Our Bodies, God's Temple
Tracie Miles

"Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him; for God's temple is sacred, and you are that temple." 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 (NIV)

It was an odd conversation, I must admit.

As I was driving my sixteen year-old daughter to church, she expressed she was hungry. Pulling up to the drive through window, she ordered a Double Baconator Combo - you know, the hamburger with two thick patties, six strips of bacon, cheese and toppings, plus a large fry and drink.

I gently warned her that unhealthy eating habits would eventually catch up to her. Then the conversation took an interesting twist.

I had recently been studying the book of Leviticus, which focuses on the building of God's temple by the Israelites after they had left Egypt, and apparently I had "temple on the brain" syndrome.

I explained to my daughter that she needed to remember that her body was God's temple; therefore, she should take care of it, and part of taking care of our bodies, is eating healthy. She replied by saying (with her teenage facial expression of utter confusion), "Are you trying to tell me that eating this hamburger is a sin?!"

This comical conversation went on for several minutes while I attempted to convince her of the importance of treating her body as God's temple, and she held her ground that eating a hamburger was not a sin.

You see, after reading countless details about the tabernacle (the tent-version of the temple), I had a newfound appreciation for its sacredness. I felt encouraged knowing that the Lord actually resided in the Temple. I admired the hours of work devoted to building the Tabernacle, and the many rules and requirements that God set forth regarding honoring and caring for it.

In the New Testament, we are reminded many times about how we are now God's dwelling place. We no longer have to worship, pray or converse with God in a specific place, because He lives within us.

At first glance, 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 implies an overwhelming responsibility to understand that we truly are God's temple, that we are the only ones who can take care of it, and that He has commanded us to do so. But thank goodness, caring for a temple is not nearly as hard as it was for the Israelites. Let's look at how we can care for God's temple today:

- The original temple had walls made of cloth. Their purpose was to protect the holy contents that were inside. In the same way, we also have to protect the contents of our temple, which is the Holy Spirit living within us.

- A lot of cleaning took place in the temple continually. We can keep our temples clean through purity of heart and mind.

- The temple was built for worshipping. God calls us into worship every day, inviting us to spend time with Him and in His Word.

- The Lord spoke in the temple and His voice was heard. The Lord is still speaking to us, in our hearts, and being able to hear His voice requires an intimate relationship with Him.

1 Corinthians 6:20b, says we are to honor God with our body. Does that mean never eating another hamburger or doughnut? Of course not! God does not command us to have perfectly sleek figures, or infallible eating habits. Nor is He is concerned with what we wear, what color our hair is, or how many wrinkles we have.

1 Samuel 16:7 says, "But the LORD said to Samuel, 'Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.'"

God cares about our hearts, His Temple. We are called to care for His Temple daily, through healthy eating, yes, but most importantly through purity of heart, mind and soul.

Dear Lord, prompt me to never forget that I am Your temple, Your holy dwelling place. Help me to honor You in all that I do. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Visit Tracie’s blog for more encouragement

His Princess: Love Letters from Your Prince by Sheri Rose Shepherd

Becoming the Woman God Wants Me to Be by Donna Partow

Visit our Everyday Life Health and Well-Being page

A Woman Who Fears the Lord- T-Shirt

Do I treat my body as the residence of God?

Am I committed to living a life of purity of heart and mind?

Power Verses:
1 Corinthians 6:19-20, "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body." (NIV)

© 2010 Tracie Miles. All rights reserved.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

We must also remember that what effects the body effects the mind and thus the Spirit. God communicates to us through our minds. Eating foods that build up the body can help to create clearness of mind and a calmness of spirit. Daniel and His friends were wiser then all the other boys because they abstained from the rich foods and wine offered from the Kings table. We are saved by Christs Grace but we are not saved inorder to indulge in any act that is a detriment to either the mind, body or Spirit for they are all connected and the purchase of Christ. Salvation does not give us cart blanch to do as we like with God's property.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

God has been speaking to me lately about my eating habits and lack of excercise. This is just another affirmation that He wants us to feel good about ourselves. How can we have poor self-esteem when the creator of the universe made us in His image and trusted us to care for that creation. It is an awesome responsibility and honor.

Blogger Unknown said...

Thank you for reminding me once again of the importance of keeping my body, mind and soul clean. Just as important as was the first Temple, my body, God's dwelling place, is to be kept just as clean, pure and spotless as was the original temple. He was very detailed concerning the first one and you have shown me through God's word that my body is important for the very same reason! He lives here! I know I knew this but it is so good to be reminded once more! Thank you!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

many times i have asked God to help me see my body for what it really is in His eyes,so then i can respect it and care for it.i am careless and very much over weight and i havent been at that place where i say "i had a revelation or wake up call,thats what helped me."
many people say that, and so when they do, it makes it simple to care and renew their bodies,i want to be at that place in my mind where i can say,"the day the Lord showed me,that was it,i changed my eating habits.

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