Tuesday, August 25

the purpose of the temple

I was listening to "You Found Me" by The Fray. It starts out,

I found God on the corner of 1st and Amistad
Where the West was all but won.
All alone, smoking His last cigarette.
I said, "Where you been?", and He said "Ask anything."
I've thought about this song a lot, because I really like it and because it asks a question that I'm sure lots of us have asked more than once of the Lord. And it doesn't close with a warm fuzzy "I wondered where you were, but now that I found my life is problem-free". The chorus goes,

Lost and insecure, You found me, you found me
Lying on the floor, surrounded, surrounded
Why'd You have to wait? Where were You? Where were You?
Just a little late, You found me.

And that's how I've felt in the past (not so much anymore, thankfully). I've wondered what took Him "so long" in my cracked and flawed view.. and just knowing that He was there didn't make the questions of "Why?" stop. (See last July's emotional state.)

Yesterday I was listening to that song again and one line stuck with me ("all alone, smoking His last cigarette"). I remember growing up in Florida and hearing various places that you shouldn't smoke, or drink or do things that are bad for your body, because it's God's temple and God's temple should be kept clean. I heard that you should not eat fast food or skip the exercising because God's temple needs to be kept in tip-top shape. I still hear things like that occasionally.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (New Living Translation)

19 Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, 20 for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.

I think somehow we've missed the point of this verse. It's great to avoid drinking too much and smoking, to bathe and eat your vegetables, to run and avoid greasy, artery-clogging psuedo-food. But is that really what Paul was talking about? I don't believe that for a second.

What was the purpose of the Temple? Of any worship building? Is its purpose to be kept clean and shiny and ornate, with only the highest quality materials inside? No, though sometimes it seems that way when you walk into a church. It's great to have an attractive building, one that is aesthetically pleasing and makes you feel at ease when you enter. But the purpose of the Temple--of any modern-day church--is the worship of God. Our bodies are no different.

It's great to take care of the body God has given you. But we should be careful not to get caught up in the exercise, diet, and appearance aspects. Our bodies are first and foremost temples of the Holy Spirit, bought with a heavy price, made to worship God. So let's worship Him and forget the rest of it.

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