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"Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you?"

1 Corinthians 3:16

Last summer I unexpectedly spent 1½ hours cleaning my screened in porch. When I first looked at my porch, and pondered the task at hand of cleaning it, I thought to myself, “This shouldn’t take too long.” My plan was to vacuum the floors, dust the furniture, and be done. At first glance, I only saw a few cobwebs and a little dust. I thought, “This will be easy.”

Yes, “easy” was my thought, until I got close enough to the floor and surfaces of the furniture, tables and chairs to see all of the dust, grime, and dog hair that had accumulated over everything. I soon realized that it had been a while since I had cleaned my porch. What I also discovered as I got close to the nooks and crannies of the room is that there were numerous spiders, bugs, and creepy crawly things that had set up their homes all over the place. It was disgusting. In every corner there was an unwanted pest lurking. And I won’t even begin to tell you about the filth I found underneath the couches. So what “looked” like an easy job turned into a 1½ hour ordeal of deep cleaning. This was not how I had planned to spend my time on a beautiful sunny day.

As I was scrubbing the railings, I was thinking about the Daniel Plan, by Rick Warren, Daniel Amen, and Mark Hyman, the book study that my church small group has decided to read. I was excited about this book as I love to be reminded on a regular basis how we as Christians should be treating our bodies, since they are Yahweh’s holy temples where his Holy Spirit dwells. The Daniel Plan is a book about healthy eating from a Biblical perspective. It is about eating foods that are whole and clean, the way God designed them to be eaten.

I thought to myself that most bodies, just like my porch, look pretty good from the outside. That is if you don’t examine them too closely. At first glance our bodies all “look” relatively healthy. However, if you examined what is going on inside of our bodies, into the nooks and crannies, you would most likely see a completely different picture.

While cleaning my porch, I thought to myself that humans actually do spend a lot of time and energy cleaning the outside of their bodies. I thought of all the soaps, shampoos, conditioners, shaving cream, and lotions that can be found in most American homes. I also thought of all the money we spend on haircuts, skin and hair treatments, pedicures and manicures, clothing, and jewelry to make our bodies look shiny, radiant and beautiful. Every day humans spend a lot of time on their outward appearances, making the outside of their temples squeaky clean.

However, I know for a fact that most people do not spend even a small portion of that same time deciding what food, or fuel, to place inside their radiant and beautiful bodies. Even though most people make food decisions three times a day, every day. I wondered how much time is spent, by the typical individual, caring about the quality of fuel that is placed into their bodies so as to keep it operating at top performance. Sadly, it is obvious that most individuals don’t care about what food they are fueling their temples with, as long as it tastes good and fills their bellies.

I wondered why this was the case. Is it because we cannot see what is going on inside of our temples that we don’t pay attention to what we place inside of it? Since we don’t see the nooks and crannies of our heart, brain, organs, blood, muscle tissue, bones and individual cells on a daily basis, is that why we take so little interest in keeping our insides clean? Is it because we don’t see the cleanliness of the inside rooms of our temples on a daily basis that we feel like we can ignore their upkeep? I believe that to be the reason. What is “out of sight,” is “out of mind.”

However, what makes not caring about what enters into the inner sanctuary of our temples dangerous is that spiders, bugs and creepy crawly things are guaranteed to be setting up their homes into the nooks and crannies of our physical bodies due to our lack of interest. And once an interior room of your temple is overrun with unwanted pests, a health crisis is sure to occur. Whether it is heart disease, diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, etc. the reason is always the same. Somehow the inside of your temple became dirty, and because of the filth, your body has stopped working as its Creator designed it.

What then becomes necessary is some serious deep cleaning. But cleaning the inside of your body, once a health crisis has occurred, isn’t quite as easy as cleaning an outside porch. When a health crisis occurs, most times you don’t even know where to start to clean up the mess, because the grime has been piling up in your cells for decades. And most times there is no quick solution that will take away the filth found in your cells. Most times, all that can be done “quickly” is to take a pill or receive a shot that hides the symptom of the filth. As a result, a deep cleaning never takes place, and the inside of your temple remains dirty.

Before cleaning my porch this past summer, I walked through it every single day prior to that. And every single day, as I saw the dust piling up, I chose to ignore what I knew was going on. It was easier that way. I could have decided to stay on top of keeping it clean every week or two, so as to prevent the filth and bugs from overrunning the place, but I didn’t. It is the same with your health. Every day, three times a day, you have a choice on what you place into your body. If you make healthy food choices, not only will you be fueling God’s temple the way he designed it to be fueled, but you will also be cleaning your bodies on the inside, because of all the water, fiber, vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and antioxidants that you will be placing inside of it. In addition, because of your healthy choices, any unwanted pests that happen to make their way into your body will be escorted out daily, before they have a chance to set up residence.

However, if you decide to ignore what you know is taking place within your body and continue to make unhealthy food choices, then you might as well plan on one day having to live with a chronic illness. It will be inevitable because the fact remains that when you consciously decide not to clean something it will eventually become filthy. We all know that when you place trash in a room day after day after day, without ever taking the trash out, the trash will eventually overtake the room making it uninhabitable and unhealthy.

We will all have to make the decision to clean the inside of our bodies at one time or another. You can chose to do it daily in order to keep your bodies clean, or you can wait until you are faced with a health crisis. At that point a deep cleaning will be needed. However at that point it will not be fun, and deep cleaning may not even be possible, as permanent damage may have already taken place. At that point I can guarantee that you will say to yourself, “I wish I had taken better care of my body.”

So we must all ask ourselves, “Do I want to spend a little time each day making the right decisions for what I place inside of my temple, or do I want to spend an extraordinary amount of time and energy one day in the future deciding what heart drug, chemotherapy drug, pain killer, or insulin shot, etc. would best take care of the trash and pests that has been left unchecked in my body for all these years, and has finally taken hold?” Trust me having to make those decisions is not how you ever want to spend your time.

Our bodies, our lives, our temples are special gifts from our Heavenly Father, our Creator. He gave them to us for a little while to nourish and keep clean, so that we can be used by him for his kingdom purposes. God needs our bodies to be at maximum health so that we will have the strength and ability to be Jesus' hands, feet, and mouth to this dark world. Therefore, I have decided to cherish and never take for granted what God has given me. I plan on doing my part, by making wise choices about what I place inside of me. Why don’t you join me in making the decision to keeping the inside of your temple as clean as your outward appearance . . . shiny, radiant and beautiful!

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