HAVE YOU WONDERED? Who do you think you are?
You may have heard the story about the newly hired doctor walking around the hospital, meeting some of her patients for the first time. She stopped to greet one man and asked his name.
The man sat up in his hospital bed and proudly proclaimed, “I am Napoleon Bonaparte – The Emperor of France!” The doctor gently asked,
“Oh really, who told you that you were Napoleon Bonaparte?”
The patient loudly declared, “God did!” At this point, the man in the bed next to him sat up and yelled, “I DID NOT!”
Clearly this was a case of mistaken identity. The sad thing is that there are many people — even many Christians — with mistaken identities. How we perceive ourself can affect every aspect of our life and, thus, it vitally important to get the question “Who am I?” right.
The best way to get this question right is to ask “Who does God say I am?” After all, he is the one who created me … He should know!
One profound biblical description of “who we are” is found in 1 Corinthians. “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)
“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.” (1 Corinthians 6:19)
These verses remind us that in the Christian faith, you don’t go to a temple to worship, but rather your body becomes a temple of worship. In the Old Testament, God’s people made God a temple. In the New Testament, God makes his people a temple.
What do you think about when you think of temples?
1) Temples don't blend into their surroundings. They stand out.
Jesus said, "You are the Light of the World. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." (Matthew 5:14-16)
2) Another thing about temples is they sometimes need to be cleansed. In both the Old and New Testaments we see examples of times that the temple had become contaminated or desecrated and needed to be cleansed.
In the Old Testament, 2 Chronicles 29:17 we read, “They brought out to the courtyard of the Lord’s temple everything unclean that they found in the temple.”
What unclean things do you need to bring out of your temple today?
3) Do you remember what Jesus said about the purpose of the temple? In Matthew 21 we read that "Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. He said to them, it is written ‘My house will be called a house of prayer.’”
Here we have God's definition of what a temple should be ... “a house of
Dear Holy Father, help us to understand that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. Help us to stand out as lights in a dark world. Help us to get rid of things that don’t belong. Help us to become, both individually and collectively, “houses of prayer.” In Jesus’ name, Amen
Russ Whitten is a local minister, writer and musician. His band, The Bonhoeffers, play every week at The Village Door. His book Have You Ever Wondered? is available on Amazon.com.