by Luke Bilberry
Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.
1 Corinthians 3:16-17 ESV
HUDSONVILLE, MI – This passage has been rattling around in my head like a BB in a tin can. These words resound with a twinge of sharpness that forces me to deal with the implications of what it means to be a temple where the Spirit of the living God dwells.
Too often I rush past this reality—God almighty, the maker of heaven and earth chooses to take up residence in me. It reminds me of Psalm 8, “What is man that you are mindful of him?” This truth stirs awe and worship for God. Right now, God is with me, and I can dwell with Him.
This is true for each one of us who have come to live in relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Right now, God is dwelling with you, and you can dwell with Him. Across our state God is dwelling from Detroit to the shorelines, from the southern border to the tip of the UP. We are part of God’s plan of redemption for the lost and broken in our state and across the world.
I am not a native Michigander, but a transplant from Texas. In the last 4-and-a-half years, I have seen God moving across our state. I have seen churches partner together in unique ways. I have seen church plants and established churches collaborate in their communities. I have seen marriages restored. I have seen more people baptized and heard of lives transformed among your churches in the last year. I think it is because the followers of Jesus are becoming more aware that each one of us is a temple for the living God.
How is this possible? Simply put—the Gospel. The Gospel has changed us, and it is changing others. Jesus told Peter, “Upon this rock he would build his church and the gates of hell would not prevail” (Matthew 16:18). Just as Peter was leading the early church, this passage helps us see that the Gospel is what grounds us. It compels us into the lost and broken world around us as the temple of God. 1 Peter lays out a picture of what we as individual temples of God look like, but also what the collective of temples looks like.
The temple is a picture of the place where God moves toward humanity and where humanity can move toward God. You and I are that same temple. God moves toward the people around us—through us. People can encounter God through us because of the Gospel.
As the truth of 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 has rattled around in my head, I pray that it rattles in all our heads. When we live with the understanding that God’s Spirit is dwelling in us, our state will continue to be changed by the Good News of Jesus Christ.
We will continue to see lives changed as we steward the gifts (1 Peter 4:1-10) God has given us. Our state is diverse, beautiful and a gem in our country. This same diversity and beauty is seen in all the temples of our God that are scattered across Michigan.
May our lives, the temples of God, be a place where the people of our state can encounter God through Jesus Christ.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Luke Bilberry is the Executive Pastor of Multiplication at Chapel Pointe in Hudsonville, MI and serves on the leadership team of Be The Church. His primary role focuses on developing healthy leaders who strengthen and start churches to advance a Gospel movement. A native of East Texas, Luke has been married to his wife, Kathryn, for 13 years and they have three children.