“Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up!” John 2:19
These were the words spoken by Jesus in reference to himself. His body, a holy vessel, was about to be crucified and Jesus was letting his listeners know that it would be raised again by the power of God. As believers in Christ, our bodies are considered to be the temple of the holy spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16). God therefore expects us to honor our bodies by presenting ourselves pure and blameless before Him. Anytime we put a harmful substance in our bodies, whether it be physical, spiritual, or emotional, we grieve the Holy Spirit and are in need of God’s restorative power. As the son of God, Jesus is the only man to walk on our planet who was without sin, even though he was tempted in every way (Hebrews 4:15). It’s because of his resurrection, though, that you can have restoration of your own. He has the ability to raise you back up no matter how vast the destruction is!
Throughout the bible, when his temple was destroyed, God commanded for it to be rebuilt carefully and with better standards than before. A man named Nehemiah was called by God to fulfill this purpose regarding God’s temple in Jerusalem. We can learn a few truths as it pertains to our own bodies, the temples of the Holy Spirit, from the way in which Nehemiah handled this project of paramount significance.
1. Generosity. One of the first things Nehemiah set in place was the collection of tithes and offerings. When God is at the center of your life, you realize that everything belongs to him and that he should therefore be honored in this way. The Israelites were grateful for the work that God’s priests, Levites, and worship leaders did in the temple and gratefully supplied them with food on a daily basis to show their appreciation, as well. Generously honoring God and honoring others are crucial elements needed to sustain a powerful, God-pleasing temple.
2. Godly productivity. Whenever a negative habit or behavior is eliminated, a healthier alternative must be given to take its place. If this doesn’t occur, then the old behavior will quickly resurface simply by default. In the book of Nehemiah (13:30), when God’s people dishonored him with their poor decisions, he made sure to “purge out everything foreign (a.k.a. not of God) and assigned tasks to the priests and Levites, making certain that each knew his work.” As such, anyone who worshipped other Gods or who were considered God’s enemies were not allowed into the temple. Like Nehemiah, you must understand that getting involved with the wrong people or the wrong things will cause you to be unfruitful with the work/purpose God has called you to. It will chip away at your temple and prevent it from being built to completion. But when you surround yourself with the right people and focus on doing good works, the Lord will restore you from the inside out. He always honors faithfulness!
3. Stringent security. Upon learning of tradesmen selling in the temple on the Sabbath, Nehemiah rebuked them for profaning God’s holy day and shut the gates starting the night before until after the Sabbath ended (Nehemiah 17-19). And he didn’t stop there. Nehemiah was so filled with righteous indignation that he assigned guards to stay in front of the gates to keep these dishonorable men from entering. Still determined to make money, the tradesmen went so far as to camp in front of the gate, awaiting the slightest opportunity to sneak in. But Nehemiah was not about to compromise in this area. He knew how serious God was about rebuilding his temple and didn’t want to allow anything to jeopardize its fullest potential. He threatened to arrest the men if they stayed camping nearby, which finally caused them to comply with the new standard.
Is there an area of your life in need of restoration? Are there new standards that need to be enforced? God desires a rebuilding of the temple he has given you. He desires to help you reach your fullest potential without any hindrances. Remember to honor him with your decisions, stay focused on the tasks he gives you, and guard your progress every step of the way. You can trust him with the rest!