“Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses while this house remains a ruin? Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Give careful thought to your ways.
“You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages only to put them in a purse with holes in it.’
“This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Give careful thought to your ways. Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build the house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored,’ says the Lord.
’You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?’ declares the Lord Almighty. ‘Because of my house which remains a ruin while each of you is busy with his own house. Therefore, because of you the heavens have withheld their dew and the earth its crops.
‘I called for a drought on the fields and the mountains, on the grain, the new wine, the oil and whatever the ground produces, on men and cattle, and on the labor of your hands.”
As we learned in Concept 1A, the Old Testament temple points to the New Testament temple, our bodies. The New Testament teaches us about God’s perspective or viewpoint of our bodies. In contrast, the Old Testament provides a descriptive illustration of how God blesses the temple and those responsible for it when He is pleased with their actions concerning the temple and how He punishes those responsible for the temple when they fail to honor Him by maintaining it.
King Solomon originally built the temple to house the Ark of the Covenant, which represented God’s throne. (2 Samuel 7:1-2 and 1 Chronicles 17:1 & 28:2-3, 6, & 2 Chronicles 6:1-11). Placing the Ark of the Covenant in the completed temple signified that Israel knew God was her true King and Jerusalem was His earthly royal city. (NIV Study Bible). Consequently, God was so pleased that His glory (presence) filled the temple, and the priests were unable to complete their duties as the congregation worshiped the Lord (2 Chronicles 7:1-3). When we honor God with our bodies, including in terms of how we eat, we declare by our actions, instead of using mere words, that God reigns in us and through us as King in every facet of our lives.
Here, in New Testament times, our bodies are meant to house God’s presence in the Person of His Holy Spirit. This union with the Holy Spirit is permanent. But unlike the stationary, Old Testament temple, which was a place for the Israelites to offer their sacrifices to God in addition to worshipping Him, the temples of our bodies work in the opposite way. Specifically, we are not only places of worship of the One True God and houses or places for His Spirit to dwell in, but we are also vehicles the Holy Spirit uses to demonstrate to the world acts of obedience to God’s word as well as sacrificial worship and praise as Christians go about their daily lives in the world. In other words, those who may not otherwise set foot in a church should be able to see Jesus in the living epistles of our lives as we endeavor to fulfill the Lord's commandment to make disciples of all nations by sharing His word and living His word.
For this reason, you should think of yourself as a car or other motor vehicle which the Holy Spirit utilizes to travel throughout the earth to spread the Good News of Christ to the world. However, just as your personal vehicle must remain in good repair in order to work as designed and fulfill its purpose of getting you from Point A to Point B safely, you, too, must keep the Temple of the Holy Spirit in good repair in order to have optimal performance as you serve the Lord by functioning as designed. Think of it this way:
Your Body: Car
Holy Spirit: Driving Force & the gas that fills the car so it operates
Great Commission: Destination A - God’s Purpose for our lives
Other Ministry Work: Destination B - God’s assignments for our lives
If your personal car is not in good repair, then you would consider it unreliable because you could not depend on it to take you where you need to go or otherwise perform as you need it to. To put it plainly, if it cannot take you across town without breaking down on a regular basis, you certainly won’t trust it to travel across the state or take you on a cross-country road trip. Consequently, you want your car in its best possible condition at all times. The Holy Spirit expects the same of you as He works through you on earth.
Why is this so important? Well, repairs to a car are costly. First of all, they cost the owner time. For example, if the car breaks down on your way to work or to a special event, you could be late arriving. Moreover, there is usually a significant wait for emergency roadside assistance, a friend, or a family member to come to your aide. Second, repairs cost the owner money. Specifically, you must pay for roadside assistance to tow your vehicle. You also have to pay the mechanic who repairs your car if it’s not covered under a warranty. If your insurance won’t cover the cost of a rental car, you will also have to pay out-of-pocket for repairs that take a few days unless you have an extra car.
In the same way, there are costs associated with failure to maintain the Temple of the Holy Spirit. God blesses the overwhelming majority of people in this country with perfect health when they are born, and a very high percentage of those who are born with or who acquire some sort of sickness after birth are healed once they receive medical care. Nevertheless, as we grow up, we often take this blessing for granted, and we treat our bodies in ways that can compromise our health, for example, abusing drugs or alcohol, having unprotected pre-marital sex, having extramarital affairs, and even eating unhealthy foods excessively as we commit the sin of gluttony.
Over time, our bodies become less and less reliable as the long-term effects of our behavior are increasingly evident. For example, one of the first signs of gluttony or excessive eating will be a noticeable weight gain. At that point, the cost related to living contrary to God’s will can become enormous! As we do with other sins, we spend our time and money trying to dig our way out of the mess we’ve made. For example, entering treatment centers and attending drug rehabilitation meetings upon release to combat drug habits; raising children alone instead of in marriages or visiting a physician to cure a sexually transmitted disease as a result of pre-marital sex; visiting a therapist for marriage counseling while trying to reconnect with a spouse and reestablish the love and trust that was broken due to an adulterous affair; and purchasing gym memberships, trying diet pills, hypnotism, ear stapling, or dangerous surgeries in order to lose weight after we’ve been ensnared by the sin of gluttony.
On the other hand, our bodies are similar to the Old Testament Temple in one regard. Just as the temple at Jerusalem had a fixed location, a human body has a finite or fixed period of time on earth, meaning a person’s lifetime, which varies from person-to-person as the Father decrees. Believers are expected to fulfill the Great Commission to make new disciples for Christ and complete the other ministry work assigned to them during that fixed period. To be blunt, the most expensive, or rather, important cost of failing to maintain God’s Holy Temple is failing to reach lost souls.
In terms of the car analogy, that is much more difficult to do if your body is the equivalent of a clunker in the repair shop every other week. Unfortunately, trying to get the weight off by paying for the latest fad diet isn’t the only costly expense. In many cases, those ensnared by the sin of gluttony must also bear the expense of medical costs as a result of illnesses caused, in large part, by being overweight. Health insurance, office visits with the physician, filling prescriptions, and having procedures to prolong life all cost money and time. Yes, modern technology makes things a lot easier for us, but it’s still harder to maintain the stamina and ability needed to effectively preach the gospel around the world (“make disciples of all nations”) as every Believer is mandated by Christ to do, if you can barely make it out of your front yard or if medications have your mental faculties in a perpetual fog (Matthew 28:16-20).
The Holy Spirit is the Person of the Holy Trinity who convicts lost souls of their sins and brings about their belief and acceptance of Christ as Savior. As the bible teaches, Unbelievers cannot hear the word of God unless they have a preacher, that is, a Believer to tell them about Christ (Romans 10:14 and 1 Peter 2:5). Consequently, the Holy Spirit expects the same thing from you as He works through you on earth that you expect from your vehicle when you drive to work: that you are able to travel the distance required so that He can do his work. That may be next door to your unbelieving neighbor’s home, across town to work or school, or delivering bibles to believers in China in order to help them spread the gospel.
Ann Wooten Taylor
Ann is an attorney who has been licensed to practice law in the State of Arkansas since 2004, practicing in the areas of child abuse and neglect, special education, and unemployment insurance law. Mrs. Taylor is also the C.E.O. of Eating as an Act of Worship Ministries and a Christian author. Her first non-fiction, Christian book entitled, "Eating as an Act of Worship Workbook" was published and released by Life to Legacy Publishing in 2015. Her second book, the "Eating as an Act of Worship Teacher's Edition" was published and released in December 2016.