As Christians we tend to want the best for God. We want Him to be portrayed in a great light. We want all to see God for who He is. We want God to touch all hearts. Most of all we want God to be present in our churches and glorified as Lord.
Just how do we make the Lord look good? We have beautiful tabernacles, altars, and sanctuaries. We decorate these places with flowers, incense, beautiful paintings, stain glass windows and much much more. We make sure our churches are far from simple, we make them lavish and gorgeous, pleasing to the eye, and soothing to all those who enter this holy place. We ensure the acoustics are perfect for our choirs to sing God’s praises. We adorn our clergy with beautiful robes. We decorate with candles and gold accessories.
While these things are all good, if we don’t allow God into our soul, then we may be missing the point. Check out this story from I Chronicles…
I Chronicles 17:1-5 When David was settled in his palace, he summoned Nathan the prophet. “Look,” David said, “I am living in a beautiful cedar palace, but the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant is out there under a tent!” 2 Nathan replied to David, “Do whatever you have in mind, for God is with you.” 3 But that same night God said to Nathan, 4 “Go and tell my servant David, ‘This is what the Lord has declared: You are not the one to build a house for me to live in. 5 I have never lived in a house, from the day I brought the Israelites out of Egypt until this very day. My home has always been a tent, moving from one place to another in a Tabernacle. 6 Yet no matter where I have gone with the Israelites, I have never once complained to Israel’s leaders, the shepherds of my people. I have never asked them, “Why haven’t you built me a beautiful cedar house?”’ 7 “Now go and say to my servant David, ‘This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies has declared: I took you from tending sheep in the pasture and selected you to be the leader of my people Israel. 8 I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have destroyed all your enemies before your eyes. Now I will make your name as famous as anyone who has ever lived on the earth! 9 And I will provide a homeland for my people Israel, planting them in a secure place where they will never be disturbed. Evil nations won’t oppress them as they’ve done in the past, 10 starting from the time I appointed judges to rule my people Israel. And I will defeat all your enemies. “‘Furthermore, I declare that the Lord will build a house for you—a dynasty of kings! 11 For when you die and join your ancestors, I will raise up one of your descendants, one of your sons, and I will make his kingdom strong. 12 He is the one who will build a house—a temple—for me. And I will secure his throne forever. 13 I will be his father, and he will be my son. I will never take my favor from him as I took it from the one who ruled before you. 14 I will confirm him as king over my house and my kingdom for all time, and his throne will be secure forever.’” 15 So Nathan went back to David and told him everything the Lord had said in this vision.
David wanted to show God how much he love Him. He wanted God to live in a place as beautiful as his own home. Yet, God tells Nathan not to allow David to do that. The only one who can make a beautiful home for Him is His son.
The only one who can make the appropriate temple for God is Jesus. Jesus was sent to glorify God in all His splendor. Jesus didn’t do this with flowers, decorations and gold. Jesus did this with his actions and words. Jesus himself glorified God with his heart. He gave it all to God, and so was worthy of building God’s temple.
We need to decorate our hearts for God – better than we decorate the church. We need to allow God to enter our bodies (heart and soul) and by doing so we will show His glory and splendor better than any decorated sanctuary. The beauty of God lies within us. The power to glorify God is our choice. We can choose to cover Him up by our sins, or we can choose to light Him up with our Christ-like words and actions.
Mark 4:21-22 Jesus said to his disciples, “Is a lamp brought in to be placed under a bushel basket or under a bed, and not to be placed on a lampstand? For there is nothing hidden except to be made visible; nothing is secret except to come to light.