A few years ago, my husband and I were riding to an appointment when we passed by an old country church in disrepair.
When I looked at the dingy, white paint and the wooden boards barely hanging on, I felt sorry for the members.
I reasoned that they must lack the resources needed to fix up the building.
Fast forward to the following Sunday at my own church.
I was having a great time in praise and worship. I had my hands lifted and was singing to the Lord when He suddenly flashed a picture of that old, broken-down church in my mind.
Then He asked me a convicting question:
“Do you think that I receive the worship of the people in that old church any less than I would the members of the fanciest church in town – if they worshipped Me from the heart?”
Pause and think about that.
To my shame, I realized that I had no need to feel sorry for the members of the country church – if they were fulfilling the purpose of that church, which is to worship the Lord from the heart and glorify Him in body and Spirit.
If they were doing that, then in God’s eyes the dingy paint and the hanging boards did not matter.
Most of us have heard the saying “Your body is a temple,” which comes from 1 Corinthians 6:19-20.
But have you done a heart check lately to ensure that you are focusing more on the purpose of your body rather than on its outward appearance?
Are you worshiping the Lord from the heart daily and glorifying Him in body and Spirit?
Or are you focusing more on re-painting and shaping up the outside?
While there is nothing wrong with ensuring that your body looks good and is in good repair (I’ll talk more about the repair part later), you want to be sure that you have your priorities in the right order.
Through this experience, God taught me one more important lesson using the old church as an example.
I mentioned that the church appears to be in poor condition, so the members must ensure that the building is in good repair so that the worship inside is not hindered.
Let’s say that the old church was not paying its electric bill. Now the electric company does not care that the people inside worship the Lord in Spirit and truth. They just want to be paid for services rendered.
So in spite of the members’ salvation, the electric company still turns off the power.
Now suppose this happened in the middle of a heat wave with temperatures over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Do you think the excessive heat in the building would impact the people’s ability to worship?
As Jesus said to the disciples when they falling asleep, even though He asked them to pray with him (see Matthew 26:40-41),
…The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Even though the people in the old church might have wanted to worship the Lord with all their heart, part of their minds would have been pre-occupied with how hot it was, creating a distraction from their purpose!
So that is why it is important that you take care of your body, ensuring that it doesn’t fall into poor condition due to neglect.
Think of eating healthy as paying your bills and exercise as necessary maintenance.
Unfortunately, too many of us try to dodge our bills in this area. We try to pay our bills with counterfeit money (like a regular diet of junk or fast food).
Then, we act surprised when the bill collectors of low energy, inability to focus, or disease come calling.
Check yourself right now and ask:
Am I performing the necessary maintenance on my body to ensure the worship inside is unhindered?
Are my bills being paid?
If you are not, then ask the Lord to show you what tasks are being neglected and how you can start practicing faithful stewardship of His temple.
From a natural standpoint, it would be nice to see the old church repaired and re-painted on the outside and have sincere worship on the inside. But if they have to prioritize things, here are the right priorities from my view:
1. Worshiping the Lord from the Heart and glorifying Him.
2. Ensuring the church stays in good repair and bills are paid so that isn’t hindered.
3. Fixing up the outside.
With right priorities, you too can ensure that your body’s purpose is fulfilled and that you can worship the Lord with a clear mind and a joyful heart.
Author of the Take Back Your Temple program
P.S. Are you struggling with the challenges of emotional eating? Many people with eating issues know what to do but have a hard time doing it. That is where you need a community that supports each other!