Easter is this weekend, and I promise you that the temples will still be full. Inanimate temples made with the hands of man, may stand empty, but the living temples of our souls will be full.
24. God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;
25 Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;
26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed , and the bounds of their habitation;
27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:
28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.
My Dad once said, “If you were the only remaining believer, would your faith be enough to stand alone?” Over the last ten years, I’ve been isolated from my church for weeks and even months at a time. Recovering from 24 surgeries over the last 10 years, has frequently forced me to attend to the temple of my heart, even when I couldn’t attend a church building. If I only factor in actual surgical recoveries, not even counting the other injuries that laid me up but I didn’t have surgically addressed…I’ve missed roughly a minimum of 3 and a half years worth of church. In that time, I didn’t attend church, but I never had to miss a sabbath. I just had to meet God in the temple of my heart, and there I could worship, pray, and praise.
1st Corinthians 3: 16-17
16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.
The building, our garb, habits and tradition, have very little to do with the health of the temple of our heart. This was so beautifully demonstrated by one of my favorite authors. Corrie Ten Boom and her sister Betsy. They were without a chapel, naked, starving, and deprived of nearly every human comfort…and yet God was alive and well within the temple of their heart. They smuggled a Bible into a concentration camp and they held a Bible study in their barracks. If you haven’t read, “The Hiding Place,” don’t walk…run. Go read it. It’s a true story. So many committed believers suffered unto death, but their faith was preserved in the temple of their souls. There are times I’ve been isolated from other church members, but I’ve never been isolated from God when I’ve sought Him. In some ways I’ve realized we can get a very false sense of security in our spiritual life, by just falling into the habit of visiting the temple, observing tradition and custom, and fulfilling our “duty,” within a church. After all, is that not the mistake Isreal made over and over? Jesus Himself stated it, while saying that Isaiah was right in his prophesies of Jerusalem.
Mathew 15: 7-9
7. Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying,
8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.
9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
We can fulfill all of the religious traditions of men, while being absent in heart, lacking in desire, and distracted in our mind; All the while, the temple of our heart could be deteriorating into a neglected and dilapidated dwelling place for God. Our own habits and traditions can become a foothold for pride and a false reassurance of our own dedication to the God it was originally intended to honor. When we are forced to abstain from tradition and ritual; We are left with only one thing. We are forced to look within the temple of our hearts and our true desire to meet God there and to be the safe place for His Holy Spirit to dwell. If attending a temple with other believers a couple times a week, is the only thing holding our faith together, then we are not attending to the daily needs of the temple of our heart, and our faith is not solely reliant on God.
John 2: 19-22
19.Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.
20 Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?
21 But he spake of the temple of his body.
22 When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said.
I am thankful for the story of Noah who served as a last true follower, and of Peter and Paul, who reminded us that living in spiritual isolation, is not a spiritual death sentence. If our soul cannot survive in isolation and as the last remaining believer, then we are not tending to the needs of the temple of our heart, where God lives. We expect God to live within and meet us there, but if it is not habitable…we can’t expect Him to continually dwell with us. The entire world has been given a moment in time to refocus. It is up to us individually to utilize this time to tend to our own spiritual needs and focus. Can you imagine how much stronger we could be as the body of Christ, when we are all able to come back together? So many times I have cried upon the first time coming back into a church service after being gone for an extended period of time. I don’t take the physical ability to be there or the freedom we have to worship for granted. When my church started live streaming services several years ago, it filled me with incredible joy. I was once again able to feel a part of a mutual message, and offer mutual prayer and praise. I thank God for the blessing of technologically and the capability it gives us to meet together often. I appreciate it deeply, but I also know I must seek God individually in my temple if I desire it to serve as anything more than just entertainment.
I pose us each the question, “If we are the last one left on earth that believes in God, will we be able to keep the faith?” I pray we are able. I love you each and hope your hearts are comforted, and that your temple is overflowing with the presence and love of God this Easter. I was listening to this song in the car a year ago. All of a sudden I had a vision of Jesus. He wasn’t meek and lowly like we think of Him in scripture. He was a warrior and King. The wind was blowing and swirling his robe and hair. His eyes shone with white flames in them and He was saddling and mounting a brilliant white horse. He mounted the horse and took off galloping across the sky. He was coming to get us. I don’t know when that will be, but I know He will. Whether we see Him come for us all at once or each individually, He will come. Emmanuel, our God is with us always.