One of the first things Jesus did after His triumphant entry into Jerusalem was to go to the temple. When He got there it was crowded with merchants who were buying and selling the items needed for sacrifices. There were even people there who would loan people money to buy what they needed for the sacrifices. The Message calls them loan sharks. Jesus became angry and kicked over the tables and threw them out of the temple.
As I read that, I’m reminded that I Corinthians 6:19 says that our bodies are the temple now. It got me to wondering, “What would Jesus kick over in my life? What things have I set up that make Him upset? What keeps me from being a ‘House of prayer?'” They’re tough questions to ask, but they need to be asked. None of us are perfect, nor will we ever be. That doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t try to do what’s right.
As Jesus was heading to the cross, He wanted to make sure that people understood what was important to Him. The first thing on His list was to clean out the temple. It was so full of other things that the poor and the crippled couldn’t get in. When we fill our lives with so many things that aren’t what God wants in them, we don’t have room for the things He wants to put in them. We miss out on blessings.
The options are clear. We can have Jesus come in, kick things over and make room, or we can make the adjustments ourselves. Personally, I prefer the latter. If we become people of prayer, we will hear God more. When we hear a God more, we will know more of what His will is for our lives. His will isn’t for us to live our lives for ourselves, but for others. The problem is that most of us don’t have room for others in our lives because we’re full of things for ourselves.
Hebrews 12:1 says that we are to cast aside and to strip off every weight that clings to us and entangles us. Verse two tells us how to do it. It says, “We do this by keeping our eye on Jesus.” He wasn’t concerned about Himself, He was concerned for others. His entire reason for coming here was to seek and to save the lost. He knew what kind of a price He would have to pay to build the bridge between us and God. He knew it meant sacrifice. Even when He got to Jerusalem for Holy Week, He told them what was about to happen.
Am I willing to make sacrifices in my life so others may know God? Is there room in my life for the emotionally, physically and spiritually poor and crippled? Am I concerned more with others eternity than my own temporary, physical comfort? What do I need to move out of my life in order to make room for what God wants to put in? These are tough questions that I’m asking myself. Hopefully, you’re asking yourself the same questions. It’s time we did a spring cleaning of our temples.
I was reading this morning in Scripture where Solomon completed the Temple and held a huge ceremony to dedicate it to God. HIs father David wanted to build the Temple but was unable to. He had prepared everything for Solomon to build and complete it. Once it was done, Solomon had a 7 day celebration and offered sacrifices to God. II Chronicles 7:1 says that when Solomon was finished praying the dedication prayer, the glorious presence of the LORD filled the Temple.
It got me to thinking about what Paul said about us in the New Testament. In I Corinthians 6:19, he asks, “Don’t you know that your body is the temple (the very sanctuary) of the Holy Spirit Who lives within you?” Jesus made a way for God to live inside each one of us. Just as the Temple was dedicated to God, so should our bodies.
We don’t have to wait to be completed though before God moves into our lives. Each one of us is a work in progress. There is no one who has attained perfection and has the perfect Temple for God to live in. We can only dedicate ourselves to living for Him by trusting in His grace. Paul said it like this in Philippians 3:12, “I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection.” Paul is a man who wrote most of the New Testament and yet he still recognized that he had far to go.
I’m in that same boat. I have a long way to go to reach perfection. I don’t ever mean to imply that I have, but I sure want to press towards it. I want to live in the grace of God and live as much like Christ as I can. I will struggle each day to be more like him. The good news is that the grace He gives covers a multitude of sins. It makes up the difference in where I am and where He wants me to be. I heard someone describe God’s grace by asking the question, “On a scale of 1 – 100, how good would you say you were? What God’s grace does is make up the difference between what you are and 100.”
If I was a 5, and asked God for forgiveness, His grace would be 95 in my life. That is the awesome thing about God. He doesn’t care if you are a 1 or a 99. His grace is the great equalizer. It will make up the difference and allow you to be who God wants you to be. You are probably like me and have lots of room between you and 100, but God will continue to work with you to get there. I’m constantly under construction by God so I rely on Philippians 1:6 that says, “I am certain that God who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”
I’ll never be perfect until He comes or I go, but I have the hope of a faithful God who will continue to work in me and build me as His Temple. I trust in His grace and His faithfulness. One day I will arrive and be made perfect. As I am, I am a work in progress and all of my short comings are not measured by this world’s standards, they’re measured by His. Thank God for grace that makes up the difference. It keeps me wanting to continue building this Temple for Him.