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Are You Caring for Your “Temple”?

by Brian F. Kaidannek with Samuel C. Baxter

A fuller understanding of I Corinthians 6:19 will forever change how you view your health.

The glory of the Temple built by Solomon, king of Israel and son of David, has been acknowledged throughout the world. It was not tall like a skyscraper or as large as a sprawling shopping mall, but all would marvel today at the quality and quantity of precious materials that went into its construction.

Both I Kings 5 and I Chronicles 22 list the resources that King David gathered and to which Solomon later added. There were unbelievably massive stones for the foundation—cedar trees, iron and brass without measure—7.5 million pounds of gold and 75.4 million pounds of silver. These items, among others used, were the purest and highest quality available.

In his Antiquities of the Jews, first-century historian Flavius Josephus recorded that there were at least 300,000 solid golden items that furnished the structure, and twice as many made from pure silver.

The walls, floors and ceiling inside the building were overlaid with fine gold. It was blinding in its glory.

Undoubtedly, the Temple’s grandeur would have made it a perfect target for thieves and vandals if left unguarded. On top of this, it was God’s house on Earth, which meant it would have been even more important to keep it safe and well-maintained.

King David wisely made plans to ensure it was guarded and cleaned. How important were these duties to him? Forty-eight thousand men were appointed to help the priests with their daily responsibilities. Of these workers, who were known as Levites and worked in rotating shifts, 4,000 were porters, or gatekeepers (I Chron. 23:5).

The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary defined the Levites as a kind of “royal guard”: “When the people [of Israel] settled in Canaan it was the duty of the Levites, acting as police, to guard the sanctuary, to open and close it, to look after the cleaning of it and the furniture…to assist the priests in slaughtering and skinning the animals for sacrifice, to examine the lepers according to law, to look after the Temple supplies, and so on.” They also made sure no unclean person or thing entered the Temple complex.

Imagine the level of care, precision and thought that went into the maintenance of this physical building. The priests and Levites would have worked tirelessly in their tasks.

Yet this subject is not a mere history lesson. It has much to do with us today. Read I Corinthians 6: “What? Know you not that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which you have of God, and you are not your own?” (vs. 19).

This is an astonishing statement! Our bodies were designed to be a temple for God’s Spirit.

In Galatians, the apostle Paul expands on this fact: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me…” (2:20).

Another astonishing statement!

Jesus Christ dwells within Christians. Because of this, we can learn much from how priests and Levites cared for the ancient Temple—and, in turn, better fulfill our duty to maintain the temples that are our bodies.

Our Temples

During the time of Solomon’s Temple, it was easy to tell that God dwelled there. The account in II Chronicles 7 makes this clear. The chapter begins just after the king’s prayer during the dedication service: “Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the Lord filled the house…And when all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the Lord upon the house, they bowed themselves with their faces to the ground upon the pavement, and worshipped, and praised the Lord, saying, For He is good; for His mercy endures forever” (vs. 1-3).

Today, it is not as easy to see God’s presence in us. There is no fire that comes down from heaven to indicate the Holy Spirit is within us. Also, passersby cannot take one look at us and see that the “glory of the Lord” fills us.

Because of this and the natural tendency of the human mind to forget, we must regularly remind ourselves of the importance of caring for our fleshly temples.

This duty takes on additional meaning when considering that God wants to serve others through us. Just as the Temple in Jerusalem was used to serve all the people of Israel, so too we should use our bodies for the good of helping others. Yet we cannot fully be used if we are ill or weak due to poor health choices.

As we strive to live the give way of life—giving our time, talents and resources to others—it is our duty to meticulously care for our temples.

God’s Part and Ours

Similar to the first Temple, the human body was designed to be an incredible structure. Instead of being made of stone, however, it is a marvel of biological engineering. It was ingeniously created to be powerfully resilient. Well-maintained, it will heal and repair itself and exhibit vibrant health. In Psalms 139:14, King David called it “fearfully and wonderfully made.”

God did His part in creating us. Therefore, we must work to maintain what He has placed in our care. A crucial part of this process is being a vigilant gatekeeper of what we allow into our bodies. In other words, we must watch what we eat.

In today’s world, this charge is incredibly difficult. Western diets saturated with processed sugars, white flour, and salt—64-ounce soft drinks and burgers with 240 calories from fat—are the norm.

The bad results from this diet are evident: adult-onset diabetes, cancer, lethargy—and a host of other ailments and chronic conditions simply too many to list—have all been linked in one way or another to diet and poor health practices.

Adding to this are genetically modified foods and their harmful effects. If you have not already done so, read the book Mounting Worldwide Crisis in Agriculture. It clearly states the problem of today’s farming practices, which produce poor-quality foods.

It behooves us to use the tools available to research and educate ourselves about what foods we should eat and what we should avoid. If we allow inferior food into our bodies, it will break down our immune systems and cause disease and other physical ailments.

Conversely, by allowing only good food into our bodies, we can maintain radiant health that rivals the shimmering gold of the Temple!

Just as the Levites were tasked to keep God’s house clean, so too should we cleanse our bodies. One of the most important ways to do this is by drinking enough water. Pure, clean water hydrates and energizes us. It lubricates, restores and purges toxins from our bodies.

Other crucial ways to keep our temples clean are through ensuring we sleep enough and exercise. Both of these also flush toxins from our systems. They can be likened to regular maintenance of our temples. If these two crucial tasks are not performed, then our bodies will soon show signs of wear and tear—and ultimately break down.

