House of Garbage
1 Corinthians 3:16 Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?
A few years ago, our family vacationed in Missouri, where we rented a cabin, which looked nice enough online. We realized the first night that a raccoon lived in the roof, but we stayed as it did not appear to pose any danger to us. The second night, as I heard running water, I looked up to see what I assumed was rain, running down the wagon-wheel chandelier, onto the bed. As I cupped my hands, catching it to protect the bed, I realized that it was not raining out. Then, the smell hit me, confirming that it was not rainwater in my hands. My wife immediately started packing. That place was just gross. *
Though I am not known for my neatness, I do prefer sanitary living conditions. I very much enjoy living in a clean environment. So, we did not stay in that cabin. No one likes sleeping in a bed soaked with raccoon urine.
It comes as some surprise to me then, that God is so intent on living inside of us. Paul, in today’s passage, said that it is none other than the spirit of God that resides in us when we come to know him. Christ’s substitutionary death on the cross so intimately restored us to God that He now fills us with his own spirit. The kingdom of God is within you (Luke 17:21).
My life has surely made a worse home than a raccoon-infested cabin. If God truly lives in me, I have poured mountains of garbage down on top of him. As I have filled myself with poison, I have subjected God himself to horrific conditions. God, living in me, has partaken in the worst of my life. This is essentially the message of the gospel.
Christ, on the cross, took all of my sin and destruction upon himself, forever liberating me from eternal consequences, saving me from myself and restoring me to God. This gift comes with the promise of freedom though and is meant to allow me to live in an intimate relationship with my creator. I am not forgiven so that I may continue on my path of destruction, polluting my body (and God) with poison. I am filled with God’s spirit so that I may pursue him instead of the poison. I am saved so that I may live in intimate communion with God in me.
I am not forgiven a little or a lot. I am either forgiven or I am not. In this sense, I cannot affect my eternal relationship to God. In the temporal reality of this life though, I can know God a little or a lot. I do not get to watch pornography or use drugs at night and then enjoy blessed intimacy with him the next morning.
Filling myself with garbage distances me from God. I can grieve his spirit (Eph. 4:30) and I can diminish it (1 Thess. 5:19). I do not change my eternal destiny, but when I pursue me, I find me, with all of my defects. When I follow God, I find joy, peace, love and fulfillment in him.
It is my responsibility to choose the life in which God dwells. Is my life a raccoon-infested cesspool, or is it a place where I can know and love God?
*If you are from Missouri, I hope you will forgive me for the story. We have wonderful family in Missouri, so, when we think of Missouri, we choose to think of them instead of the raccoon cabin.