Most Believers have heard and even believe that they are God’s temple, but there’s head knowledge and then there’s heart knowledge. Knowing in our minds that we are temples of the Most High God is wonderful, but for us to live in this truth we need to have it deeply embedded in our souls—we need heart knowledge.
But why do we struggle to live in the truth that we are God’s temple? How can this revelation of our being temples change us?
Do You Not Know You are the Temple of God?
“Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?”—1 Corinthians 3:16
As Believers most of us have heard that we are “temples” of God, but do we know why we are His temples? What makes us a temple? And does that change how we ought to view ourselves?
When we look at the biblical Tabernacle or Temples in the Word, we see that each was meant to honor God, but one of the most important things that set them apart from other places made to honor God was His Presence. HIS Presence resided there. It is true that God is not confined to a single place, let alone a man-made one, but out of His love for us He chooses to reside where we can meet with Him.
The Garden of Eden was the first place God provided for His creation to meet with Him, but due to the disobedience and sin that was allowed, that place of meeting was cut off from us. Yet, God continued to create ways in which He could meet with and talk to His creation. Even so, this was still limited by us. Not everyone was open to meeting with God so intimately… yet God continued to desire the relationship that meeting with Him can bring, and He knew we needed it.
And so He began to prepare us.
- He created covenant with Abraham, to deepen the relationship with His creation, but only a few people—such as Abraham and his descendants—desired such a relationship with Him…
- He met with Moses, but the people were afraid of the Presence of God that lingered on him… more preparation was required.
- The temporary Tabernacle of Meeting where God’s presence could rest and guide them did much to prepare His creation for meeting with Him, but due to error on our part, many died from not having a proper fear of the Lord—which is the beginning of wisdom.
- Then came two Temples. Each destroyed due to sin and other errors and yet, each served as preparation for the sweetest intimacy to come. One which we can each enjoy today…
A place where God chooses to reside—in us. To make us His temple and meet with us hour by hour, minute by minute… moment by moment.
This is a beautiful gift, one that when we let go of those things that hold us back—like doubt, fear, or habitual sin—can change us from the inside out! Can alter the way we view ourselves, others, and even God!
What Knowing AND Being Temples of God Means
All have the opportunity to be God’s temple, but there’s a difference between being a temple with crumbling walls and dirty floors and one that is firm, clean, and holy!
The ancient Temples of God that once existed were made by human hands, but it was God whose Spirit gave them purpose. Through these Temples, God allowed His people to partake in relationship with Him—not only in the building of the structure, but caring for it, serving Him in it, and meeting with Him there. He knew that His children needed purpose, and that through this unique relationship with Him in His Temple, they would not only find it, but be enriched and changed for the better.
But whenever the people got off track, it was quickly displayed in God’s Temple. Disobedience. Sin. Even false gods and idols—worshiping people, places, and things beside God—defiled God’s Temple and eventually led to His allowing the destruction of both the First and Second Temples.
“But because our fathers provoked the God of heaven to wrath, He gave them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, the Chaldean, who destroyed this temple and carried the people away to Babylon.”—Ezra 5:12
What can we learn from this? That God’s Temples should be clean. That they should be holy and fixed on Him—not on false gods and idols. Because His Temple is meant to be a place of relationship and intimacy; a place of His presence…
“Don’t you realize that together you have become God’s inner sanctuary and that the Spirit of God makes his permanent home in you? Now, if someone desecrates God’s inner sanctuary, God will desecrate him, for God’s inner sanctuary is holy, and that is exactly who you are.”—1 Corinthians 3:16-17 (TPT)
God chose to allow us to meet with Him intimately, but the price was high. He had to give up His one and only Son to pain and death before raising Him from the dead—with our freedom in hand—so that we might be given the GIFT of His Holy Spirit! Yes, we can refuse God’s gift and defile the temple of our bodies, but why would we?
It may feel intimidating to be the temple of the Most High God. It may even seem as if we cannot maintain that temple to God’s standard because we do make mistakes, and we do sin. But we need not fear! God is more than willing and able to help us. He knew before He made us His temples that sometimes we would forget to ‘sweep the floors.’ He knew that there would be days or even weeks where we would fail to ‘pour fresh oil into the Great Menorah.’ He is not surprised…
Remember, Jesus came to this earth and was tempted in every way, but He overcame! And as His temple, with His Spirit living in us… we too can overcome!
“So don’t be proud of your allegiance to any human leader. For actually, you already have everything! It has all been given for your benefit, whether it is Paul or Apollos or Peter the Rock, or whether it’s the world or life or death, or whether it’s the present or the future—everything belongs to you! And now you are joined to the Messiah, who is joined to God.”—1 Corinthians 3:21-23 (TPT)
When We Realize We ARE God’s Temple We…
When we come to understand that we are housing God’s Spirit. When we come to accept that every good thing we are and every good thing we have comes from Him… then we begin to see things differently.
- View Our Bodies as HOLY | We eat better, exercise more, respect ourselves and others, etc.
- Create Better Habits & Patterns | We understand that our actions should reflect the temple that we are and the God who resides in us.
- Think Like God | We begin to pay more attention to the Holy Spirit within us until His thoughts, ways, and emotions become ours.
- Become Compassionate | We know that God understands every trial and temptation we go through; He cares for and know us. When we understand and accept that this is the God who lives in us, then the compassion, mercy, grace, and love that are in Him begin to flow out of His temple (us!).
These are just a few of the things that begin to change within us when we accept the truth and honor of being God’s temple. Having God reside in us and interacting with Him—meeting with Him, growing our relationship with Him—causes everything to shine with His love. We grow in health. We become more like Him. We see ourselves and others as He does…
And we also learn that our actions affect more than just us alone. They affect God’s temple. God Himself. And everyone we interact with. Because we are meant to be a light. We are meant to house God’s Spirit and impart that to others through our words, actions, and His Presence.
God does not expect us to never stumble. He knows that we are not perfect. But with His Spirit in us we have the ability to overcome. We can get back up when things go wrong, return to Him and choose the right path; cleaning and restoring the temple so God’s presence can shine all the brighter!
“Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”—1 Corinthians 6:19-20
We can walk knowing we were bought with a price. That God chose not only to save and redeem us, but to create a temple within us for His Spirit. A dwelling place where His Presence makes us whole.