Monday, July 31

Temple of the Holy Spirit

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; --1st Corinthians 16:9

The first question of the Heidelberg catechism asks "What is my only comfort in life and death?" The answer to which is "that I am not my own but belong to Jesus..." I have thought about how 1st Corinthians 16:9 applies to this statement, and I have discovered that there is much to be considered within this portion of the apostle Paul's letter to the Corinthians.

What does it mean to think of the body as a temple? What should a temple befitting the Holy Spirit, who is in us, look like? Does it need to be ornate? No. Does it need to be attention-grabbing? Again, no. Rather, it should be noticeably set apart for the purpose of worship; a place to commune with God in an attitude of humility and reverence.

What does this mean on a practical level? The first thing that comes to mind is what Jesus said was the greatest commandments, which is to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. Additionally, we are commanded to love our neighbors as ourselves. To put this into practice, we must ensure that our actions are praiseworthy and point to God as the influence behind everything we do.

In the context of Chapter 6 in its entirety, understanding that our body is a temple means that we should honor God with our bodies. As I already said, the temple is not only a place of worship, but a place to commune with God. Because I am married, how I treat and display my body as a temple of the Holy Spirit means something different than it would to someone who isn't married. For me, this means that I not only honor God with my body, but my husband as well, who is representative of Christ's headship in our marriage.

Treating our bodies as God's temple no only encompasses modesty and propriety, but it also includes how we behave, our attitudes, and the activities in which we choose to engage. It involves taking care of our bodies by living a healthful lifestyle. Self-abuse, alcoholism, drug addition, sexual perversion, even over-eating, are behaviors that are inconsistent with the mindset of a person who recognizes the body as the temple of the Holy Spirit. Because we are not our own, these behaviors cheapen and defame what God has done in us by forgiving our sins.

Each of us has been bought at a price--a great price! We are of immeasurable value, but this is not because of anything we have earned. Our value lies in who we are in Christ, and it is there that we find our greatest comfort in life and death.

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