Friday, 24 October 2008

Devaluing God

I'm preaching this Sunday on John 2:12ff - the clearing of the temple. One line of application is the priority of person over place. In his interaction with the Jewish leadership, Jesus clearly transfers the location of access to the Father from the temple to himself (Jn 2:22)

What has struck me in thinking about this is that by people thinking that there is something 'holy' about the church building - that they are somehow closer to God, or that the area up the front is somehow 'special' - they aren't actually treating that place with more respect and value - they are devaluing the rest of their lives, and more importantly, the presence and work of God in the rest of their lives.

If God were more present in a particular geographical space (such as a church), then we'd certainly have to watch our thoughts, attitudes, behaviour, etc. more while we were in that space. Then, when we left, we could relax a little. It wouldn't matter as much how we lived, for God wasn't as present as he is in that other place. And yet the comfort of the gospel of Jesus is that he will never leave us or forsake us (Heb 13:5) - it was good that Jesus 'went away', for only then would the Spirit come and be with believers 'forever' (Jn 14:16). God's people are where he dwells (Eph 2:22), and therefore how we act at all times is of vital importance (1 Cor 6:19-20; Eph 4:30).

To say that God is 'more present' in a particular place is to devalue the worth and importance of every other place, and particularly to devalue the indwelling presence and work of Jesus' Spirit in his people in every place.

1 comment:

Roger Gallagher said...

Preach it, brother!