Friday, January 30, 2015

DEVOTION: Temple Lives ~ by Karen Rees

In both the Old and the New Testament times the temple was the center of Jewish worship. Through Moses, God gave specific instructions about how to build it, what sacrifices to offer and when and how to offer them. Under the old covenant the temple was where God dwelt. This made it holy because God was holy.

In Jesus' day, Jews from all over the Roman Empire journeyed to Jerusalem to worship God in the temple. Rather than bringing the necessary sacrifices with them, they would buy what they needed in Jerusalem. Unfortunately this business developed a problem that dishonored God. Both the money changers and the sellers of sacrificial animals were cheating their customers. Also the buying and selling was being carried on in the temple courts themselves and disrupting worship.

On at least one occasion Jesus refused to allow such disrespect for God to continue. He drove out those who were buying and selling. He wanted the temple to be the place of worship intended in the old covenant. (Mark 11:15-17)

But, with Jesus' death and resurrection, the old covenant ended. Forty years later the temple belonging to that covenant was destroyed by the Romans just as Jesus had predicted. By then, God had established a new covenant and had chosen a new temple where he is to be worshiped.

We Christians are that temple and now his Holy Spirit lives in us. (1 Cor 3:16) Now we are the ones to either honor or dishonor God by what we allow to happen in our temple.

When we become Christians, we are new creations in God's sight. But, just as the old temple had a problem, our new temple has a problem. It's filled with our old bad habits. Jesus cleansed the temple in Jerusalem. He is willing to help us cleanse our temple.

Christ wants us to be free from covetousness, anger, gossip, envy, greed, self-centeredness and all the habits of the old self that pollute our temple and interfere with our daily worship of God.

Unfortunately it isn't enough merely to allow the Holy Spirit to clean house once. Temples, like houses, only stay clean with continual effort. Every day we need to be on guard against all the bad habits and God-dishonoring thoughts that want to dirty our temple and disrupt our worship.

We are the place where God dwells. Are we honoring God by cooperating with the Holy Spirit to keep our temple clean of wrong thoughts and actions? Are we daily maintaining an attitude of praise and worship? If not, what do we need to let Jesus drive out?

KAREN REES, with her second-generation missionary husband Benjamin, has served in Hong Kong since 1975. Besides her involvement in the mission work, Karen loves history, quilting and writing. They have two children, Matthew and Megan, and two grand-children, Hadessah and Arthur Aaron.

Her historical fiction novel, The Ruby Ring, won a Finalist Award in the 2014 National Indie Excellence Awards in the Religious Fiction category. It can be purchased in paperback or eBook from and many other online bookstores.

Visit Karen on her author page on Facebook. Watch her book trailer, The Ruby Ring Trailer.


  1. Thanks for this timel reminder, Karen. Have a great week.

  2. This is a great analogy because it is easy to remember. We are temples that need to be maintained regularly by the Holy Spirit, the way we need to keep on top of our household chores. When you let your house go a week (or two), the dust and dirt is plain as day. Think of how we look to God and the people we love when we let bad thoughts build up! Thanks, Karen!

  3. Great reminder, Karen. And I know only too well I have to daily be nourished through reading the Word of Life and spending time in meditation and praying for the strength, will and love for Christ to want to keep that temple clean. I'm so glad Jesus knew how much we regularly need to take stock of our temple when He gave us the Lord's supper/Communion to remember how much we are loved. Thank you, Karen.

  4. Thanks for the comments. This devotion is a good reminder to me also.