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DAY 5 

We the Temple

[5 minutes]
Mindsetter Moment: Read Proverbs 20:22-23. In these passages, we are challenged to be restrained in our anger and honest in our dealings. Simply put, we are challenged to be different. Learning about and applying God’s way of life provides the tools we need to do this. We can step out of the infighting and emotional chaos and into peace and freedom.

[10 minutes]
Scripture reading:
Ezra 1:1 - 2:70
1 Corinthians 1:18-25
Psalm 27:7-14
Proverbs 20:22-23

Devotional thought
We are at the beginning of two new books today. 1 Corinthians is one letter and the book of Ezra has many letters. Besides the aspect of letters, these two books have something else in common. They give us insight into two groups of people trying to build a temple.

Wait, they are both building a temple? Say What? When we start the book of Ezra, the Jewish community has been exiled to Babylon for the last 70 years. Now Babylon has fallen to Persia and some of the Jews are being sent back to their homeland to rebuild the temple.

In the book of 1 Corinthians, Paul is writing to a church in Corinth. Corinth was a large city in Greece where the residents would have been from a variety of backgrounds with diverse beliefs and practices. Now this collection of people are attempting to unite together in their new faith, and they are struggling.

In Chapter 3 of 1 Corinthians, Paul mentions the “jealousy and quarreling” rampant in this group.  Paul will go on to write “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?” 1 Corinthians 3:16

Paul doesn’t say you yourself. He says you yourselves. This group of messy, broken, fighting people were each a proverbial brick in this building that would become God’s temple. God would not dwell in tents, or structures any longer, God dwells among his people. Groups of worshipers have become the temple that houses God’s presence.

What applies to me?
In both the building of the physical temple in the book of Ezra and the new Church that is made up of people, there is a key ingredient: Unity. This is the ability to set aside differences and work together for a shared vision and a shared calling.

In our current world, it seems we may have caught the Corinth bug. One doesn’t have to look far to find Christians fighting. We share put-downs on social media, fighting over beliefs, opinions, and politics. But, we aren’t meant to be “known by our beliefs,” we are meant to be known by our love. “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” John 13:35.

We are all part of God’s new temple, diverse groups of people on this journey together. What does our temple look like? Is it full of gossip, self-righteous critics, and negativity towards others? Are we known for our opinions, or are we known by our love?

[10 minutes]
Write it out: “For where two or three gather in my name, there I am with them.” Matthew 18:20
How are you doing with your part of the “temple” project? On a scale of 1-10, how connected are you? Is there something holding you back from engaging? If so, what is it?

Pray it out: “Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.” 2 Corinthians 13:11

Have you hurt someone in the “temple”? Now may be a good time to pray about rebuilding that relationship through an apology. Have you been hurt by others in the “temple”? Ask God to heal your heart. Do you feel disconnected? Ask God to help you reconnect.

Live it out: Our purpose is fully realized when we are engaged in a healthy community. Take time to connect today!