Give me a word, Lord: LIVING SANCTUARY

2 Corinthians 6:16 What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.”

I Corinthians 3:16 Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?

Romans 12:1-2 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

I was looking at some old memories and came across a video of my daughter singing, “Sanctuary”. It is one of the most precious videos that I have of her. I won’t share it here because she would probably not like that, but I think it’s awesome. She was only nine years old and had just finished taking a bath in our big old jacuzzi tub. I was going about my normal busyness of preparing to close the chapter on another day when I heard this sweet little melodious song coming from my bathroom. My daughter has a beautiful singing voice that is a gift she received from God, and not from me. I tend to make a happy racket rather than a joyful noise, but that doesn’t stop me from making noise! However, the reason she doesn’t like this particular video is because she had found her “princess voice” at that time. As a mom, I didn’t care if she couldn’t care a tune in a bucket, if she sang like a princess, or had the most beautiful voice ever heard, I thought her singing was fantastic! It wasn’t how she was singing, but rather what she was singing that made me so happy. (Side note: she grew into that princess voice, and now she sings like an angel.)

The words to the song “Sanctuary” remind us of who we are to be as Christians. “Lord, prepare me to be a sanctuary, pure and holy, tried and true. With thanksgiving, I’ll be a living
sanctuary for You. It is you, Lord who came to save the heart and soul of every man. It is you Lord who knows my weakness, who gives me strength, with thine own hand. Lead me on Lord from temptation, purify me from within. Fill my heart with You Holy Spirit. Take away all my sin. Lord prepare me to be a sanctuary, pure and holy, tried and true. With thanksgiving I’ll be a living sanctuary for you.”

What does it mean to be a living sanctuary for God? On Sunday mornings, we get all gussied up and go to church to sing songs of praise, and we worship our heavenly Father. I get excited about going to church, and I hope that you do too. I love the praise and worship music. I can’t help but wiggle around a bit while singing. Praising God excites me. I may sit on the back pew at church, but I am not one of the “frozen chosen”. The praise and worship music gets us geared up for the Word of God, and helps us to prepare our hearts and our minds to receive the Word. I listen intently while the pastor preaches, and I take notes in my Bible and on the bulletin. Sunday morning service is a great time for refueling the heart of a Christian as we prepare to take on another week, but that’s not it. That’s not being a living sanctuary. That’s part of it, but that’s not the whole enchilada.

Paul tells us in Ephesians 5:19-20 to “be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” When he gave us these words, he didn’t say for us to sing hymns and songs only on Sunday mornings. He didn’t say make music in your heart only when you gather together in the church building. He didn’t say give thanks to God the Father only while you are dressed up pretty and attending church services. Notice the last part of his statement: “always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” ALWAYS!

Paul said we are supposed to do these things always! Some of us can’t even seem to get excited for Sunday morning worship so how in the world can you get excited always? Well, Peeps, that’s where the living sanctuary comes in. We can’t just live in Christ in the sanctuary of our church buildings. For goodness sake, we all know that God is all knowing, everywhere, and all powerful. Why in the world would we think that we are to only worship Him while we are in a building sanctuary? He didn’t create us to praise Him once or twice or maybe even three times a week on a good week. He created us to glorify Him, and in order to do so, we have to actively be a living sanctuary for Him. We can’t just keep talking the talk. We can’t just show up for appearances, We can’t be the “frozen chosen”.

We become disgruntled and disheartened with the state of affairs of our country, but we need not wallow in the muck and mire of it. If we want things to change, we must first change ourselves. We must first truly become living sanctuaries for God, and begin living for Him, not ourselves. We can’t just keep showing up. We must started showing out, and by this I mean showing outwardly who resides within us: Christ! We must start worshiping and praising on a whole new level. Sunday worship is awesome, and I’m so grateful that I live in a free country which allows corporate worship. Corporate worship is a wonderful part of who we are as Christians. Hebrews 10:24-25 reminds us of what we need to do. “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Don’t give up on meeting together, but we must encourage one another. Today, I am encouraging you to be a living sanctuary for Christ. Your body is the temple where the Holy Spirit of Christ resides. YOU are carrying Him around with you all day long. Are you having “church” all day, always, or are you just another pretty temple? Be a living sanctuary for God!

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