“Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.” – 1 Corinthians 3:16-17
These two verses humbled to a new low. “You are the temple of God.” I’ve had the opportunity to travel around the world and visit at least a dozen different churches, temples and cathedrals. Some were grand and filled with spectacular details; others were ancient, worn down by years and lack of care. But that feeling of entering a church was always the same – an awe that humbles and soothes the soul.
But, those temples don’t compare to me – because according to these verses, I am a living and breaking temple of God. And it’s not just a shell of a temple, but a temple where the Spirit of God dwells. It’s astounding.
But a temple, particularly a holy one requires a lot of care and special treatment. God even goes as far as to say that if someone defiles the temple, God will destroy him.
So what does it mean to defile something?
According to Dictionary.com, defile means:
- To make foul, dirty, or unclean; pollute; taint; debase.
- To violate the chastity of.
- To make impure for ceremonial use; Desecrate.
Further more, taint means:
- A trace of something bad, offensive, or harmful.
- A trace of infection, contamination, or the like.
- A trace of dishonor or discredit.
After reading this definition, I started to brainstorm in what ways one can defile a temple, a physical building. You can make holes in, let dust collect, paint it, strip it down, perform unethical or wicked acts inside it or simply mock it’s structure and design.
And just like that physical building, you can do all those things to yourself – to your body and to your spirit. At least, I know I can. I can complain and dislike my physical features, make my body unhealthy by not eating properly or exercising, pierce my body parts, color my hair or get plastic surgery. On the more emotional side, I can swear, lie, cheat, or offend.
Don’t all of those actions fall directly under the definitions of “to defile.” Yes. I’ll be the first admit that I am guilty of defiling God’s temple that is me, sometimes on a daily basis.
God created a temple in me – a place where His Spirit can dwell. And it’s up to me to maintain and treasure that temple. To enjoy the company of His Spirit and offer a place that is free of dishonesty, pollution, dirt or dishonesty.
So the next time I complain that I don’t like my elf-like ear, I have to remind myself that my body is good enough for the Spirit of God to dwell in me, so it is good enough for my Spirit to reside in. What more could a person ask for?