Monday, June 8, 2009

What does the Bible say about our bodies as temples?

Good morning, ladies! I've received many questions about the format of the small group meetings that I lead, and one of the most common questions I get is: "I have a group, but how do we get started thinking about our bodies as our temples?"

Maybe it's just because I am a pastor, but when I have a question on how to get started with something, I turn to the Bible.

Do you know where in the Bible the idea of the "body as temple" comes from? It's in 1 Corinthians 3:16: "Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you?"

Along with being a big fan of the Bible, I'm also a fan of making lists. To get started, maybe your group wants to list out all of the qualities of a temple that would be a fit place for God's Spirit (the Holy Spirt) to dwell. When we first did this, we thought of the things that we do to make our physical church building a place for the Holy Spirit. I still have that list, and some of the ideas we had coming from that perspective were:
  • A strong and structurally sound building
  • A welcoming and open place
  • A place that is beautiful and calm
  • A place that is kind and giving
  • A building fit for many different purposes
  • A place that we have to take care of and maintain

If you're trying to think of how this applies to our "temples" as our physical selves, just try substituting "temple" (and thinking "body") in place of "building" -

  • A strong and structurally sound TEMPLE (are our temples strong? sound? fit?)
  • A welcoming and open TEMPLE (do we welcome people with our physical appearance and demeanor or do we shut them out or turn them away?)
  • A TEMPLE that is beautiful and calm (are we sending out "calm vibes" and are we thinking about how we appear to others, or are we harried and unkempt?)
  • A TEMPLE that is kind and giving (how do we use our bodies as vehicles for service and giving to our families and our communities?)
  • A TEMPLE fit for many different purposes (we have to use our bodies for many purposes, too - are we prepared for that?)
  • A TEMPLE that we have to take care of and maintain (are we maintaining our temples?)

That's a LOT to think about - so I'll save the rest for next time. What do you think? How does the way you treat your temple stack up against the dream you would have for a temple where the Holy Spirit would dwell?

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