S78P9 – Laid on the altar: our autonomy

1 Cor. 3:16-17

Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.

That tiny country had been doing well on its own for centuries, or at least that was how it seemed.  Minor disagreements with neighboring territories were common, but major conflicts never arose.  That political landscape, however, had begun to change, and that little nation recognized that it no longer could survive on its own.  Joining a larger kingdom for security and longevity meant opening the gates and letting that kingdom establish a home within its borders.  The tiny country now dwelt inside that kingdom, and representatives of that kingdom would dwell inside that country.  It would be independent no more.

We can consider ourselves a kind of embassy for the kingdom of God. When we sign up with Jesus, we lose our independence, our autonomy. The Spirit of God along with his kingdom then dwell within us, establishing a home within these temples.  We cannot join God’s kingdom without opening the gates and allowing that kingdom to dwell within our borders.  At the same time, we then dwell within that kingdom.  It might seem like a paradox that we are in it while it is in us, and that God himself resides in us through his Spirit, but that is the reality for the saints.  What more can we give than to submit to God living inside us and to sacrifice our very being and our independence? In doing that we recognize that we are no longer ours and no longer stand alone.

If we think about it, the sacrifice of our autonomy is no sacrifice at all. Holding on to the reins ourselves and maintaining control of this chaos we call life only leads to certain death.  The only way we can gain life is to lose what we have and allow God to lead us.  His dwelling within us drives home exactly how much we must sacrifice for him.  We give so much that He actually comes inside and occupies our deepest and most secret places.  We really do put everything that we are on the altar for him to use according to his will.  Father, remind us that we are your dwelling place and that we have committed to give our very innermost being to You for your will and your purposes.