March 18, 2016

Cleaning the temple

In the summer of 2012, I asked God to do a major clean-up in my life. I did not think that in order to answer my prayer, He needed to expose all the junk that needed to be cleared out. Nor did I think that I would have to work so hard as a major player in His clean-up crew. It would be a lot easier of God just zapped sin out and holiness in, but that is not how He chooses to cleanse His children.

Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God. (2 Corinthians 7:1)

Do we really know how sinful we are? I have an old tract filled with questions about selfishness vs. personal godliness. I put it away. It was too convicting and I made the excuse that I was doing enough “naval gazing” as it was. Reading it was are like taking a flashlight into the darkest corners of a basement and finding it full of mold and other disgusting and smelly things. However in today’s devotional, Chambers asks similar questions. His are less specific but just as pointed . . . 

  • Am I realizing that my body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, or have I a habit of body that plainly will not bear the light of God on it?
  • Is the mind of my spirit in perfect agreement with the life of the Son of God in me, or am I insubordinate in intellect?
  • Am I forming the mind of Christ, Who never spoke from His right to Himself, but maintained an inner watchfulness whereby He continually submitted His spirit to His Father?
  • Am I perfecting this type of holiness in the fear of God?
  • Is God getting His way with me?
  • Are other people beginning to see God in my life more and more?

I cannot answer the last one, but those about the mind fly at me. Thinking God’s thoughts is a continual challenge. I know it would be much easier if my head was not so full of my own thoughts, ideas, plans, desires, and too much other self-centered nonsense.

These promises that form the foundation for “cleansing ourselves from every defilement” are just before, in 2 Corinthians 6. They include:

  • God made us His dwelling place, His temple.
  • He walks among us.
  • He is our God and we are His people
  • He is a father to us.
  • We are sons and daughters to Him. (2 Corinthians 6:16–18)

To that first promise, He asks, “What agreement has the temple of God with idols?” That alone is a major blight in the basement . . . which ends the usefulness of this analogy for the temple of God cannot be compared that way. Read the Old Testament and realize that God’s temple is an incredibly beautiful and holy place. Bringing an idol into it is disgusting. As God’s dwelling place, I’m not to be marred by junk like idols.

Chambers and the Bible both make it clear that I have the responsibility of keeping my spirit in agreement with God’s Spirit. When I am doing that, little by little Jesus lifts me up to where He lives — in perfect consecration to His Father’s will and paying no attention to any other thing. Oh my. For an easily distracted mind, this is most challenging.

Yet again, the reading today says I am to be serious with God and happily say goodbye to the junk – by literally putting Him first in all things and cleaning out everything that does not belong.

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