The Inner Sanctuary
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own. (1 Corinthians 6:19, NIV)
I grew up, and still consider myself to be, a public golfer. Matter of fact, I learned to play the game on a small nine-hole public course four miles outside of a town of 2,000 people. We had a pro shop and a restaurant, but no locker rooms. When I had the opportunity to play at the private country clubs, I always felt a little nervous walking into the exclusive enclave of the women’s locker room.
As I think about being the dwelling place of God’s presence, I feel both awe and fear.Still today, after entering hundreds of locker rooms around the world, I still feel the distant questions hidden in my gut, “Do I really belong in here?”
The truth is that locker rooms are exclusive—PGA Pros Only, LPGA Pros Only, Members Only. On tour, the locker room provides a private space for the professionals to prepare for the day or unwind at the end of play. Only people with an “All Access” credential may enter. These same locker rooms are also the Members Only zones the other 51 weeks of the year, functioning the same way: providing an inner sanctuary for members to gather throughout any given day.
When the Lord gave Moses instructions to build a tabernacle, a place for him to dwell among his people, he included an inner sanctuary called the Holy of Holies; in Hebrew it’s called the qodesh. The ark of the covenant resided in this inner sanctuary and was exclusively accessed by the High Priest once a year, on the Day of Atonement. The temple we are most familiar with is Herod’s Temple in Jerusalem, which also had a Holy of Holies; the Greek word is naos. The same exclusive rules applied to enter—the High Priest, once a year.
Then one day everything changed. When Jesus said, “It is finished,” and the veil tore in two, the naos no longer was an exclusive inner sanctuary. God’s presence became inclusive to all who would believe in Jesus’ name.
Later, when Paul wrote that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit, the word he used for temple is naos. We aren’t the outer court or the priest court, we are God’s Holy of Holies, his naos.
As I think about being the dwelling place of God’s presence, I feel both awe and fear. Awe because God would choose to fill the heart and soul of me, a sinner, with his very presence. And fear toward bearing the responsibility of honoring the Lord well with all my heart, all my soul, and all my strength. Without grace this would be impossible.
Jesus is the only credential we need to enter God’s naos, and I pray we all will carry his inclusive presence inside the locker rooms we inhabit.
November 10, 2016
Copyright 2016 Links Players International