2012-02-16 - A Dwelling Place
Eph 2:22 In Him [and in fellowship with one another] you yourselves also are being built up [into this structure] with the rest, to form a fixed abode (dwelling place) of God in (by, through) the Spirit. (AMP)
Over time mankind has built many kinds of buildings from simple grass huts, to castles, to the Pyramids and massive modern skyscrapers. There are buildings in America that date back to colonial times and beyond. There are others built by Native Americans that go back thousands of years. In Europe and Asia there are buildings that have stood for more than a thousand years with great care. The massive stone structures on the Giza Plateau have stood for millenia. One thing that they all have in common is the fight against the ages of time and the elements.
As individual Christians the Holy Spirit dwells within us as the promise, or down payment, of things to come in eternity. He is the helper that Jesus promised us. The third person of the Trinity has made His home in our hearts. Like homes that group together we become a community, or individual bricks and planks are assembled to create a larger structure. The New American Standard Bible translates the phrase "growing into a holy temple" - a place of worship set apart for a special purpose.
There is one thing about growing as a Christian. The longer you walk the path the more you realize how far from being an imitator of Christ you are. The more perfection is mentally grasped, the more fragile and small our own abilities appear. But here we are seeing God's thoughts through Paul to the Ephesian Christians - and down through time to us. There are places we should be able to go for comfort when we stumble that include Jesus first and foremost. Sometimes it's hard and flesh and blood sitting in front of you that you know is easier A true friend will accept you no matter what you have to tell them and pray for you. In that moment the friend becomes a "type of Christ" or a picture of our Savior.
There is one wooden temple in China that I have seem pictures of that is estimated at 1,600 years old. Surely almost every part of this ancient structure has been replaced over that time. It is not unlike us in that Christ will rebuild us over the time of our lives as we walk with Him. But the fellowship mentioned at the beginning of the verse is so important. Without it we are walking and struggling along in our own strength and the damaged pieces are not mended.
If you've ever had to sit in front of someone and explain that you've sinned, maybe even against them it can be difficult to even utter the words. When that friend reaches out and lets you know they still accept you the relief is tremendous. If you don't know what I mean live long enough and you will - promise. Close your eyes and put the Lord in the place of that friend. In either case there may still be consequences to deal with, but your friend and the Lord still are part of your fellowship replacing the damaged parts. And the building that is your heart and spiritual life will be stronger because of it.
Lord - Thank You for your forgiveness, and the Spirit that helps guide us. Amen.
Grace & Peace,