When we accept Christ, the Holy Spirit lives in us and becomes part of us. I don’t know about you, but when I consider that God is living in me, I feel much more discerning about how I’m caring for and “feeding” myself and Him. Just because I’ve shut the door to the “biggies” and feel like I’ve gotten the Ten Commandments down, is that enough? Have I left a window open, allowing other sin to infiltrate my life? You know, the “little” ones we don’t like to think of as sin because it suits us: selfishness, greed, lust, pride, anger, wrath, gossip, gluttony, or laziness. Am I as fiercely protective of my mind, heart, soul and body as I should be, knowing that God is within me? Or do I treat myself like the city dump all week long, then just hang a Christmas tree air freshener when I go to church on Sunday?
Make It Personal: What changes would you make in your life—today—if you measured each choice by considering what you’re feeding your spirit? What are you exposing the Holy Spirit to? Would you read, watch, or listen to different material to protect your mind and heart? If your body is a temple, you can honor God by treating it as the miracle He created. Healthy choices about diet and exercise are a good first step. Do you need to re-evaluate where you spend your time? Are you always out of time and “unable” to attend a weekend service, a small group, or a volunteer event? If so, re-prioritize where you’re spending your energy and create more balance between your work and spiritual life.
Pray: God, I know I haven’t honored You in all the ways I should. I feel it when my life is out of balance, and You are not the center. It’s difficult for me to see clearly at times, but I know You can reveal the areas in my life that need change. Please give me the ability to discern the things that might not be obviously destructive and the discipline to defend myself against them. I want to honor You in all I do. Amen.
Read: Romans 12:1-2; 1 Corinthians 6:12-20; Ephesians 6:10-18
Weekly Memory Verse: “But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.” Hebrews 9:11-12, ESV