As I was driving her to church Sunday night, I drove through Wendys to get her a quick bite to eat. She had hardly eaten anything all day and said she was starving, which prompted her to order a Double Baconator Combo – you know, the hamburger with two thick patties, 6 strips of bacon, cheese and everything else, plus greasy fries and a large drink.
I tried to convince her to get something else, but she reminded me that she was “starving!”, and promised to eat it all. Now Morgan has always been small and petite, with a perfect figure, but I warned her that if she kept eating like that, it would eventually catch up with her as far as weight is concerned, plus it was very, very unhealthy. Then the conversation took an interesting twist.
Since I have been studying Leviticus in my daily bible reading, which focuses on the building of Gods Temple by the Israelites after they had left Egypt and were in Mt Sinai, I apparently had “temple on the brain” symdrome.
I mentioned to Morgan that she should remember that her body was Gods temple and that she should take care of it, and part of taking care of it, was eating healthy. She replied by saying (through her facial expression of utter confusion), “are you trying to tell me that eating this hamburger is a sin?!”.
The conversation went on for several minutes, while I attempted to explain to her how she needs to fill her body with healthy things and consider how she takes care of Gods temple, while at the same, she continued trying to convince me that eating a hamburger was not a sin.
Now trust me, I do not believe that eating a hamburger is a sin!
But after reading so many countless details over the past few weeks about the Tabernacle, I have a new found appreciation for its sacredness. I have a newfound reverence for it, understanding that the Lord actually physically resided in the Temple by virtue of a cloud, and a new appreciation for caring for the Temple.
I read of the thousands of details and countless hours of work that were devoted to building the Tabernacle (the tent-version of the Temple), and the many rules and requirements that God set forth about honoring and caring for the Temple.
I also recognized that God did not take the caring for His Temple lightly – in fact, if someone did not obey His rules, He made sure they paid for it dearly. I am so thankful that we have Jesus now!
And Jesus is exactly my point.
In the New Testament, we are reminded many times about how we are now Gods dwelling place, instead of a tent. We no longer have to worship or pray or converse with God in a specific place, because He lives within us.
1 Corinthians 9:16-17 says “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple.”
At first glance, that verse implies an overwhelming responsibility. Understanding that we truly are Gods temple, and that we are the only ones who can take care of it, and that He has commanded us to do so, can be a little intimidating.
But thank goodness for us, caring for a Temple is not near as hard as it used to be for the Israelites. We do not have to live in fear that we will mess up, because Jesus is here to give us grace. But lets think about how we can care for ourselves, Gods Temple,in modern terms:
– The original Temple had walls, although made of cloth. But their purpose was to protect the holy contents that were inside. In the same way, we also have to be on guard against anything that would harm the truth and love in us. We have to choose to guard and protect what we put into our hearts and minds, and keep our faith strong and upright.
– A lot of cleaning took place in the Temple, and we need to keep our Temples clean as well, through purity of heart, by making choices that would please God and by steering clear of sin and temptations to do things that we know are not pleasing to God. Through this cleanliness, we can live life in such a way that other people wonder what we have in our Temple that is so holy and wonderful.
– The Temple was built for worshipping – God calls us into worship every day. Taking care of our Temples involves spending time with Him and in His Word, knowing that He is available to talk to us every day, any place, any time, since He resides within us.
– The Lord spoke in the Temple, sometimes just to Moses, sometimes to many, but His voice was heard. The Lord is still speaking to us, in our hearts, and in may different ways, but taking care of our Temples requires actively listening for His voice, expecting to hear it, and obeying the commands that we hear.
Most of us would probably admit, myself included, that maybe we dont always take the best care of our temples – our bodies, our hearts, our minds. How easy it is to forget that we are the Lords holy dwelling place.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says “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; 20you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.”
That is a powerful statement – “honor God with your body”.
So how we do that? Does that mean never eat another hamburger or doughnut? Of course not! God does not expect to have perfect bodies, sleek figures, or infallible eating habits. He is not concerned with what we wear, what color our hair is, or how many wrinkles we have.
1 Samuel 16:7 says, “Then the LORD said to Samuel, Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
God cares more about what is inside our Temples, than what it looks like on the outside, but I think He also calls us to remember that sometimes our outside choices, affect what is getting inside our hearts, minds and bodies.
We are called to take care of Gods Temple in every way, through healthy eating and exercise,through modesty, through purity of thoughts and actions, through what we watch on television, through the activities that we engage in, through the friends that we choose to hang out with, and through the decisions that we make every day of our life.
Out of curiosity, I looked up the nutritional content (I use the word ‘nutritional’ lightly) just to see what damage could be done through eating a Double Baconator Combo. The results showed a whopping 1590 calories, 79 grams of fat, 2640 milligrams of sodium. If you ask me, that sounds a little sinful – guess that is why it is so delicious, tempting and satisying! Sometimes the things that seem great, are exactly the things that take our eyes off of the Temple.
I think I will head out to Subway now, and get a salad. Smiles.
PS Just for the record, Morgan could not eat the whole thing – thank goodness that was just too much food for one little belly.