Sanctuary

I’m in the kitchen making dinner, and suddenly I feel little hands clinging to my legs and hear voices squeal. Quickly I become the middle spoke of a make-shift merry-go-round as my daughter seeks protection from her big brother, who is trying to retrieve a toy she took from him.

I am Lauren’s sanctuary. She might not always get what she wants when she runs and puts her arms around me, but she knows I am her mom, I love her and she has a better chance of dodging her quicker and stronger brother when she stays close to me.

Jackson and Lauren love to play together. They also are skilled at pestering each other!

Many people may think of a sanctuary as a safe place to escape harm. Church attendees and members may think of the place where a worship service is held, where the choir sings and the pastor preaches on a Sunday morning.

While reading the Bible this morning, this verse reverberated in my heart:

Don’t you yourselves know that you are God’s sanctuary and that the Spirit of God lives in you?

–  1 Corinthians 3:16

Some versions of this verse use the word “temple” for sanctuary. Either way, the imagery is beautifully convicting.

I am God’s sanctuary and the Spirit of God lives in me.

Say that aloud. Say it again.

I am God’s sanctuary and the Spirit of God lives in me.

I am to be that safe place where my husband and children and friends and family and others can come to and feel God’s presence. I should be a person others can trust to find the God who can give them true peace. My life should be filled by the worship of the Living God, just as the smoke filled the temple as Solomon dedicated it to the Lord. My words and actions should proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ, convicting the lost and edifying the saints.

So how do we deal with the fact that too often we hold God at bay because of the ripped upholstery on the pews, snagged carpet and dingy lighting in our hearts? We judge others, privately sin and cover it up in public, harbor hate and jealousy, struggle with pride and too often feel altogether unworthy.

Yet, as Christians, we are God’s sanctuary and the Spirit of God lives in us.

Perhaps we need to be reminded that the primary purpose of a sanctuary is to meet with God. It is a place where sins are forgiven and lives can be changed through the Holy Spirit transforming our minds, attitudes and outlook. God will never deny a broken heart and a contrite spirit. There is nothing more beautiful to Him than a person crying out for forgiveness and accepting God’s plan and position of son or daughter. Even the Prodigal Son received new robes and a feast upon His return. His dirty, stained rags were exchanged, and so will our ripped pews when we humble ourselves before the Lord and ask Him to renew His purpose in our lives.

Our world, our communities and our families are in desperate need of sanctuaries. Become the sanctuary God intends for you to be, a place where the very Spirit of God lives unhindered and free to extend grace to those who need it most, including you and me.

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