Daily Dose of Courage – 28 March 2020

In this season of social distancing for many, and shelter in place orders for others, as we all try to fight for faith in the face of COVID-19, I decided to share one thought a day from my daily devotional time in the hope of strengthening other’s hands in God (1 Sam 23:16), and encouraging friends forward in faith. You can subscribe at the bottom of the page to receive an email for each new post, and feel free to come back daily and share with anyone who might find them beneficial.

I use a reading plan that has me reading a few chapters in different parts of the Scripture for every day of the week, and so each day’s content will be dictated by the required daily reading of that plan. I will focus in on one unit of thought rather than trying to address the full scope of the day’s reading. I am trusting God that He will speak from different parts of His Word, as He always does.

Enjoy.

Saturday, March 28

Reading: 1 Corinthians 3-5

16 Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? 

 — 1 Co 3:16.

I have been a pastor in a church for fifteen years. One of the things that has troubled me for most of that time is how I am supposed to care for everyone in the congregation in a meaningful way? How can I make sure they all feel loved? How can I ensure they are all being discipled? How can I ensure that they are living lives of holiness and growing in the fruit of the Spirit?

This tension is obviously exacerbated by (though not exclusive to) a large church. We tend then to rely very heavily on momentary impact, big Sundays, a-ha moment sermons and magical worship experiences. All of those things are wonderful, but they do little to quiet my discomfort at how I am actually supposed to be with the people I am charged to care for.

How can I be with all of them? I can’t. And I am not supposed to. My job is to do my part and to trust the Holy Spirit who dwells within the people of God. This is part of Paul’s introductory argument to the church in Corinth. They were obsessed with their spiritual leaders, while not being aware of how the Spirit could lead them! Paul tells them that both he and Apollos were really nothing but servants doing the little that they could. God alone could provide the growth. He then segued  his argument to start focusing on how the Corinthians needed to take their own holiness more seriously with this remarkable statement.

16 Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?

 — 1 Co 3:16.

He phrases it as a question but it has an obvious answer. “Do you not know?” is a polite way of saying, “You really don’t know.” And, what they didn’t know was that the dwelling place of God was now with men! Their hope no longer lay in going to the temple, their hope lay in the fact that the temple had come to them, and that the God of the universe wasn’t content to dwell among them, but now lived in them!

Friends … “do you not know?” You are God’s temple and God’s Spirit dwells in you! That has some implications if we believe it. Here are a few, though there are many more.

  1. We must pursue holiness because we are God’s temple, and He is Holy.
  2. We can pursue holiness and experience increasing victory in your fight against sin because God’s Spirit dwells within us!
  3. We can feel God’s comfort in any season, because He is within us! Not even extreme isolation can keep Him from comforting us as a close friend.
  4. We can experience God’s power, because the same miraculous power that raised Jesus from the dead now lives in us (Romans 8:11).
  5. We can be led by God’s wisdom because He lives within us. Ask Him what you should do.

Oh dear friends, we are learning painfully in this season how much we need each other and how precious and sacred the gathering of the saints is. I am more committed than ever to the biblical concept of the gathered church…

AND…

I think God is pushing us apart for a season, in part, to teach us of the power of the Spirit at work in each of us. Don’t flee from this work. If you are a Christian, then you are God’s temple, and God’s Holy Spirit dwells in you! Get to know Him in this season apart, so that when we gather again we see the fruits of all that collective faith and zeal.

Courage, dear friends.
Ross

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