Sanctuary

 

“Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?”

(1 Corinthians 3:16 ESV)

 

 

It has been a while since I’ve written a post on my blog.  The forty days of prayer after Easter took me to a new form of creating prayer awareness in a blog.  This was followed by a new book that I’ve written and will be published by this fall.  Of course, we have had excellent podcasts that Bryan has produced, and that has kept us connected.  But there is something about sharing timely thoughts using a blog that is special to me.  I’m glad to be back.  I hope you will be blessed.

 

This morning I heard an old song called Lord Prepare Me to Be A Sanctuary.  Here is the chorus:

 

“Lord, prepare me to be a sanctuary – Pure and holy, tried and true

With thanksgiving I’ll be a living – Sanctuary for you”

 

When I heard it I asked myself if this song is speaking of a truth.  Can God’s people actually become a sanctuary for others?  After all, a sanctuary is a place of refuge or safety in time of trouble.”  Can we be this to other people?  I think we can, if we understand that it is the Spirit of God in us that becomes a source of encouragement, nurturing, and help for others, and not our self.  As has always been the case with a sanctuary that God creates, it must be Him at the center of it.  So then, how can I be a part of this temple of His, and provide sanctuary for a person who needs it?  It is answered by the scripture above.  It is because God’s Spirit dwells within us, and our life is actually His temple.

 

I find it interesting that the first and second temples in Jerusalem had an inner chamber within it called, “The Holy of Holies.”  It was within this special place within the temple that the Spirit of God dwelled.  Because of this fact, it was a holy place … in fact it was the most holies of places because God lived there.  It was a place for sacrifice, atonement, forgiveness, restoration … a refuge for the people.  But this sanctuary ended when Jesus was crucified.  The holy of Holies was then transferred from the temples that men had built and it was moved to the Temple that Christ had built.  What Temple is that?  That would be you and me … His Church.  Get the picture?

 

My question is if this is true, then how can we be a sanctuary for others, for that is what the Holy of Holies was all about?  The answer is found with the way this sacred place was respected in the temple.  You can look into it if you are interested.  But the one emphasis that stands out to me is the absolute respect that was given to keep the Holy of Holies holy.  Even entering it was a frightening condition of ceremonial holiness for the High Priest to enter it.  Likewise, if we are to be a sanctuary for others, we must keep our hearts and souls holy as well.  What does it mean to keep our life holy?  

 

Holy defined is: dedicated or consecrated to God.”  As the Apostle Paul put it, we are to be a living sacrifice to God.  Does this mean we must live sin free lives?  If it does then none of us would make the cut.  But it does mean that we sin less.  Sinless, but not sin free, and there is a big difference with understanding holiness as it really is.  To be holy is not to be perfect.  However, it is to be consecrated – sold out – all in for Jesus, and because Jesus is sin free and holy by God’s standards of holiness, then we are made holy by His grace and relationship.  Still, like the High Priest entering the Holy of Holies, we must respect the holiness of the Holy Spirit who abides in us, by the confession and repentance of our sins.  When we do this, and when we enter into an intimate abiding relationship with Him, then the Holy Spirit’s attributes make it to the surface of our life.  When this happens guess what happens?  Not only do we sin less for it has less attraction to us, we also become a sanctuary for others, as the Holy Spirit minsters through us. 

 

As a disciple of Christ, we can be a sanctuary for the troubled people in the world who are around us.  We should be this.  We have been recreated to be this.  But, we must be holy as Christ is holy and to do this, we must learn to abide in Christ and become His sanctuary for others.