Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Dwelling with God

I'm not sure how it began...just somewhere along the line I began thinking about my body being God's dwelling place. It's so often referred to in Christian circles as "the temple" and then followed by advice about how we must take good care of our bodies. And I'm all about that.

I'm a Beachbody coach folks.

But this post isn't about our bodies.

So often, I leave it there...or go on and think about how I must persevere in my exercise program, or be sure to drink plenty of water, eat whole grains. But no, this thought was back on the whole "God dwelling in me" thing.

The God of the Universe lives in me??? What? This is certainly cause for pondering. Yet I have not pondered lately. I've kept on spinning plates and wiping noses and just generally trying to keep pace with life. But I go back to it, there it is...

God dwells in me.

What does He find there? Am I short tempered, rushing, focused on what others think of me? Do I only see messes and work? Does the God of the Universe delight in dwelling in me? Oh my. Ummmm, not sure! Better do some sweeping up!

I began to pray that He would indeed delight in what He finds here. In this inner quiet place. In the part of me that is so still that it takes great concentration to even realize that space inside exists. But oh, it does! And it's the perfect shape for God to fill. You've often heard of it referred to as a "God shaped vacuum" and that nothing in the world other than God can fill it.

So...back to this thought about me being a temple. Usually, that's about the outside of me. "I need to take care of my body so I can live well for God." But what about the INSIDE of the temple? What about the holy of holies? Best that not be the most intimate, quiet, deep place? What good is a temple if the innermost holy space is...well, busy focused on wiping noses and getting frustrated that we're late to T ball again?

The answer is: not all it could be. God can do MORE in me. I know it. I have been BUSY. Such a thing of this American culture! We fill our lives with events, programs, to-dos and achievements and we never give thought to the inner "holy of holies." Oh sure, I'm a Jesus follower...did you see what all I have done lately?


Only God and I know how deeply He dwells in the innermost part. And I'll be honest, it's not as deep as I want Him to!

My heroes are Amy Carmichael, Jim Elliot, Betsy Ten Boom and George Mueller. Brother Andrew and a young 22 year old girl alive in this day and age named Katie Davis. They all have that deep inner sanctuary filled with the deep dwelling of God. They do not advertise it. There is no need. It is deep and it is real and it is glowing.

"Lighthouses blow no horns, they only shine."  D.L. Moody

I have often wondered how my dear Amy Carmichael was able to live in the poor realities of India and yet her writings never reflect how she felt. I know now that it was because her life was so utterly focused on dwelling in that innermost place with the Lord. How was Stephen able to have a face full of joy as he was stoned to death in Acts 7 ? He too was busy dwelling with the Lord in that place.

Which leads me to another discovery. It's not just me having an inner place all prepared for my Lord--sin confessed, pure heart, ready to listen...but it's me hanging out there with Him. It's me picking up the toy for the nth time singing praises of joy in that deep place for these children. It's feeling that familiar twang of pain in my hip and rejoicing for the many steps I have been permitted to take thus far. It's me seeing evil in the world and asking my Lord for justice.

Paul talks about this dwelling with the Lord in that innermost place too:

I have learned how to get along happily whether I have much or little. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need.   Philippians 4:11-13

So there is a happiness bubbling in me. Not dependent upon what may happen to me. Not whether the kids are getting along or fighting. Not dependent upon the scale. Not dependent upon the bank account balance. Not dependent upon what my peers think about me. It's a bubbling up that is genuine joy because I am dwelling in the innermost space with the only One who fits there, and finding great, deep lasting fulfillment there!!

How is your temple? Are you keeping it holy for the Lord? Are you losing sight of what it's all about? Are you sitting in that innermost place and having tea parties with God while all the world goes on around you?

I pray you are. 

I urge you to find that inner sanctuary. And not just to clean it, but to go and dwell.  Let it be said of us that we dwelt richly with our Lord!

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