A Temple

I don’t think it is coincidence that there were three main parts to the Temple and there are three main parts to a person. The Temple had 1) the outer courts, 2) the Holy Place and 3) the Most Holy Place. Each person has 1) a body, 2) a soul and 3) a spirit. In the outer court of the Temple, blood and water brought cleansing. When Jesus gave his body on the cross, blood and water flowed from His body cleansing us from all sin.

In the Holy Place were the lampstands for light, the Bread of Presence, and the altar of incense. Our soul is comprised of our mind, will, and emotions. And the Most Holy Place was the dwelling place of the Lord. Our spirit becomes unified with the Holy Spirit as we give our life to Jesus and the Spirit comes to dwell in us (1 Corinthians 6:17). We become Temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19).

When Jesus died on the cross, the curtain separating the Most Holy Place from the Holy Place was torn in two. The point was not only that we now had access to the Presence of God but that the Presence of God wanted to bust out. The Holy Spirit wants to do the same. He doesn’t want to just dwell with your spirit, he wants you to be “filled with the Spirit”(Ephesians 5:18.) Meaning, he wants to completely saturate your soul and body.

He wants to renew your mind so that it brings light. He wants to see your will surrendered to the will of God so that it can become food/bread for your soul. Jesus said his food was to do the will of the Father (John 4:34). The Spirit wants to completely invade your emotions so that the cry of your heart aligns with God’s. Then he wants to show up in your body, purifying it with His Presence, so that it becomes an instrument of righteousness (Romans 6:13).

The Holy Spirit wants to do to your whole person what God did to Solomon’s Temple when it was dedicated. “When Solomon finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple. The priests could not enter the temple of the Lord because the glory of the Lord filled it. When all the Israelites saw the fire coming down and the glory of the Lord above the temple, they knelt on the pavement with their faces to the ground, and they worshiped”(2 Chronicles 7:1-3).

Think about these things

8Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 

Philippians 4:8

Things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, praiseworthy…this is what your mind is supposed to be focused on as a follower of Jesus. That means we need to filter what is allowed to enter our mind.

We know that if we eat healthy foods, our body will be healthier. The same is true of our mind. What we allow to enter our eyes and our ears matters. The definition of immaturity is consuming everything the world offers and thinking it won’t affect the way we think and what we think about. We are trying to teach our kids to be mindful of what they hear and what they watch. And we never grow out of this truth. When Paul was writing this to the Philippians he was writing to adults.

What you watch on Netflix, Prime, HBO or Hulu matters. It matters what you see on screens, whether they are TV, computer, or phones. It matters what conversations you choose to participate in and what conversations you walk away from. What you allow in your eyes and ears will be what your mind tends to think about. So are those things true? Are they noble? Are they pure? How about lovely or admirable? Are they excellent or praiseworthy?

Just as our computers have filters on them to block inappropriate content (or they should if they don’t already) our minds need filters. Those filters are positioned on our eyes and ears. What will we allow in? If we notice that watching or listening to something causes seeds of sin to enter our heart and mind (like lust, anger, despair, racism, gossip, envy, self-righteousness, etc) then we need to cut it out of our lives.

This is what Jesus was getting at when He said, “If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away…”(Matthew 5:29). Jesus wasn’t speaking literally as if He was promoting self-mutilation. His hyperbolic language was supposed to help us understand the severity of leaving open gateways of sin in our lives.

Practically speaking, this looks like you stop watching that show. You stop watching or listening to the news (at least in that format). You don’t read that person’s post or article on Facebook. You don’t open your computer that late at night. You put your phone down and stop scrolling through images of “picture perfect families” or undressed women. You stop joining conversations where people are talking negatively about others at work…or church.

Your mind will produce the fruit of whatever you feed it. Feed it healthy things!