Two Ditches

The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary mentions another task of the Levites that applies to caring for our health. It explains that they “were to preserve the law of [God] in all its integrity and purity, to see that its requirements were duly complied with, to dispense justice in accordance with its enactments, and to transmit it to posterity [future generations]…”

In other words, the Levites were to know the laws of God and make sure they were applied in a correct, balanced manner. Similarly, we need to make sure we apply the principles of healthful living without going to either of two extremes: a nitpicky, overbearing approach to all things healthy—or a laissez-faire attitude that it does not matter what you eat or if you exercise.

Physical Israel fell into both extremes intermittently. The first ditch can be likened to the Pharisees during Jesus Christ’s life. They created 613 additional laws in a human attempt to be even more righteous than those who kept God’s Law alone. This religious sect self-righteously looked down on all who did not comply with their manmade rules.

When first learning about God’s health principles, some go overboard and unwisely purchase items that do not fit into their budgets such as an overabundance of organic products, a high-end fruit and vegetable juicer, or an elaborate home gym. Instead, individuals should start applying these principles wherever possible—and diligently work toward improving their health over time.

Others can become entangled in fringe health ideas and practices that do not have a lot of backing and border on conspiratorial. Such people will often foist their ideas upon anyone who will listen.

Sometimes those taking a Pharisaical approach have a legitimate point, but they bring up topics through snide comments: “You are going to eat that?” or “You know that the honey you are using is pasteurized. I only eat 100 percent organic raw honey that is unheated, unfiltered and unprocessed—harvested from humanely treated bees.” Raw honey is beneficial for you, but there is never any reason to belittle another person because of it.

While it is good to be careful with your health, be sure to avoid any self-righteous tendencies.

The other extreme can be seen in the example of King Manasseh of Judah. He led the nation of Israel deep into paganism and worshiping false gods. He erected altars for Baal, and made a wooden image of Asherah to place in the Temple. He instituted the worship of the stars and even built altars for them in the two courts of God’s House.

Similarly, if we lower our guard, we can fall into wrong health habits. A few visits to a fast food restaurant can quickly turn into a regular occurrence. Cutting corners on sleep can become a way of life. Over time, a sedentary lifestyle becomes harder to change into an active one.

Yet, for both ditches, remember Romans 14: “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit” (vs. 17).

Without God’s help, human nature will lead us to be unbalanced. Satan is thrilled any time a Christian is distracted by his health or lack thereof to the point that it becomes a religion. This can be either through an “anything goes” attitude—to the point of eating food becoming an idol of the heart (Ezek. 14:4)—or a stoic and self-righteous adherence to healthful living principles.

Be wary of both ditches!

We all have different budgets and live in different environments. We can only do so much. Therefore, we should never judge one another in food or drink. We all must look to our own selves and our own habits—not what others are doing.

The guiding principle for all things in health is moderation. Philippians 4:5 states, “Let your moderation be known unto all men.”

Also bring to mind Jeremiah 17:9: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”

We can fool ourselves into thinking we are doing just fine with our diets and overall lifestyles. Yet it is necessary to honestly examine our actions and be balanced.

Take Action!

What should you do if you realize that your temple has become run down, out of shape, overweight or sickly?

The answer comes in the example of King Josiah of Judah, the grandson of wicked Manasseh. Josiah began reigning at a young age and knew nothing about God’s Way until he discovered the book of the covenant in Jerusalem. Knowing his nation had veered down the wrong path, he ordered a campaign to purge all traces of paganism and idolatry from the nation.

In II Kings 23, King Josiah commanded the priests and Levites “to bring forth out of the temple of the Lord all the vessels that were made for Baal, and for the grove, and for all the host of heaven” (vs. 4). Verses 14-23 recount how Josiah “broke,” “cut,” “burned,” “stomped,” “took away,” and “slew” everyone and anything that had to do with paganism and the occult—anything that had been desecrating the Temple.

During Josiah’s reign, the Temple was repaired and Israel turned back to the God of their fathers. Look at the wonderful report the king received in God’s Word: “And like unto him was there no king before him, that turned to the Lord with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the law of Moses; neither after him arose there any like him” (II Kings 23:25).

We also have temples in our charge. If we, like Josiah, find that our temples have fallen into disrepair, we must restore them using health laws God has given us.

Realize that this may take some time as we are often battling years of neglect. Yet the results of our efforts can be radiant health and abundant energy—meaning we can serve God’s Work and others more fully.

Standing in the Way?

Solidify the analogy in your mind. The human body was created to be a temple for the Holy Spirit. Also, Jesus Christ wants to live a perfect life through you. During His physical time on Earth, He made clear how He felt about Temple upkeep.

Notice Mark 11: “…Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves; and would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple” (vs. 15-16).

Jesus refused to tolerate any untoward practices occurring in the Temple court. In this case, it was those seeking monetary gain from sacrifices. Christ took serious action when He saw it occurring.

He “cast out them that sold and bought.” The Greek definition for the phrase “cast out” paints the picture for this scene. The word is ekballo and Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament definition includes “to expel,” “to command or cause one to depart in haste,” and “to draw out with force.”

Imagine the passion that was involved in this scene. Jesus gripped the tables and overturned them, coins flying through the air. He wrenched seats away from those selling doves. He barred—“would not suffer”—any such activity from continuing.

This is the God Being living in you!

This same God wants to live through you. Will you stand in His way by continuing in unhealthful practices? Or will you help, removing and driving out the problems from your physical temple?

We must do what we can with the resources we have available to us to build and maintain healthy bodies. Doing so means that we can fully serve God and others.

A perfect place to start is by reading or reviewing the booklet God’s Principles of Healthful Living. It addresses in detail the many biblical principles on how to obtain or regain vibrant health.

From this day forward, strive to dutifully guard what food comes into your body. Perform regular maintenance with sleep and exercise. Do not let yourself become too lax or too strict with your health practices. Allow Jesus Christ to live through you.

At all times, care for your temple!