Ephesians 2:21, 22
In whom the whole building, being fitted together is growing into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.
When I was a teenager I once brought a bottle of Mountain Dew into the sanctuary of my little Baptist church. It was a hot day and I had been cutting the grass for several hours. I wasn’t sure why the building was unlocked, but I was quick to take advantage of the cool air circulating just inside those doors. Sweaty and dirty, with pieces of grass plastered to my legs and a bottle of soda in my hands, I guess I was the last thing any well-intended elderly lady would want to see walking around the sanctuary of her church. Her church? That’s right, she took it personally and she made it quite clear! Let’s just say I never sought air condition within the “Holiest of Holies” ever again.
When I look back at this situation I can think of several reasons why I shouldn’t of been so quick to bring my dirty shoes into the sanctuary. I appreciate this lady’s intentions, yet at the same time, I’m not sure that I completely agree with her position. She had explained to me that the church sanctuary was the “dwelling place” of the Lord. Rather vehemently, she instructed me that no dirt or filth was to enter into the Holy of Holies. I have no problem agreeing that the temple of the Lord is to remain clean, but it is in her comparison of our small local church to the temple of Solomon where I differ with her. First Baptist Church of Lehigh Acres, FL is just a building; it’s a meeting place for the people of the Lord. Our God no longer makes His dwelling place in buildings built by man, but within the human heart, being fashioned by the Spirit of God.
You are the temple of the Lord. Together you, along with all believers, are a growing dwelling place for Him who created the very universe in which you live. 1 Cor. 3:16 says, “Do you not know that you are a temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” How are you treating His temple? Have you allowed filth and dirt to collect along the hallways of your heart? What do you allow into the innermost sanctuary of your being? This is why Paul instructs you to only dwell on things that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, and of good repute (Phil. 4:8). When you allow the filth of the world around us into your mind and body, it hinders the work of the Spirit in your life. Does sin cause the hand of the Lord’s salvation to leave you? No, but it may cause the work of His sanctification to become obstructed.
Every once in a while, I think of that elderly lady so upset about my filthy sneakers walking around her church sanctuary. At first it makes me laugh, but then I imagine the Lord’s disgust in what I all too often invite into my own body, His holiest of sanctuaries. I doubt that makes you laugh, but does it bring you to repentance? It should.